Estimation of contribution of changes in coronary care to improving survival, event rates, and coronary heart disease mortality across the WHO MONICA Project populations

Lancet. 2000 Feb 26;355(9205):688-700. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(99)11181-4.


Background: The revolution in coronary care in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s corresponded with monitoring of coronary heart disease (CHD) in 31 populations of the WHO MONICA Project. We studied the impact of this revolution on coronary endpoints.

Methods: Case fatality, coronary-event rates, and CHD mortality were monitored in men and women aged 35-64 years in two separate 3-4-year periods. In each period, we recorded percentage use of eight treatments: coronary-artery reperfusion before, thrombolytics during, and beta-blockers, antiplatelet drugs, and angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors before and during non-fatal myocardial infarction. Values were averaged to produce treatment scores. We correlated changes across populations, and regressed changes in coronary endpoints on changes in treatment scores.

Findings: Treatment changes correlated positively with each other but inversely with change in coronary endpoints. By regression, for the common average treatment change of 20, case fatality fell by 19% (95% CI 12-26) in men and 16% (5-27) in women; coronary-event rates fell by 25% (16-35) and 23% (7-39); and CHD mortality rates fell by 42% (31-53) and 34% (17-50). The regression model explained an estimated 61% and 41% of variance for men and women in trends for case fatality, 52% and 30% for coronary-event rates, and 72% and 56% for CHD mortality.

Interpretation: Changes in coronary care and secondary prevention were strongly linked with declining coronary endpoints. Scores and benefits followed a geographical east-to-west gradient. The apparent effects of the treatment might be exaggerated by other changes in economically successful populations, so their specificity needs further assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Coronary Disease / drug therapy*
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Registries
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Distribution
  • World Health Organization*


  • Cardiovascular Agents