This publication, the second in the Mortality Series, follows the introductory report, Trends in Australian mortality 1921-1988, which provided death rates by age, sex and specific causes for Australia for the period 1921 to 1988. The causes of death in that report were classified according to the 17 main chapter headings of the Ninth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9) produced by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This report focuses on one specific chapter of the International Classification of Diseases (lCD), namely diseases of the circulatory system (also known as diseases of the cardiovascular system). In particular, the focus is on ischaemic or coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular accident or stroke, hypertension and rheumatic heart disease. The period covered is 1950 to 1991.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) produces two useful companion series on mortality in Australia. These are the Mortality Surveillance Series and the Cancer Series reports.