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Health promotion efforts and advances in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases have contributed to substantial declines in cardiovascular-related deaths in Canada over the last several decades. However, major geographic disparities persist in cardiovascular hospitalization and mortality rates. Previous studies have shown that variations in traditional cardiac risk factors account only partially for this variation, which suggests that other factors also play a role.

In the CANHEART Regional Variations cohort study, investigators used ‘big data’ to identify patient and health system factors associated with variations in the incidence of major cardiovascular events across Ontario’s 14 health service regions, known as Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). In particular, we studied the delivery of preventive health care services provided by family physicians to 40 to 79 year olds as of January 1, 2008 in the CANHEART cohort without a history of a hospital stay for a major cardiovascular disease in the previous 20 years.

A better understanding of key contributing factors to regional variations in cardiovascular disease could lead to more targeted and effective interventions to address disparities in cardiovascular event rates.

To view LHIN-specific results from this study, use the CANHEART eAtlas online tool to explore various cardiovascular health and ambulatory care quality indicators for Ontario and by health region determined in this study.