Introduction Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading non communicable disease contributing to more than 17 million deaths annually in the world and in the UK for almost 191 000. The knowledge base related to the aetiology and treatment of CVD has expanded over last few decades informing effective prevention and treatment efforts. The aim of this study was to report trends in hospital episodes, surgeries and prescriptions for CVD in the UK over the last 50 years.
Methods Data obtained from several national surveys including prescription cost analysis, National Adult Cardiac Database Report, Hospital In-patient Enquiry and Hospital Episodes Statistics.
Results There were around 70 000 estimated inpatient episodes of CHD in England and Wales in 1961, increasing to around 450 000 by 2009. In 1962, there were 700 surgeries to treat arteriosclerotic heart disease in England and Wales. By 2009, there were around 25 000 coronary artery bypass graft surgeries and over 80 000 percutaneous coronary interventions carried out annually. In 2008, around 266 million prescriptions (costing £1.6 billion) were issued for CVD in England, five times as many as issued in 1986. Since 1990 the number of prescriptions for antiplatelet and lipid lowering drugs have increased steadily.
Conclusion Improvements in treatment for CVD in the UK have contributed to declines in case fatality and mortality rates. But despite these improvements in treatments, CVD remains the biggest killer. Analysis and interpretation of treatment trends has been restricted by data availability and comparability issues such as changes in surgical procedures, classification of diseases and drugs.