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ESC Atlas of Cardiology

What is the ESC Atlas of Cardiology?

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Despite huge advances in cardiovascular medicine, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the world's biggest killer.

To better understand why this is the case and how we can reduce CVD mortality, the ESC collects cardiovascular data from across its 57 members countries through its 'Atlas of Cardiology'.

This unique compendium underlines major healthcare gaps and inequalities and provides robust data for budget owners and decision-makers who can advance population health at a European level.

In order to complement the compendium by adding statistics from different sub-specialties, the ESC has also added heart failure and interventional data, with the help of the Heart Failure Association and the European Association for Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions.

Visit ESC Atlas in Heart Failure

Visit ESC Atlas in Interventional Cardiology

ESC Cardiovascular Realities 2022


ESC Cardiovascular Realities 2022 is a unique publication that presents data from ESC Atlas,  thus providing compelling arguments for increasing action to support cardiovascular health policy. This booklet is essential reading for anyone involved in healthcare policy and budget allocation. It includes comprehensive CVD data from the ESC Atlas of Cardiology covering risk factors, health behaviours, access to healthcare and the cost of CVD to the economy in 57 countries.


Read ESC Cardiovascular Realities 2022

Previous edition

What does ESC Atlas tell us?

European Heart Journal publication

An analysis of Atlas data was published in the European Heart Journal in December 2021.

Read ESC Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2021


Key messages from the latest ESC Atlas datasets 

  • Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the ESC member countries, accounting for 45% and 39% of fatalities in women and men, respectively.
  • Air pollution and noise account for over 75% of the cardiovascular disease burden attributable to the environment. In 2019, fine particle concentrations were over twice as high in middle-income, compared to high-income, ESC member countries and exceeded the EU air quality standard in 14 countries (all middle-income). Each year, an estimated 48,000 new cases of coronary heart disease occur across Europe due to environmental noise pollution.
  • The burden of cardiovascular disease falls hardest on middle-income ESC member countries where estimated incidence rates are approximately 30% higher compared with high-income countries. This is reflected in disability-adjusted life years due to cardiovascular disease which are nearly four times as high in middle-income compared with high-income countries.
  • The under-resourced status of middle-income countries is associated with a severe procedural deficit compared with high-income countries in terms of coronary intervention, ablation procedures, device implantation and cardiac surgical procedures.
  • The WHO is targeting a relative 25% reduction (compared to 2010) in the prevalence of elevated blood pressure by 2025. During 2010 to 2015 (or the most recent available data), the median age-standardised prevalence of elevated blood pressure across ESC member countries declined by just 3.4% – from 25.9% to 25.0%. The report’s forecasts indicate little prospect of achieving the blood pressure target in middle-income ESC member countries but a good prospect for high-income countries if current trends continue.

The previous analyses of CVD statistics from ESC Atlas have been published in the European Heart Journal:

Atlas Infographics

The six infographics in the series "Cardiovascular Realities in Europe" present key findings, revealing wide gender and geographic disparities and inequalities.

Data is collected from the ESC Atlas paper and presents it in an easily accessible format by theme:

  • Risk Factors: smoking prevalence and raised blood pressure
  • Risk Factor Obesity 
  • Premature Deaths
  • Number of Cardiologists
  • Number of Pacemaker Implantations
  • Number of Heart Transplants

 Why ESC Atlas

The ESC Atlas maps, analyses and compares from a cardiovascular perspective, the status of the healthcare systems in more than 57 countries in ESC member countries. It presents the evidence of trends, disparities, gaps and associations between fundamental variables, which can be used to elicit valuable insights for evidence-based health policy in cardiology. 

The ESC Atlas reveals the serious disparities in service provision and cardiovascular outcomes across systems, as well as significant issues in health care management and many other gaps existing in Europe. All data converge to reinforce the need to make cardiovascular disease the number one health priority for any decision maker. 

The Atlas helps the ESC to better fulfil its mission

The Atlas provides the ESC and its institutional members with a wealth of robust evidence, analyses and comparisons. It will inform new and stronger ESC recommendations as well as calls for action, supporting our efforts to shape cardiovascular policy and, regulation. The ESC and its participating member societies will provide key decision-makers with better elements than ever before that will inevitably influence the allocation of funds for prevention, treatment, education and research. 

The Atlas reinforces further the ESC and participating member societies unified call for harmonisation of standards of care to achieve best possible patient outcomes across Europe.

Subscribing to e-Atlas

Depending on their subscription level, subscribers may:

  • Profile the status of cardiology in a specific region (eg number of cardiologists/centres/services)
  • Identify and follow trends, gaps, inequalities
  • Monitor impact of policies on CVD service & outcomes
  • Study best practice, optimal levels & determinants of care & outcomes
  • Evaluate health system organisation impacts on CVD care & outcomes
  • Assess how spending and investment in health care systems impact how cardiology is practised

Who can access the ESC Atlas?

Organisations can subscribe to ESC Atlas. To find out more contact

Data sources

Data on economies, health, risk factors, demographics, several socioeconomic indicators, system structure and system policies are collected from international sources from:

  • the World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • the World Bank (WB) 
  • the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

Data on physicians, intervention laboratories, hospital beds, number of interventions are collected from local sources by the participating ESC Member National Cardiac National Societies.

Data processing

Data are collected in a standardized manner and are checked for their quality and plausibility. A dedicated team of ESC experts and biostatistician undertakes quality controls, collates the data, undertakes standards and ad hoc analyses and prepares reports.