The UK is among a group of European countries that has seen a large decrease in heart disease mortality over the last three decades

Cases of heart disease have fallen by almost 50% across the EU since the early 1980s, according to research from The European Society of Cardiology.

The findings revealed a steady reduction in heart disease-related deaths across all age groups, but also highlighted differences in mortality rates between countries.

The UK was among the countries that saw the largest decreases in mortality over the past three decades, along with Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Malta. Researchers were unable to identify any reasons for geographical differences, but some suggest they could be related to the way different countries record and code healthcare data.

The study examined trends of coronary heart disease in four age groups between 1980 and 2009, and showed that heart disease and stroke are responsible for 40% of all deaths in the EU.