The number of people in Scotland dying from heart disease and strokes is falling, but the country still has the highest rate of early deaths in western Europe, figures show.
The NHS statistics reveal the number of deaths from heart disease fell last year by 8.4%, while strokes fell by 7%.
But while the Scottish government welcomed the decline, health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said she refuses to be complacent, and is calling for more research into links between heart disease and deprivation in the country.
She said: "It's very encouraging that fewer people are dying prematurely from coronary heart disease and strokes.
"[But] death rates are still higher in Scotland than in other western European countries, so there are no grounds for complacency.
"We must make sure all parts of Scottish society get the benefits of improvements to coronary heart disease and stroke services," she added.
Her comments were echoed by British Heart Foundation Scotland, which said it welcomed the figures despite the fact there are still "inequalities" for those suffering from heart disease.
A spokesman for the charity said: "People in the most deprived Scottish communities are still around five times more likely to die early from heart disease than people in our most affluent communities.
"It is shocking that inequalities on this scale exist in as small a nation as Scotland."