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BACKGROUND: Understanding trends in the incidence and outcomes of myocardial infarction and stroke, and how these are influenced by changes in cardiovascular risk factors can inform health policy and healthcare provision. METHODS: We identified all patients 30 years or older with myocardial infarction or stroke in Scotland. Risk factor levels were determined from national health surveys. Incidence, potential impact fractions and burden attributable to risk factor changes were calculated. Risk of subsequent fatal and non-fatal events (myocardial infarction, stroke, bleeding and heart failure hospitalization) were calculated with multi-state models. FINDINGS: From 1990 to 2014, there were 372,873 (71±13 years) myocardial infarctions and 290,927 (74±13 years) ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes. Age-standardized incidence per 100,000 fell from 1,069 (95% confidence interval, 1,024-1,116) to 276 (263-290) for myocardial infarction and from 608 (581-636) to 188 (178-197) for ischemic stroke. Systolic blood pressure, smoking and cholesterol decreased, but body-mass index increased, and diabetes prevalence doubled. Changes in risk factors accounted for a 74% (57-91%) reduction in myocardial infarction and 68% (55-83%) reduction in ischemic stroke. Following myocardial infarction, the risk of death decreased (30% to 20%), but non-fatal events increased (20% to 24%) whereas the risk of both death (47% to 34%) and non-fatal events (22% to 17%) decreased following stroke. INTERPRETATION: Over the last 25 years, substantial reductions in myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke incidence are attributable to major shifts in risk factor levels. Deaths following the index event decreased for both myocardial infarction and stroke, but rates remained substantially higher for stroke. FUNDING: British heart foundation.

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet reg health eur

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