DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.12815 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 12815: The Effect of Altitude on Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: Insights From a National Database in Ecuador

Bryan Nicolalde, Frans Serpa, Deisy Muriel Velez Arteaga, Angelo Nicolas Caputi Zuniga, Ximena Arias, Diego Anazco
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. European population studies have shown a protective effect of high altitude on CVD mortality, but the applicability of these findings to Latin population remains to be explored. We aim to compare the mortality rates from ischemic heart disease (IHD), heart failure (HF), and cardiac arrhythmias between low- and high-altitude regions in Ecuador.

Hypothesis: CVD mortality might be influenced by altitude

Methods: We collected nationwide mortality data on different CVDs for each canton in Ecuador from 2017 to 2021 by using pre-defined ICD-10 codes. Then, we collected the mean altitude in meters above sea level (ASL) for each specific canton and classified them into low-(<2500 meters ASL) and high-altitude (>2500 meters ASL) cantons. We estimated the aggregated mortality rates per 100.000 persons and 95% confidence interval for high- and low-altitude regions at each timepoint.

Results: From 2017 to 2021, 69.002 deaths due to CVDs occurred in Ecuador (IHD: 77.0%, HF:19.8% and cardiac arrhythmias: 3.2%). Mean age at death across different pathologies ranged between 76 and 81 years old, and most participants identified as multi-ethic (Table 1). There was a significantly higher mortality rate for HF and cardiac arrhythmias in high-altitude cantons than in low-altitude cantons at almost all timepoints (Figure 1). The mortality rates for IHD were lower for high-altitude cantons than low-altitude cantons at all timepoints.

Conclusions: High-altitude cantons in Ecuador had higher mortality rates for HF and cardiac arrhythmias, but lower mortality rates for IHD when compared to low-altitude cantons.

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