• Trends in national mortality rates •  

Graphs showing time trends in mortality rates

Proportion of vascular deaths at age 60-69 that were not due to CHD

or stroke, both sexes combined, for 11 countries: 1950s-2000s

Graph showing ill-defined vascular mortality in 11 countries

Comment: Most vascular deaths are due either to coronary heart disease (CHD) or stroke, but a small proportion are due to other defined diseases (see "Vascular, non-CHD/stroke" in the Information about Causes of Death), and a proportion are due to vascular diseases that are ill-defined. However, some ill-defined vascular deaths are in reality miscoded CHD or stroke deaths. A higher proportion of vascular deaths not attributed to CHD or stroke can suggest undercounting of CHD and stroke deaths.

This graph shows the proportion of male and female vascular deaths at age 60-69 years that were not attributed to CHD or stroke. In most countries the proportion has been gradually increasing since the 1970s, no doubt because IHD and stroke mortality have been falling faster than mortality from other defined vascular diseases. In Mexico, however, the proportion fell throughout that period, probably because of increasingly precise coding of vascular deaths. In France, though, a consistently high proportion suggests the possibility of undercounting of CHD and stroke deaths in that country for more than half a century. The step changes for several countries - most notably, for Japan in 1968 and 1995, and for the United States in 1979 - occurred when the countries moved to new versions of the International Classification of Diseases.

For an assessment of how complete and precise death certification is in different countries, see Counting the dead and what they died from... (Mathers et al., Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2005:83:171-7).

WHO mortality rates for particular countries, ages and causes of death