Two groups of patients are presented here, an older group from Birgitta's Hospital in Vadstena admitted during 1900-1910, and a more recent group from St. Goran's Hospital in Stockholm admitted during 1961-1970.
Mortality among the 69 patients in the Vadstena material was increased, by a factor of 1.7 in the case of the men and 1.9 for the women. When applying the method of Sjogren and Larsson the patients were found to show an average expectancy of life that was approximately 30 per cent less than in the general population.
As regards mortality, the 123 patients in the Stockholm material do not deviate significantly from the general population. The observation time is short, however, more than 5 years in only about 45 per cent.
No increase in mortality was evident in the relatives of the Stockholm patients, despite the fact that among the parents and sibs, a greater number of suicides occurred that were expected in comparison with the general population.
The frequency of suicide in both the patient groups was found to be low. In the Vadstena material only 3 patients of the 64 who died committed suicide, and none in the Stockholm material. The regularly controlled lithium treatment, which the majority of the Stockholm patients received, may possibly have had a preventative effect on suicide. Conclusions, however, must be cautious, in view of the fact that the sample is small and the observation time is short. Nevertheless the high frequency of depressions during the control period (see Chapter IV), and the absence of suicide later is remarkable, and it is reasonable to associate this absence with the reduction in both intensity and duration of depressions during the treatment with lithium.