Introduction and objectives: . The large amount of information on rates of acute coronary syndrome accumulated in Spain over the last two decades is summarized in this paper, which also estimates the number of cases expected in 2002 and the trend for 1997 to 2005.
Methods: Published information on the situation in the 90's was reviewed and summarized. We present the incidence of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and an estimate of the absolute number of patients expected for various acute coronary syndromes in each autonomous community in Spain in 2002, along with the trend for 1997 to 2005.
Results: Approximately 68,500 patients will suffer AMI in 2002 and 40,989 of them will be hospitalized, while the rest will die before admission. A further 24.9% of admitted patients will not survive 28 days. Slightly less than half will be younger than 75 years old, an age with a better prognosis (28-day mortality 38.8%). Approximately 33,500 patients with unstable angina will be admitted, and 4.5% of them will die within 3 months of admission. Assuming the incidence of AMI remains stable, the absolute number of cases will increase by 2.28% yearly (9,847 cases in total) and hospitalizations for acute coronary syndromes will increase by 1.41% (8,817 cases in total) between 1997 and 2005.
Conclusion: Ischaemic heart disease generates increasing demand for health care in Spain. Case fatality is high among the approximately 68,500 AMI patients, given that scarcely two thirds will have been hospitalized in 2002.