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Why does Russia have such high cardiovascular mortality rates? Comparisons of blood-based biomarkers with Norway implicate non-ischaemic cardiac damage
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  • Published on:
    Back to the topic: high cardiovascular mortality in Russia

    The question “Why does Russia have such high cardiovascular (CV) mortality rates?”1 can be answered by a pathologist who practiced during the Soviet time.2 Since then, the quality of post mortem examinations has decreased especially during the 1990s: autopsies were sometimes made perfunctorily. The deterioration in anatomic pathology and the health care in general during the 1990s coincided with the increase in the registered CV mortality. A tendency to over-diagnose CV diseases is generally known to exist also for people dying at home and not undergoing autopsy. If a cause of death is not entirely clear, it has been usual to write on a death certificate: “Ischemic heart disease with cardiac insufficiency” or a similar formulation.2 Concerning the relatively high CV mortality in Russia, it should be commented that irregular treatment of hypertension,3 diabetes and other chronic diseases continues to be a problem. Considering the above, the differences between Norwegian and Russian cohorts1 can be better understood. The levels of serum lipids were comparable between Russia and Norway being slightly higher in the latter possibly due to better nutrition. Interestingly, N-terminal pro-b-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) were higher in Russia.1 It can be reasonably assumed that average levels of these markers inversely correlate with a nation’s health reflected by the life expecta...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.