The aim of this study is to describe the 21 year trends in myocardial infarction among middle-aged inhabitants in the city of Turku, in southwestern Finland. Since 1972 the coronary register in Turku has monitored acute coronary events leading to hospital admission or death, first according to the methods of the World Health Organization Heart Attack Register Study, and since 1982 according to the methods of the WHO MONICA. From 1972 to 1992 we registered 7374 events of suspected myocardial infarction, of which 6045 events occurring in inhabitants of Turku aged 35-64 years, fulfilled the criteria for myocardial infarction. Within 28 days, 2266 coronary events proved fatal. During the 21-year period, the incidence of definite myocardial infarction fell by 55% in men and by 62% in women, and coronary mortality fell by 66 and 81%, respectively. From 1972 to 1982, total mortality and coronary mortality decreased in parallel. Later on, the decrease in total mortality levelled off, even though coronary mortality fell still steeper, because mortality from external causes of death increased. The favourable long-term trends reflect favourable changes in total cholesterol and blood pressure in the middle-aged population, and the improvement in the treatment of myocardial infarction. Further efforts are needed to enhance this trend, but also to reduce total mortality among middle-aged people.
Comment In: Eur Heart J. 1996 Oct;17(10):1455-68909894