Campaigners have warned of a “worrying and unnecessary slowdown” in progress in tackling deaths from heart attacks in Scotland.
A new report, published by National Records of Scotland (NRS), found increases in life expectancy have stalled in Scotland after three decades of improvement.
It said one factor behind the trend is a reduction in progress on reducing deaths from heart disease.
Charity British Heart Foundation (BHF) has warned against becoming “complacent” over tackling heart disease, which is still one of the leading causes of death in Scotland.
The NRS analysis shows there were 10,778 deaths from heart attacks in 2004, but by 2014 that figure had dropped by 36% to 6,877.
However, between 2014 and 2018, there were just 262 fewer deaths recorded, a decrease of just under 4%.
The statistics also show the heart disease death rate dropped from 263 to 141 per 100,000 population between 2004 and 2014. In 2018, the death rate was 127 per 100,000 population.
James Cant, Director of BHF Scotland, said: “phenomenal progress” has been made in reducing the number of people dying from heart attacks in Scotland.
But he said: “However, these new figures show a worrying and unnecessary slowdown in the pace of that progress.
“The result is that we’re still seeing too many people die each year from heart and circulatory diseases – around 50 people each day in Scotland.
“Heart and circulatory diseases still cause around thirty per cent of all deaths in Scotland, so we can’t become complacent.”
He added: “This report is a reminder that we need to renew our focus and work together with the Scottish Government and all partners to tackle these issues and reduce mortality rates from heart attacks, across the country.”