The burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) remains unclear in many regions of the world.


The GBD (Global Burden of Disease) 2015 study integrated data on disease incidence, prevalence, and mortality to produce consistent, up-to-date estimates for cardiovascular burden.


CVD mortality was estimated from vital registration and verbal autopsy data. CVD prevalence was estimated using modeling software and data from health surveys, prospective cohorts, health system administrative data, and registries. Years lived with disability (YLD) were estimated by multiplying prevalence by disability weights. Years of life lost (YLL) were estimated by multiplying age-specific CVD deaths by a reference life expectancy. A Socio-demographic Index (SDI) was created for each location based on income per capita, educational attainment, and fertility.


In 2015, there were an estimated 422.7 million cases of CVD (95% uncertainty interval: 415.53 to 427.87 million cases) and 17.92 million CVD deaths (95% uncertainty interval: 17.59 to 18.28 million CVD deaths). Declines in the age-standardized CVD death rate occurred between 1990 and 2015 in all high-income and some middle-income countries. Ischemic heart disease was the leading cause of CVD health lost globally, as well as in each world region, followed by stroke. As SDI increased beyond 0.25, the highest CVD mortality shifted from women to men. CVD mortality decreased sharply for both sexes in countries with an SDI >0.75.


CVDs remain a major cause of health loss for all regions of the world. Socio-demographic change over the past 25 years has been associated with dramatic declines in CVD in regions with very high SDI, but only a gradual decrease or no change in most regions. Future updates of the GBD study can be used to guide policymakers who are focused on reducing the overall burden of non-communicable disease and achieving specific global health targets for CVD. 


Global, regional, and national burden of cardiovascular diseases for 10 causes, 1990 to 2015. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 17 May 2017.