Avoidable mortality has been proposed as an outcome indicator of health services. Until now the Standardized Mortality Ratio (SMR) has been the effect measure most used to detect excesses in avoidable mortality. We propose the use, as a complementary measure, of the Avoidable Years of Life Lost Ratio (AYLLR). We show that for tuberculosis, hypertension and for all avoidable deaths both measures provide complementary information, since in some areas where observed deaths are below the expected number (SMR less than 100) we detect an observed number of years of life lost higher than expected (AYLLR greater than 100), due to the occurrence of these deaths at younger ages. The AYLLR is a standardized effect measure that puts a higher weight to premature deaths.