Global Burden of Cardiovascular Diseases, 2015

Study Questions:

What are the global and national estimates for causes of cardiovascular mortality?


The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2015 Study is a multinational, collaborative research project with the goal of producing consistent estimates of health loss due to over 310 diseases and injuries. A wide range of data sources and methods were employed to produce age-, sex-, and country-specific results for the years 1990–2015. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevalence was estimated using disease modeling software and additional data from health surveys, prospective cohort studies, health system administrative data, and disease registries. A sociodemographic index (SDI) was created for each location based on income per capita, educational attainment, and fertility. Estimated prevalence of CVD and CVD mortality were outcomes of interest.


In 2015, an estimated 442.7 million prevalent cases of CVD were present worldwide. An estimated 17.92 million CVD deaths occurred. Significant declines in the age-standardized death rate due to CVD occurred between 1990 and 2015 in all high-income and some middle-income countries. However, no significant change was detected over this period of time for most other world regions. Ischemic heart disease was the leading cause of all health loss globally as well as in each world region. The next most common was stroke. As SDI increased beyond 0.25, the highest CVD mortality rates shifted from women to men. CVD mortality decreased sharply for both men and women in countries with an SDI >0.75.


The authors concluded that CVD remains a major cause of health loss for all regions of the world. Sociodemographic change over the past 25 years has been associated with dramatic declines in CVD in regions with a very high SDI, but only a gradual decrease or no change at all in most regions.


CVD remains a significant public health concern worldwide; however, rates of CVD in low socioeconomic areas are of particular concern.

Keywords: Cardiovascular Diseases, Coronary Artery Disease, Cost of Illness, Global Health, Myocardial Ischemia, Prevalence, Public Health, Primary Prevention, Risk Factors, Stroke

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