UK Tops Heart Death League in Western Europe

Article excerpt

BRITAIN HAS one of the highest death rates from heart disease in Western Europe but offers less treatment to sufferers than its neighbours, specialists said yesterday.

Despite a rapid fall in the UK death rate, which has halved in the last 30 years, the rates in other countries are falling faster. As a result, Britain now tops the league of heart deaths in Western Europe along with Ireland and Finland.

But the high rates in the UK are not matched by the provision of services. Angioplasty, a procedure to clear blocked coronary arteries, was three times more common in Germany than the UK, research found.

Heart disease claims the lives of four million Europeans each year, accounting for 40 per cent of all deaths in the under-74s, but its impact varies widely. The inequity was highlighted in new figures presented to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) meeting in London yesterday.

Figures revealed that the death rate in Russia among those aged between 35 and 74 is eight times that of France, and in Ireland it is twice that of Italy. The lowest death rates are in the countries of Southern Europe, the highest are in Eastern Europe, where deaths from heart disease recently increased by 60 per cent. …