Authors: Haraldsdottir S, Gudmundsson S, Thorgeirsson G, Lund SH, Valdimarsdottir UA
Scand J Public Health. 2017 May;45(3):260-268
AIMS: Surveillance of geographical variations in cardiovascular health is important in order to achieve the objectives of reducing regional health disparities. We aimed to explore differences in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality and prevalence of CVD diagnoses made in primary and in-patient care, as well as risk factor distribution by geographic regions (urban/rural) in Iceland.
METHODS: From nationwide health registers, we obtained data on CVD mortalities ( N = 7113), primary healthcare CVD contacts ( N = 58,246) and hospital CVD discharges ( N = 14,039), as well as data on CVD risk factors from a national health survey ( N = 5909; response rate 60.3%). Age-standardised annual mortality, primary healthcare contact and hospital discharge rates due to CVD were calculated per 100,000 population inside (urban) and outside (rural) the Capital Area (CA). Logistic regression was used to explore regional differences in CVD risk factors.
RESULTS: We observed slightly higher total CVD mortality rates among women outside compared to inside the CA (Standardised Rate Ratio (SRR) 1.06 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05-1.07)), particularly due to atrial fibrillation (SRR 1.47 (95% CI 1.46-1.48)), heart failure (SRR 1.29 (95% CI 1.27-1.31)) and ischemic heart disease (SRR 1.11 (95% CI 1.10-1.12)), while reduced mortality risk for cerebrovascular disease (SRR 0.81 (95% CI 0.80-0.83)). The rates of hospital discharges and primary care contacts for these diseases, as well as prevalence of several modifiable risk factors, were generally higher outside the CA, particularly among women.
CONCLUSIONS: The higher prevalence of modifiable risk factors and CVD in rural areas, especially among women, calls for refined treatment and health-promoting efforts in rural areas.