AIMS The objective of this paper is to measure the potential burden of cardiovascular disease within the original Framingham Heart Study cohort by transforming its well-described epidemiological measures into time-based health policy measures, such as life years lost to or lived with the disease. METHODS AND RESULTS We constructed multi-state life tables of the Framingham Heart Study cohort to calculate dwelling times with a history of cardiovascular disease. Age-specific probabilities determined transitions from healthy through disease to death. For this synthetic cohort, from age 50 men (women) live on average 26 (32) years; 20 (26) free of cardiovascular disease. Allowing occupancy of more than one disease state, 50-year-old males (females) live 2 X 9 (1 X 2) years with a history of myocardial infarction, 0 X 93 (1 X 2) with a history of stroke, and 0 X 67 (0 X 93) with congestive heart failure. Having ever suffered acute myocardial infarction, stroke or congestive heart failure, life expectancy is reduced by 9 (13), 12 (15) or 16 (16) years, respectively in 60-year-old men (women). CONCLUSIONS Transforming occurrence probabilities into time-based health measures, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is remarkable: from age 50, 20% of remaining life expectancy is lived with the disease. Such measures are integral to appropriate health planning and assessment of the potential population health value of various treatment and prevention strategies.

*Life Tables, Adult, Cardiovascular Diseases/*epidemiology, Female, Humans, Life Expectancy, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Massachusetts/epidemiology, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S., Survival Analysis,
European Heart Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Peeters, A, Al Mamun, A, Willekens, F, & Bonneux, L.G.A. (2002). A cardiovascular life history. European Heart Journal, 23(6), 458–466. doi:10.1053/euhj.2001.2838