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Heart attack death rate halved in ten years

The number of people dying from heart attacks in England has halved during the past decade.

Research, published in the British Medical Journal, found the death rates for heart attacks fell by 50% in men and 53% in women in the past ten years.

Equally, the number of 'new' heart attacks has also fallen “substantially” during the same period.

Researchers from the University of Oxford studied the hospital and mortality data of over 800,000 people in England.

Just over half of the total drop in deaths associated with heart attacks were attributed to a decline in the number of 'new' heart attacks, and just under half were attributed to the improved survival chances post heart attack.

Middle-aged people saw the great drop in the heart attack rate, while rising rates of obesity and diabetes were cited as the causes of the still relatively high heart attack event rate among the young.

The “substantial” drop in the rate of 'new' heart attacks reflects the impact of both primary and secondary prevention “through beneficial changes in the health of the population with respect to cardiovascular risk factors”, said the researchers.

Improvements in death rates following a heart attack are also likely to reflect “major improvements in NHS care”, they claim.

Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe from the Institute of Cardiovascular Research at the University of Dundee said death rates from heart attacks have only fallen in “rich nations” and continue to rise in many others.

He has called for more data from other countries to reach a conclusion.

Question: Why do you think heart attack deaths have halved in the past ten years?