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Cardiac deaths fall, but it’s a patchy picture

Stroke and heart attack survival rates improve, but the picture varies across the UK.
Cardiac deaths

Deaths from stroke and heart disease have plummeted 70% in 30 years, but there are striking variations across the UK, in gender and by region.

Analysis of available data between 1979 and 2013, published online in the journal Heart, shows the most dramatic improvement in Northern Ireland, once the deadliest part of the UK to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and now, statistically, one of the safest.

While the prevalence of heart disease has changed little in 34 years, improvements in drug and surgical treatments have transformed survival rates.

Differences for gender and geography surprised researchers, whose work was funded by the British Heart Foundation.

National surveys and hospital admission figures were used to assess trends in CVD. When standardised for age, UK deaths fell by 70%, rising to 80% before the age of 75.

The biggest fall came in Northern

...

Deaths from stroke and heart disease have plummeted 70% in 30 years, but there are striking variations across the UK, in gender and by region.

Cardiac deaths

Analysis of available data between 1979 and 2013, published online in the journal Heart, shows the most dramatic improvement in Northern Ireland, once the deadliest part of the UK to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and now, statistically, one of the safest.

While the prevalence of heart disease has changed little in 34 years, improvements in drug and surgical treatments have transformed survival rates.

Differences for gender and geography surprised researchers, whose work was funded by the British Heart Foundation.

National surveys and hospital admission figures were used to assess trends in CVD. When standardised for age, UK deaths fell by 70%, rising to 80% before the age of 75.

The biggest fall came in Northern Ireland, which in 1979 had the highest cardiac death rate in the UK.

Mortality

While Wales’s coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality fell 70%, Scotland’s 71% and England’s 72%, premature CHD deaths among women in Northern Ireland plunged 87% and premature stroke deaths among men fell 77%.

‘Despite large reductions in mortality from CVD, CHD and stroke, these conditions have remained a substantial burden to the UK, with rises in treatment and hospital admissions for all CVD,’ concludes co-author Nick Townsend.

‘Improvements have not occurred equally for men and women, or between the countries of the UK, but these are promising trends.’

Seven times as many angioplasties were carried out in 2013 as in 1993, while there were a third fewer coronary artery by-pass grafts.

 

Bhatnagar P et al (2016) Trends in the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease in the UK. Heart. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2016-309573

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