The Atlantic divide in coronary heart disease: Epidemiology and patient care in the US and Portugal


Mariana F Lobo, Vanessa Azzone, Frederic S Resnic, Bruno Melica, Armando Teixeira-Pinto, Luís Filipe Azevedo, Alberto Freitas, Cláudia Nisa, Leonor Bacelar-Nicolau, Francisco Nuno Rocha-Gonçalves, José Pereira-Miguel, Altamiro Costa-Pereira, and Sharon-Lise Normand. 2017. “The Atlantic divide in coronary heart disease: Epidemiology and patient care in the US and Portugal.” Rev Port Cardiol, 36, 9, Pp. 583-593.


INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: We aimed to compare access to new health technologies to treat coronary heart disease (CHD) in the health systems of Portugal and the US, characterizing the needs of the populations and the resources available. METHODS: We reviewed data for 2000 and 2010 on epidemiologic profiles of CHD and on health care available to patients. Thirty health technologies (16 medical devices and 14 drugs) introduced during the period 1980-2015 were identified by interventional cardiologists. Approval and marketing dates were compared between countries. RESULTS: Relative to the US, Portugal has lower risk profiles and less than half the hospitalizations per capita, but fewer centers per capita provide catheterization and cardiothoracic surgery services. More than 70% of drugs were available sooner in the US, whereas 12 out of 16 medical devices were approved earlier in Portugal. Nevertheless, at least five of these devices were adopted first or diffused faster in the US. Mortality due to CHD and myocardial infarction (MI) was lower in Portugal (CHD: 72.8 vs. 168 and MI: 48.7 vs. 54.1 in Portugal and the US, respectively; age- and gender-adjusted deaths per 100000 population, 2010); but only CHD deaths exhibited a statistically significant difference between the countries. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in regulatory mechanisms and price regulations have a significant impact on the types of health technologies available in the two countries. However, other factors may influence their adoption and diffusion, and this appears to have a greater impact on mortality, due to acute conditions.