Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Heart attacks and strokes account for slightly more than 1 in 5 deaths in the EU

May 5, 2016 - news

In the European Union (EU) in 2013, heart attacks (around 644 000 deaths) and strokes (almost 433 000 deaths) were the cause of death for almost 1.1 million persons, accounting for slightly more than 1 in 5 deaths (21.6%).
Since 2000 however, the share of both fatal heart attacks and fatal strokes has continuously decreased in the EU, from being responsible for 16.6% and 11.5% respectively of all deaths in 2000, to 12.9% and 8.7% in 2013.
When analysed by five year age groups, the risk of dying from a heart attack or a stroke clearly increases with age, with heart attacks and strokes being responsible for less than 10% of all deaths among people aged below 40 in the EU, for between 10% and 20% for those aged 40 to 69 and for over 20% for the older age groups.

 
Share of deaths due to heart attacks or strokes lowest in France 

More than a third of all deaths were due to heart attacks in Lithuania (36.7%) and more than a quarter in Latvia (28.9%), Slovakia (27.9%), the Czech Republic (25.7%) and Hungary (25.3%).
In contrast, heart attacks  accounted for less than 10% of all causes of death in France (6.0%), Portugal  (6.5%), the Netherlands (6.6%), Belgium (7.6%), Denmark (7.9%), Spain (8.6%) and Luxembourg (9.7%). In the EU, deaths due to heart attacks represented 12.9% of all deaths.
 
Regarding deaths from strokes, the highest proportions were registered in 2013 in Bulgaria  (19.7%), Romania (18.7%) and Latvia (17.0%), followed by Croatia and Lithuania (both 14.3%) as well as Greece (13.4%). At the opposite end of the scale,  France  (5.7%), Denmark (6.4%), Belgium and Germany (both 6.5%), Ireland, Luxembourg and Austria (all 6.6%) as well as the Netherlands (6.7%) recorded shares below 7%. At EU level, strokes were responsible for 8.7% of all deaths in 2013.
 

Largest fall in the share of deaths due to heart attacks in Estonia...

Compared with 2000, the proportion of deaths due to heart attacks dropped in a majority of Member States despite an overall ageing population. Among them, the most remarkable decreases were recorded in Estonia (from 32.3% in 2000 to 23.0% in 2010, or -9.3 percentage points),  Denmark  (-8.0 pp), the  United Kingdom  (-7.7 pp), and  Sweden (-6.9 pp). Increases were observed in Lithuania (+4.3 pp), the Czech Republic (+4.2 pp), Hungary (+3.3 pp) and Croatia (+2.9 pp). 

 
...and in the share of deaths due to strokes in Portugal

A similar downward trend applies to deaths from strokes. The largest fall in the share of strokes in all deaths between 2000 and 2013 was registered in Portugal (from 19.8% to 11.5%, or -8.4 pp), ahead of Estonia (-7.9 pp), the Czech Republic (-6.4 pp), Austria (-5.0 pp) and Luxembourg (-4.9 pp). The only increases were in Lithuania (+1.7 pp), Bulgaria and Slovakia (both +0.9 pp).
 
Source: press release EuroStat May 4 2016 (includes graphs)