An epidemiologic study of coronary heart disease in residents of Rochester, Minnesota, has been updated through 1982. Between the time that mortality rates began to decline in the late 1960s and now, the age-adjusted incidence of all types of coronary heart disease in residents of Rochester decreased 11% in men but increased 9% in women. This difference was due mainly to changes in the incidence of myocardial infarction as the initial manifestation of coronary heart disease—in men, the rates declined by 20%, whereas the rates for women increased by 17%. The greatest changes were in the age group 50 to 69 years. From the 1965 through 1969 period to the 1979 through 1982 period, the age-adjusted incidence of sudden unexpected death as the initial manifestation of coronary heart disease decreased in both sexes, but the incidence of angina pectoris increased in both men and women. The 24-hour and 30-day case fatality rates for myocardial infarction and the incidence rates for sudden unexpected death have stabilized. Additional studies are needed to identify the reasons for the striking divergence in secular trends in coronary heart disease for men as compared with those for women.
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