Background: Rates of death from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases have been steadily declining over the past few decades. Whether such declines are occurring to a similar degree for common disorders such as acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and stroke is uncertain. We examined recent national trends in mortality and rates of hospital admission for these 3 conditions.
Methods: We analyzed mortality data from Statistic Canada's Canadian Mortality Database and data on hospital admissions from the Canadian Institute for Health Information's Hospital Morbidity Database for the period 1994-2004. We determined age- and sex-standardized rates of death and hospital admissions per 100,000 population aged 20 years and over as well as in-hospital case-fatality rates.
Results: The overall age- and sex-standardized rate of death from cardiovascular disease in Canada declined 30.0%, from 360.6 per 100,000 in 1994 to 252.5 per 100 000 in 2004. During the same period, the rate fell 38.1% for acute myocardial infarction, 23.5% for heart failure and 28.2% for stroke, with improvements observed across most age and sex groups. The age- and sex-standardized rate of hospital admissions decreased 27.6% for stroke and 27.2% for heart failure. The rate for acute myocardial infarction fell only 9.2%. In contrast, the relative decline in the in-hospital case-fatality rate was greatest for acute myocardial infarction (33.1%; p < 0.001). Much smaller relative improvements in case-fatality rates were noted for heart failure (8.1%) and stroke (8.9%).
Interpretation: The rates of death and hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and stroke in Canada changed at different rates over the 10-year study period. Awareness of these trends may guide future efforts for health promotion and health care planning and help to determine priorities for research and treatment.