GLASGOW is no longer the heart-disease capital of the UK, dropping to third in the league table of deaths, figures show.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said the city had 128 deaths per 100,000 people caused by coronary heart disease, according to the latest figures for 2009-11.
This compared to 151 per 100,000 in the previous figures.
However, the statistics still mean Glasgow is beaten only by Ballymoney in Northern Ireland, with a rate of 129 deaths per 100,000, and Tameside in Greater Manchester, which tops the latest table with 132 deaths per 100,000 people.
The figures for 2009-11 were released as the BHF launched its Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign, calling for more action to cut heart disease across the UK.
Scottish regions took up three spaces in the BHF’s new top-ten of heart disease deaths. After Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire came fifth with a rate of 124 per 100,000 and Dundee tenth at 112 per 100,000 of the population.
This compared with Moray, which had the lowest heart disease death rate in Scotland at 56 per 100,000. The lowest rate in the UK was in Kensington and Chelsea at 39 per 100,000.
The previous figures for 2008-10 put Glasgow in top place for the UK, followed by North Lanarkshire at 144 per 100,000 and Tameside at 140.
The reduction in death rates for heart disease in Scotland follows other promising indications that the country could be starting to lose its “sick man of Europe” tag, with a fall in stroke and cancer mortality also reported in recent months.
But experts said that the latest figures helped illustrate the depth of the inequalities that remained.
Professor Peter Weissberg, BHF medical director, said: “These latest figures expose staggering inequalities in deaths from heart disease across Scotland. But it’s unacceptable that people continue to die from heart attacks, regardless of their postcode.
“Coronary heart disease is not beaten yet – it remains the single biggest killer in Scotland.
“We urgently need the nation to unite behind our quest to fund research to eradicate this deadly disease wherever it strikes.”
BHF is launching a hard-hitting campaign which brings together heart patients and scientists to highlight research as the key weapon needed to win the battle against heart disease.
The TV advert, being shown on Saturday evening, features the moment when footballer Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest while on the pitch.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “While health in Scotland is improving overall … we’re cutting coronary heart disease mortality rates fastest in the most deprived areas.”