Aims: Like other developing countries, Vietnam is undergoing epidemiological transition, which is characterized by many changes in terms of morbidity and mortality patterns. The fact that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are leading causes of death in hospitals in the whole country was ascertained from annual statistics. However, the magnitude of the burden of mortality from CVD at the community level remained unknown. The aims of the study were to outline CVD mortality during health transition in a rural community in the north of Vietnam and to examine associations between CVD mortality and the socioeconomic status of the population.
Methods: Within an established demographic surveillance system (DSS), verbal autopsy (VA) was used to identify the burden of mortality from CVD. Cohort analysis was used in this study to measure associations between CVD mortality and socioeconomic determinants.
Results: CVD emerged as a leading cause of death in the study area, accounting for more than infectious and parasitic diseases combined. CVD killed many people among the most economically productive age group, both men and women, in all socioeconomic groups. Occupational status was shown to be significantly associated with CVD mortality.
Discussion: Already at this point in the epidemiological transition, there is evidence of a substantial burden of CVD in rural Vietnam. Although this study was not able to show trends, the current situation is a cause for concern in health policy and planning. Verbal autopsy methods and CVD risk factor evaluations will form important parts of future research agendas.