Dr Nichols and her colleagues in the Oxford research group looked at trends in deaths from coronary heart disease between 1980 and 2009 in both sexes and four age groups: under 45, 45-54, 55-64, and 65 years and over.
They found that almost all EU countries had a large and significant decrease in death rates from CHD over the last three decades in both men and women when all ages were considered together. Denmark, Malta, The Netherlands, Sweden and the UK had the largest decreases in mortality for both sexes during this time. The exceptions to these significant decreases were among men in Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, where the decreases were small and not statistically significant, and in Romania where there was a small, statistically significant increase. Among women, non-significant decreases were found in Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
There was some evidence that the downward trends were beginning to plateau in those aged under 45 among men and women in Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and the UK, among men in Poland and Slovakia, and among women in the Czech Republic and France. In the 45-54 year age group, there was evidence of a possible plateau in both sexes in Latvia and the UK, and also in Lithuania among women and Sweden, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia among men. In Greece, women aged 45-54 showed a constant and significant increase in death rates.
Dr Nichols, said: "Overall, across the EU, rates of death from coronary heart disease have continued to fall in most age groups in most countries. There are some exceptions, however, and there remain wide disparities across Europe in both the absolute rates of death from heart disease and the rates of improvement.
"In a small number of countries, there is some evidence that the decreasing trends may be slowing, including among younger age groups, probably due to increases in risk factors such as obesi
|Contact: Emma Mason|
European Society of Cardiology