Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

What is ASCVD?

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) or “atherosclerosis” is one of the world’s leading causes of mortality – killing 15 million people a year and accounts for 85% of cardiovascular deaths (1). It is also the prime cause of morbidity within the CVD family, impacting 300 million people every year (2). It is a silent pandemic. And yet, most ASCVD deaths are entirely preventable (1).

Cost-effective interventions and prevention measures already exist but they are not being deployed at the scale required to meet the growing challenges of heart disease (3).

The investment costs of preventive measures and interventions required to improve heart health are tiny compared to the devastating toll CVD takes on the economy (3)(4).

Cardiovascular disease accounts for 11 – 16% of total health expenditures, according to a recent report from Harvard University and the OECD (4). Despite commitments to reduce cardiovascular mortality, most countries are not on course to meet the global targets for reducing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 2030.

Some of this can be attributed to the impact of COVID-19 on national healthcare systems but it is not too late to reverse the latest trajectory of ASCVD and get back on track.

However, this will require collaboration and commitment and a renewed global effort to combat the scourge of this deadly disease.

Some Facts & Figures

  • 15 Million

    People Killed Every Year

  • 11%-16%

    of national health care budgets spent on cardiovascular disease

  • 300 Million

    Suffering from the Disease Every Year

  • 1/3

    reduction of premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 2030 (SDG Target 3.4*) and we are not on track.

    *UN Sustainable Development Goal 3.4


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Available at:[Last accessed October 2022].

  2. Roth GA, Mensah GA, Johnson CO, et al. Global Burden of Cardiovascular Diseases and Risk Factors, 1990-2019: Update from the GBD 2019 Study [published correction appears in J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 Apr 20;77(15):1958-1959]. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020;76(25):2982-3021.

  3. World Heart federation (WHF). WHF Roadmap for Cholesterol – 2022 Update. [Last accessed October 2022].

  4. HARVARD T.H.CHAN School of Public Health. The State of Cardiovascular Disease in G20+ Countries. The State of Cardiovascular Disease in G20+ Countries – Health Systems Innovation Lab ( [Last accessed October 2022].