What is the mortality and morbidity associated with atherosclerosis?

Updated: Dec 30, 2019
  • Author: Elena R Ladich, MD; Chief Editor: Allen Patrick Burke, MD  more...
  • Print


Despite advances in medical, interventional, and surgical treatment, atherosclerotic disease remains the most important cause of death in developed and underprivileged nations. [7, 8] In the United States alone, coronary artery disease causes approximately 1 of every 6 deaths, accounting for more than 400,000 deaths annually. [7] Each year, an estimated 785,000 Americans have an initial myocardial infarction, and 470,000 Americans have a recurrent attack. [7]


Coronary artery disease remains the leading cause of death in the Western world. A new or recurrent myocardial infarction afflicts approximately 1.1 million people in the USA per year, of which 40% are fatal. Sudden cardiac death as a first manifestation of the atherosclerotic process occurs in >450,000 individuals annually. The vast majority of acute myocardial infarctions (approximately 75%) occur from plaque rupture; other causes of coronary thrombosis include erosion and calcified nodules. [9]

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!