: Although studies from many countries have estimated the impact of ambient temperature on mortality, few have compared the relative impacts of heat and cold on health, especially in basin climate cities. We aimed to quantify the impact of ambient temperature on mortality, and to compare the contributions of heat and cold in a large basin climate city, i.e., Chengdu (Sichuan Province, China); Methods
: We estimated the temperature-mortality association with a distributed lag non-linear model (DLNM) with a maximum lag-time of 21 days while controlling for long time trends and day of week. We calculated the mortality risk attributable to heat and cold, which were defined as temperatures above and below an “optimum temperature” that corresponded to the point of minimum mortality. In addition, we explored effects of individual characteristics; Results
: The analysis provides estimates of the overall mortality burden attributable to temperature, and then computes the components attributable to heat and cold. Overall, the total fraction of deaths caused by both heat and cold was 10.93% (95%CI: 7.99%–13.65%). Taken separately, cold was responsible for most of the burden (estimate 9.96%, 95%CI: 6.90%–12.81%), while the fraction attributable to heat was relatively small (estimate 0.97%, 95%CI: 0.46%–2.35%). The attributable risk (AR) of respiratory diseases was higher (19.69%, 95%CI: 14.45%–24.24%) than that of cardiovascular diseases (11.40%, 95%CI: 6.29%–16.01%); Conclusions
: In Chengdu, temperature was responsible for a substantial fraction of deaths, with cold responsible for a higher proportion of deaths than heat. Respiratory diseases exert a larger effect on death than other diseases especially on cold days. There is potential to reduce respiratory-associated mortality especially among the aged population in basin climate cities when the temperature deviates beneath the optimum. The result may help to comprehensively assess the impact of ambient temperature in basin cities, and further facilitate an appropriate estimate of the health consequences of various climate-change scenarios.
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