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The burden of heart disease in Latin America

Risk Factors, Epidemiology, Rehabilitation and Sports Cardiology


The population of Latin America is large and generally of low income. Furthermore distances are large and medical resources are often a long distance from the patient. As in many other areas of the world, a major cause of death is cardiovascular disease. The risk factors of lipid abnormalities and smoking are, as elsewhere, of major importance as shown by the INTERHEART study, but some factors such as abdominal obesity are particularly important and associated with this, the metabolic syndrome is also a significant risk factor.

The geographical problems that limit the delivery of health are very challenging but innovative work from Chile has shown that the use of telemedicine to diagnose acute ST elevation MI can allow much earlier thrombolysis in hospitals away from major centres of population. This important innovation has reduced the time lapse before thrombolysis and has led to a significant fall in mortality from STEMI.

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The burden of heart disease in Latin America
The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.