Deaths from cardiovascular disease

All cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the underlying cause of death in over 45,000 deaths in 2014 (29% of all deaths) according to the AIHW National Mortality Database. It was an associated cause of death in a further 37,558 deaths.

Where CVD was listed as the underlying cause of death:

  • 45% were due to coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • 18% were due to stroke
  • 10% were due to heart failure and cardiomyopathy (Figure 1).

The deaths data in this web page only refers to CVD as the underlying cause of death (i.e. the primary or main cause of death).

Figure 1: Major causes of CVD death, 2014

The horizontal bar chart shows that in 2014, coronary heart disease was the major cause of death where CVD was listed as an underlying cause —11,082 deaths for males and 9,091 deaths for females. This was followed by stroke (3,303 for males and 4,983 for females) and heart failure and cardiomyopathy (2,174 for males and 2,141 for females). Males had a higher number of deaths than females across all leading conditions except hypertensive disease and rheumatic heart disease.

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Data source table).

Trends

The number and rate of CVD deaths have declined substantially over the last three decades:

  • The number of CVD deaths declined by 22% (from around 57,500 to 45,000) between 1985 and 2014.
  • CVD death rates declined by 69%—falling from 612 to 179 per 100,000 population for males and 410 to 132 per 100,000 for females (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Trends in CVD deaths, by sex, 1985–2014

The line chart shows that between 1985 and 2014, death rates for CVD have declined rapidly for both males and females ― from 612 to 179 per 100,000 population for males and 410 to 132 per 100,000 population for females. Males had consistently higher CVD death rates than females across the period.

Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Data source table).

Age and sex

In 2014, CVD death rates:

  • Were overall 1.4 times as high for males than for females (179 and 132 per 100,000 population). Age-specific rates for males were higher than females from age 35 onwards (Figure 3).
  • Increased with age, with over half (52%) of CVD deaths occurring in persons aged 85 years and over. CVD death rates for males and females were highest in the 85 and over age group (5,216 and 5,242 per 100,000)―4 times as high for males and 6 times as high for females aged 75–84 years (1,293 and 903 per 100,000) (Figure 3).

Figure 3: CVD deaths, by age and sex, 2014

The vertical bar chart shows that CVD mortality rates increased rapidly from age 65 and over, with rates being 4-6 times as high in the 85 and over age group  (5,216 and 5,242 per 100 males and females) than those aged 75-84 (1,293 and 903 per 100,000 males and females).

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Data source table).

Inequalities

CVD death rates increased with remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage, and were higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:

  • 1.3 times as high in Remote and very remote areas compared with Major cities (194 compared with 147 per 100,000 population, in 2012–14). This gap was similar for males and females (Figure 4).
  • 1.4 times as high in the lowest socioeconomic group compared with the highest socioeconomic group (180 compared with 127 per 100,000, in 2014). This gap was similar for males and females (Figure 4).
  • 1.8 times as high among Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians (284 compared with 155 deaths per 100,000, in 2012–14). This gap between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians was similar for males and females (Figure 4).

Figure 4: CVD deaths, by selected population characteristics, 2012–2014

The horizontal bar chart shows that in 2012–2014, CVD mortality rates were 1.3 times as high in remote and very remote areas compared with major cities, and 1.4 times as high in the lowest socioeconomic group compared with the highest. Rates were consistently higher among males than females. Compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts, CVD death rates were 1.8 times as high for Indigenous males (182 and 320 per 100,000 population respectively) and 1.9 times as high for Indigenous females (131 and 252 per 100,000 population, respectively).

Notes

  1. Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.
  2. Analysis for socioeconomic groups is for 2014 only.
  3. Analysis for Indigenous status includes data from NSW, QLD, WA, SA and NT only.

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Data source table).

Coronary heart disease (CHD)

In 2014, CHD was the underlying cause in around 20,000 deaths (13% of all deaths and almost 1 in 2 CVD deaths). Over 40% of CHD deaths (9,000) resulted from a heart attack, also known as acute myocardial infarction.

Trends

The number and rate of CHD deaths have declined substantially over the last three decades:

  • The number of CHD deaths declined by 38% (from around 32,600 to 20,200) between 1985 and 2014.
  • CHD death rates declined by around three-quarters—falling from 377 to 91 per 100,000 population for males and 201 to 51 per 100,000 population for females (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Trends in CHD deaths, 1985–2014

The line chart shows that CHD mortality rates have declined rapidly between 1985 and 2014 ― from 377 to 91 events per 100,000 for males and 201 to 51 per 100,000 population for females. CHD mortality rates have remained consistently higher for males than females.

Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Data source table).

Age and sex

In 2014, CHD death rates:

  • Were 1.8 times as high for males than females (91 and 51 per 100,000 population).
  • Increased with age, with half (50%) of all CHD deaths occurring in persons 85 and over. CHD death rates for males and females were highest in 85 and over age group (2,476 and 2,061 per 100,000)—4 times as high for males and 6 times as high for females aged 75–84 (627 and 346 per 100,000) (Figure 6).

Figure 6: CHD deaths, by age and sex, 2014

The vertical bar chart shows that CHD mortality rates increased sharply at age 75 for both males and females, from 627 to 2,476 per 100,000 males and 346 to 2,061 per 100,000 females between ages 75-84 and 85 and over.

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Data source table).

Stroke

In 2014, stroke was the underlying cause in over 8,000 deaths (5% of all deaths and 18% of CVD deaths).

Trends

The number and rate of stroke deaths have declined substantially over the last three decades:

  • The number of stroke deaths declined by 26% (from around 11,200 to 8,286) between 1985 and 2014.
  • Stroke death rates declined by 67%, falling from 83 to 28 deaths per 100,000 population. Stroke death rates declined at a similar rate for males and females (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Trends in stroke deaths, 1985–2014

The line chart shows that stroke deaths have steadily declined for both males and females between 1985 and 2014, and at a similar rate—from 83 to 28 per 100,000 population for males and 81 to 28 per 100,000 population for females.

Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Data source table).

Age and sex

In 2014, stroke death rates:

  • Were overall similar for males and females, except in the 85 and over age group where rates were higher among females than males, reflecting that more females die from stroke than males (Figure 8).
  • Increased with age, with over half (54%) of all stroke deaths occurring in those aged 85 years and over. Stroke death rates for males and females were highest in the 85 and over age group (842 and 1,070 per 100,000 population)—4 times as high for males and 5 times as high for females aged 75–84 years (228 and 209 per 100,000) (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Stroke deaths, by age and sex, 2014

The vertical bar chart shows that stroke mortality rates increased rapidly from age 75 years for both males and females, with rates in the 85 and over age group (842 and 1,070 per 100,000 males and females) 4 times as high for males and 5 times as high for females aged 75–84 years (228 and 209 per 100,000).

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Data source table).

For more information on how deaths are registered, coded and updated, see about deaths data.