Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Europe and has accounted for over a third of total deaths in recent years. However, research on avoidable mortality from cardiovascular disease – premature deaths that could be averted with access to timely and effective healthcare or relevant public health interventions – in Europe is limited and more than 20 years outdated.
The objective of this study was to analyse trends in the rate of avoidable cardiovascular mortality for 27 European Union (EU) member states and the United Kingdom. We examined if trends differed based on sex, geography (Western vs Eastern Europe and by country), age (working age – 25 to 65 years, and above 65 years), and cause (preventable or treatable).
Reducing morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease has been a consistent focus of European policymakers. Against this backdrop, EU member states achieved large reductions in the rate of avoidable, preventable, and treatable cardiovascular mortality during the study period. However, cardiovascular disease still accounted for a third of the avoidable death rate on average, with males and Eastern European countries suffering higher rates. Working age adults accounted for 65.5% of the standardized cardiovascular avoidable mortality rate. There was also heterogeneity in terms of reductions in preventable and treatable mortality by cause of death with declines in other atherosclerosis the greatest for both. Ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease were the leading cause of avoidable mortality from cardiovascular disease. Efforts to accelerate the reduction in avoidable deaths from cardiovascular disease will require targeted policy and investment at both a national and EU level.