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Epidemiology of cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death globally. To address this burden on health-care systems around the world, an in-depth understanding is needed about the incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and various forms of cardiovascular disease in different countries and regions. This ongoing Series of articles from Nature Reviews Cardiology, together with selected content from other Nature Reviews journals, comprehensively describes the global epidemiology of cardiovascular disease.

Demographics

In the past 2 decades, an increasing prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as obesity, physical inactivity, and diabetes mellitus, has been observed among young adults (aged 18–45 years) living in developed countries. In their Review, Andersson and Vasan discuss the evolving risk factor burden and available epidemiological data on cardiovascular disease in young adults.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Cardiovascular mortality among the almost 600 million people living in the Eastern Mediterranean region (EMR) has been proposed to increase more dramatically in the next decade than in any other region except Africa. Turk-Adawi and colleagues summarize the available data on cardiovascular disease burden, risk factors, and treatment modalities for the EMR population.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

From a global perspective, the large and diverse African population is disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease. In their Review, Keates et al. provide a contemporary overview of the cardiovascular risk profile of the African population by summarizing the historical pattern of cardiovascular disease in Africa.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Diseases

The prevalence of obesity has increased worldwide in the past ~50 years, reaching pandemic levels. Remarkable regional differences exist in obesity prevalence and trends, which might help to identify societal causes of obesity and provide guidance for the most promising intervention strategies.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Endocrinology

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a clinical syndrome associated with poor quality of life, substantial health-care resource utilization, and premature mortality. Dunlay and colleagues summarize the epidemiological data on HFpEF, with a focus on the prevalence and incidence of HFpEF in the community as well as associated conditions and risk factors, morbidity and mortality after diagnosis, and quality of life.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is undergoing a major epidemiological transition, with a rapid shift from high-income to low-income and middle-income countries. In this Review, Fowkes et al. describe the measurement of PAD in populations, as well as the worldwide prevalence, risk factors, and burden of the disease.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Heart failure (HF) is a global epidemic affecting >37.7 million individuals globally. HF is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, and confers a substantial burden on the health-care system. In this Review, Ziaeian and Fonarow summarize the latest epidemiological data on HF in both developed and developing countries, and provide an overview of associated risk factors and aetiologies contributing to the disease burden.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Differences between women and men with atrial fibrillation have received far less attention in recent years than sex-specific differences in coronary heart disease and stroke. In this Review, Ko et al. discuss sex-specific differences in the incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and pathophysiology of atrial fibrillation, and the clinical presentation and prognosis of patients with this prevalent arrhythmia.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Venous thromboembolism, including deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, is a common, often-recurring condition that is occurring with increasing frequency, despite the availability of prophylactic treatments. The epidemiology of VTE involves interactions between predispositions to thrombosis and a range of risk factors, including hospitalization, cancer, and pregnancy.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Takotsubo syndrome is an acute cardiac disorder first identified in Japan in 1990. The pathophysiology of Takotsubo syndrome is complex and involves the neuroendocrine system. Cardiovascular responses are often induced by a sudden surge in sympathetic activation and subsequent catecholamine concentration. In this Review, Akashi et al. discuss the epidemiology, diagnosis, and prognosis of the syndrome, as well as some of the proposed pathophysiological mechanisms underlying its development.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) is estimated to increase worldwide, mainly as a consequence of generalized population ageing. Even though the rise in AF prevalence is a global trend, data from Africa, Asia, and South America are limited and might underestimate the true frequency of AF. In this Review, the authors discuss the available epidemiological data on AF and highlight the widespread inadequacy of its treatment.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects women in the final stages of pregnancy or shortly after birth. The underlying pathophysiology of PPCM is incompletely understood. In this Review, Hilfiker-Kleiner and Sliwa summarize the epidemiology of this condition, the current understanding of its aetiology and risk factors, and propose novel biomarkers and treatment strategies for women with PPCM.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Epidemiological studies of cardiovascular disease generally, and coronary heart disease specifically, have provided the basis for clinical trials that document the efficacy of risk-factor interventions, and are the basis of preventive cardiology. In this Review, Nathan Wong discusses the evolution of CHD epidemiology from the 1940s to the present, and examines the contributions of large population studies to the field.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

The epidemiology of valvular heart disease in the industrialized world has evolved since the 1950s, with a rising prevalence of degenerative etiologies and a reduction in rheumatic heart disease (RHD). In developing countries, however, RHD remains the primary cause of valve dysfunction. Professors Iung and Vahanian discuss the epidemiology of the various manifestations of valvular heart disease in adults, together with insights from studies that reflect developments in valvular intervention.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

The prevalence of coronary artery disease, and its manifestation as acute coronary syndromes (ACS), has reached a pandemic level as a consequence of modernization of the developing world. Drs. Ruff and Braunwald discuss the evolving demographics of ACS, including the impact of the introduction of troponin testing and the change in the definition of myocardial infarction. They also highlight the importance of modifiable risk factors and adherence to guideline-recommended therapy.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are a localized dilatation of the aorta that represents a systemic disease process. Mortality associated with a ruptured AAA is high, but no tests to predict the risk of rupture currently exist. In this Review, Nordon and colleagues outline the pathophysiology and epidemiology of AAA and the risk factors for this condition. They also discuss factors that influence the outcome of patients with AAA after surgical management.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Thoracic aortic dissection (TAD) is the progressive separation of the layers of the thoracic aortic wall; this condition is strongly related to excessive dilatation of the aorta and is associated with very high mortality. The authors of this article present an in-depth review of the incidence, demographic distribution, and factors associated with TAD and related thoracic aortic syndromes, as well as a discussion of the challenges involved in assessing the epidemiology of these conditions.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Congenital heart disease is the most frequent of congenital disorders in newborns. Reliable epidemiological data for congenital heart disease, however, have been difficult to obtain owing to divergences in definitions, classifications, and methodologies of different studies. The authors of this Review discuss the latest changes in the epidemiology of congenital heart disease and its complications.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a frequently occurring, acute, and potentially fatal condition. Numerous risk factors for PE have been identified. The diagnostic work-up for PE should comprise safe, efficient and noninvasive methods. In this Review, Renée Douma and colleagues discuss the epidemiology of PE, its risk factors and clinical presentation, together with the latest advances in the diagnostic approach to this condition.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology

Sudden cardiac arrest causes more than 60% of all deaths from cardiovascular disease. In this Review, Adabag and colleagues discuss trends in the incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD), and the risk factors and triggers of this devastating event. The authors also highlight the lack of a concise definition for SCD and suggest that prospective community surveillance programs, using multiple sources to identify cases, would enable more accurate determination of SCD burden. They also review the growing evidence for the role of public-access defibrillators in improving survival after sudden cardiac arrest.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Cardiology