Studies conducted to evaluate temporal trends of heat-related mortality have not considered the effects of heat waves; although it is known they can affect mortality and act as a modifying factor. After adjusting for long-term trends and seasonality, the effects of temperature on non-accidental deaths in Seoul and Busan (inland and coastal cities, respectively) were analyzed using a generalized additive model of Poisson distribution. We evaluated temporal trends of heat-related mortalities in four periods (1991-1995, 1996- 2000, 2001-2005, and 2006-2012). The effects of temperature on mortality were evaluated according to the occurrence of a heat wave and results were compared in the two cities. The effect of temperature on mortality was the greatest in 1991-1995 in Seoul; no significant change was observed in Busan. When we stratified the study period by heat wave status, the risk increase in mortality was 15.9% per 1°C during years with a heat wave in Seoul, which was much higher than 0.31% increase observed during years without a heat wave. On the other hand, Busan showed a linear relationship between temperature and mortality and no significant difference between years with or without a heat wave. Variations in the relationship between temperature and mortality could be misunderstood if heat waves are not considered. Furthermore, heterogeneity was found in the modifying effect of heat waves on heat-related mortality in inland and coastal cities. The findings of this study help understand relations between temperature and mortality.
- Heat wave