Objective: To assess mortality rates from congestive heart failure in Canada from 1970 to 1989.
Design: Observational, retrospective design using national population and mortality data.
Main results: There is a definite age gradient for deaths from congestive heart failure which, combined with a general ageing of the Canadian population, has lead to an increase in the absolute number of deaths. However, Standardized Mortality Ratios, which account for shifting population distributions, have shown steadily decreasing values for both men and women since 1980.
Conclusions: Recent improvements in cardiology care demonstrated in controlled clinical trials appear also to be present in epidemiological studies.