Trends in cardiovascular mortality across Europe demonstrate significant geographical variation, and an understanding of these trends has a central role in global public health.Methods and Results—
Ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease age-standardized death rates (as per International Classification of Diseases, ninth and tenth revisions) were collated from the World Health Organization mortality database for member states of the European Union. Trends were characterized by using Joinpoint regression analysis. An overall trend for reduction in ischemic heart disease mortality was observed, most pronounced in Western Europe (>60% for the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Ireland) for both sexes from 1980 to 2009. Eastern European states, Romania, Croatia, and Slovakia, had modest mortality reductions. Most recently (2009), Lithuania had the highest mortality for males and females (318.1/100 000 and 166.1/100 000, respectively), followed by Latvia and Slovakia. France had the lowest mortality: 39.8/100 000 for males and 14.7/100 000 for females. Analysis of cerebrovascular disease mortality revealed that Austria had the largest reduction for both sexes (76.8% males, 76.5% females) from 1980 to 2009. The smallest improvement over this period was seen in Lithuania, Poland, and Cyprus (–5% to +20% approximately). France has the lowest present-day cerebrovascular disease mortality for both males and females (23.9/100 000 and 17.3/100 000, respectively).Conclusions—
There is a growing disparity in cardiovascular mortality between Western and Eastern Europe, for which diverse explanations are discussed. The need for population-wide health promotion and primary prevention policies is emphasized.