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Key messages from the latest ESC Atlas datasets

  • Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the ESC member countries, accounting for 45% and 39% of fatalities in women and men, respectively.
  • Air pollution and noise account for over 75% of the cardiovascular disease burden attributable to the environment. In 2019, fine particle concentrations were over twice as high in middle-income, compared to high-income, ESC member countries and exceeded the EU air quality standard in 14 countries (all middle-income). Each year, an estimated 48,000 new cases of coronary heart disease occur across Europe due to environmental noise pollution.
  • The burden of cardiovascular disease falls hardest on middle-income ESC member countries where estimated incidence rates are approximately 30% higher compared with high-income countries. This is reflected in disability-adjusted life years due to cardiovascular disease which are nearly four times as high in middle-income compared with high-income countries.
  • The under-resourced status of middle-income countries is associated with a severe procedural deficit compared with high-income countries in terms of coronary intervention, ablation procedures, device implantation and cardiac surgical procedures.
  • The WHO is targeting a relative 25% reduction (compared to 2010) in the prevalence of elevated blood pressure by 2025. During 2010 to 2015 (or the most recent available data), the median age-standardised prevalence of elevated blood pressure across ESC member countries declined by just 3.4% – from 25.9% to 25.0%. The report’s forecasts indicate little prospect of achieving the blood pressure target in middle-income ESC member countries but a good prospect for high-income countries if current trends continue.