"Over the last decade we have continued to see improvements in cardiovascular mortality," said Harindra Wijeysundera, M.D., at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
84 year-old Ben Davis knows first hand about those improvements. After a triple bypass in 2000, he recently had a heart valve replaced here at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Ontario, Canada.
"All of this repair work had helped me out a lot," said Davis.
Dr. Harindra Wijeysundera from Sunnybrook and co-authors studied those diagnosed with coronary heart disease in the Ontario province from 1994 to 2005 and found deaths decreased by 35 percent.
"Just under 50 percent of that overall mortality was associated with behavioral changes and risk factors specifically, the biggest players being high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and that just over 40 percent was from improvements in the uptake of treatments," said Wijeysundera.
The study appears in this week's JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.
"In 1994 in fact, they weren't used very much, about 20 percent of patients, while in 2005 upwards of 60 to 70 percent were on these, and that represented a huge reduction in mortality," said Wijeysundera.
Researchers also found a six percent rise in overall cardiovascular deaths from diabetes and two percent from obesity.
"The concern of course is if that trend continues then these gains that we've seen over the last decade may be lost," said Wijeysundera.
For Ben, whose father died from heart disease, is planning to live and enjoy a full life with his family.
"We have grandchildren and there's another on the way now, so it's nice to be around for all of that. My dad missed a lot of that," said Davis.