Objective: To update trends in mortality from coronary heart diseases (CHD) and cerebrovascular diseases (CVD) over the period 1981-2004 in Europe, the USA, Latin America, Japan and other selected areas of the world.
Methods: Age-standardized mortality rates were derived from the World Health Organization database. Joinpoint analysis was used to identify significant changes in trends.
Results: In the European Union (27 countries), CHD mortality in men declined from 139/100,000 in 1985-1989 to 93/100,000 in 2000-2004 (-33%). In women, the fall was from 61/100,000 to 44/100,000 (-27%). In this area, a decline by over 30% was also registered in CVD mortality for both sexes. In the Russian Federation and other countries of the former Soviet Union, CHD rates in 2000-2004 were exceedingly high, around 380/100,000 men and 170/100,000 women in Russia, 430 for men and 240 for women in Ukraine, 420 and 200 in Belarus. For CVD, a similar situation was registered, with mortality rates of 226/100,000 for men and 159/100,000 for women in 2004 in the Russian Federation, and more than 24% increase since the late 1980s for men and 15% for women. CHD and CVD mortality continued to decline in most Latin American countries, Australia and other areas considered, including Asia (even if with marked differences).
Conclusion: Although mortality from CHD and CVD continues to decline in several areas of the world including most countries of Europe and of the America providing data and Australia, unfavourable trends were still observed in the Russian Federation and other countries of the former Soviet Union, whose recent rates remain exceedingly high.