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Avellon Williams

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS – According to the Barbados National Registry (BNR) 2019 cardiovascular disease report, Barbados continues to experience an increase in heart attacks and strokes.

Document studies show the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases is increasing in the Caribbean region with the rates being higher than those of other nations in the Americas, and continuing to be the region’s leading cause of death.

A total of 547 myocardial infarctions (MI or heart attacks) were registered in Barbados in 2019. This included diagnoses confirmed by the hospital and those identified after death, as determined by death certificates.

Courtesy /PHD/

A total of 342 patients were hospitalized out of 547 cases. With full information available, the case fatality rate was approximately 32 percent, compared to the international in-hospital case fatality rate of between 3 and 12 percent.

“The three-year average for 2014 to 2016 is 391 cases versus 499 cases for 2017 to 2019. This implies a 28 percent increase in new cases over three years.

This increase was driven by an increase in events in older women (ages 74-85 years), the absolute number surpassing cases in men for the first time recorded by the BNR,” the report said.

“The in-hospital case fatality rate (CFR) was similar over the past three years 2017, 2018 and 2019 at 21 percent, 25 percent and 25 percent respectively. This remains high in comparison to other countries. For example, the CFR in Scotland between 2005 and 2015 was 10 percent,” it added.

Courtesy /EC/
Based on the report, men continue to have a higher age-standardised rate of heart attacks compared to women, while the median length of stay for stroke has increased from seven days to eight days.

The report found that the trend of younger men having heart attacks continued in 2019, with the peak age range dropping from 75-84 years in 2018 to 65-74 years in 2019.

According to the report, there have been some 758 stroke cases registered in Barbados in 2019, which include both confirmed hospital diagnoses and deaths that were identified after the fact.

“There continues to be a rise in strokes in younger men, with increases in the 34 – 45 and the 55- 64 age groups. This trend is in line with a global shift towards strokes in younger men in low to middle-income countries,” said the report.

“The three-year average rose from 631 to 697 in 2014 to 2016 to an average of 697 for 2017 to 2019. In-hospital case fatality for all stroke cases was 37 percent in 2019, up from 28 percent in 2018. In comparison, the UK has maintained an in-hospital case fatality rate of 15 percent between 2014 and 2019,” it added.

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Avellon Williams