Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for 32% of total mortality in Brazil, mostly due to cerebrovascular and coronary artery disease. Epidemiological and socio-economical factors play a pivotal role on the distribution, severity and management of coronary artery disease, and the burden is greater in the southeast and south regions of the country, with a higher mortality in low-income populations. The Brazilian healthcare structure is divided into two complementary systems—public and private—but 75% of the population is covered exclusively by the public system. Some Brazilian institutions offer state-of-the-art care to patients with acute and chronic coronary artery disease, but regional inequalities in medical care are still significant. National policies will have to be implemented to fight risk factors, to ensure primary prevention strategies, including assistance on drugs with known protective effects, areas to be tackled by both the private and the public health sectors. Finally, large investments will have to be made to improve tertiary care, to reorganise systems of care for acute patients and mainly to ensure prompt access and continuity of cardiac care and secondary prevention strategies for the whole population.
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Funding: CAP and JPR receive research sponsorship from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Brazil.
Competing interests: CAP is a consultant for the Brazilian Ministry of Health and has received research grants from Boehringer Ingelheimer and Sanofi Aventis. JPR has received consulting and lecturing fees as well as grant support from the following companies: Abbott, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheimer, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Cordis, Sanofi-Aventis and Servier.