Background Ischemic heart disease (IHD) has been considered the top cause of mortality globally. However, countries differ in their rates and there have been changes over time. Methods and Results We analyzed mortality data submitted to the World Health Organization from 2005 to 2015 by individual countries. We explored patterns in relationships with age, sex, and income and calculated age-standardized mortality rates for each country in addition to crude death rates. In 5 illustrative countries which provided detailed data, we analyzed trends of mortality from IHD and 3 noncommunicable diseases (lung cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory tract diseases) and examined the simultaneous trends in important cardiovascular risk factors. Russia, United States, and Ukraine had the largest absolute numbers of deaths among the countries that provided data. Among 5 illustrative countries (United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine), IHD was the top cause of death, but mortality from IHD has progressively decreased from 2005 to 2015. Age-standardized IHD mortality rates per 100 000 people per year were much higher in Ukraine (324) and Kazakhstan (97) than in United States (60), Brazil (54), and the United Kingdom (46), with much less difference in other causes of death. All 5 countries showed a progressive decline in IHD mortality, with a decline in smoking and hypertension and in all cases a rise in obesity and type II diabetes mellitus. Conclusions IHD remains the single largest cause of death in countries of all income groups. Rates are different between countries and are falling in most countries, indicating great potential for further gains. On the horizon, future improvements may become curtailed by increasing hypertension in some developing countries and more importantly global growth in obesity.
Keywords: coronary artery disease; epidemiology; heart diseases; mortality; noncommunicable diseases; risk factors; statistics.