Serious coronary heart disease (CHD) is a primary outcome in the Whitehall II study, a large epidemiological study of British civil servants. Both fatal (F) and non-fatal (NF) CHD events are of interest and while essentially complete information is available on F events, the observation of NF events is subject to potentially informative censoring. A multi-state model with an unobserved state is introduced for the joint modelling of F and NF events. Two model-based assumptions ensure identifiability of the model and a parameter is introduced to allow sensitivity analyses concerning the assumption linked to informative censoring. Weibull transition rates, which include dependence on explanatory variables, are used in the analysis of Whitehall II data with a particular focus on the relationship between civil service grade and CHD events. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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