A study of the prevalence of heart attacks should help target scarce healthcare resources on those in greatest need.
Researchers from Nottingham University's geography department and the division of cardiovascular medicine at Nottingham's University Hospital, reported the results of work to identify areas of high and low heart-attack prevalence in their health district, to this week's annual meeting of the British Cardiac Society in Harrogate.
They have monitored coronary heart disease in the population since 1973, using socio-economic information from recent censuses, patient details from the Nottingham Heart Attack Register, and health authority records of community deaths. They used the data to draw maps of need.
Nottingham can be seen as representative of England as a whole in terms of death rates. Deaths from coronary heart disease are lower in areas of relative affluence. They are higher in men than women, but have fallen among the 45-74 age group by about 20 per cent in men and about 7 per cent in women in the past 20 years.
By the year 2000, the predicted death rates for under 65s in Nottingham is 60 per 100,000 people, and 850 per 100,000 in the 64-74 age group. These compare to the Government's Health of the Nation targets of 35 per 100,000 for under 65s, and 629 per 100,000 for the older age group.
British Heart Foundation postgraduate Natasha Huff said : "Our approach and the data produced will be of value to health promotion and health education teams in targeting scarce resources to those in greatest need."