Facts and figures


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a collective term covering diseases of the heart and blood vessels including1:

  • coronary heart disease (CHD) – disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle
  • cerebrovascular disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain, such as stroke
  • peripheral arterial disease – disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs
  • rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria
  • congenital heart disease – malformations of heart structure existing at birth
  • deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.

The scale of the issue

In Europe, CVD (principally coronary heart disease and stroke) is a main cause of death, accounting for 45% of all deaths (52% of all deaths in women and 42% of all deaths in men)2,3. A 2016 review of the burden of CVD in Europe attributes CHD and cerebrovascular disease with 1.8 million and 1.1 million deaths, respectively2, and one death every 7 seconds4.

CVD is projected to remain the single leading cause of death and, by 2030, it is estimated that almost 23.6 million people will die from CVD3.

Overall, CVD is estimated to cost the EU economy €196 billion every year. Of the total cost of CVD in the EU, around 54% are health care costs, 24% productivity losses and 22% costs associated with informal care of people with CVD3.


  1. World Health Organization ‘Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) Factsheet’. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/
  2. Townsend N. et al. (2016) Cardiovascular disease in Europe: epidemiological update. Eur Heart J, published online ahead of print.
  3. European Heart Network, ‘European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2012’. Available at: http://www.ehnheart.org/cvd-statistics.html.
  4. Petersen S. et al. (2005) European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics. BHF. London.

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