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The impact

CVD is New Zealand’s – and the world’s – number 1 killer.1, 2 Every 90 minutes, one New Zealander dies from CVD. That’s 16 deaths every day.2

With one in 21 adult New Zealanders being affected by CVD, someone you know – or maybe even yourself – has been touched by CVD.3

The wide reach of CVD doesn’t stop there. As a major cause of death and disability in New Zealand, CVD places a huge burden on the economy as well as the healthcare system.

Frighteningly, in recent years the number of people dying or suffering disability from CVD globally has been increasing. This is in part due to the increasing prevalence of ‘lifestyle diseases’ such as obesity and diabetes – major risk factors for CVD.

One New Zealander dies
from cardiovascular disease every 90 minutes

The risk

CVD can affect anyone – man, woman, young, old. The risk factors that can be managed include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inactivity, obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition and excessive intake of alcohol.

Making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and participating in regular physical activity can prevent up to 80 per cent of premature CVD, stroke and diabetes.4

Other risk factors which cannot be changed include age, gender, family history and ethnicity.

The Māori population is more than twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 1.5 times as likely to be hospitalised for cardiovascular disease.5

What is HRI doing?

HRI conducts groundbreaking research across a broad range of cardiovascular-related topics, in our goal to reduce the number of people who die from CVD and to offer a better life for those already suffering from the disease by developing next-generation treatments and medical devices.

Our Cardiovascular Medical Devices Group works to understand how medical device materials cause blood clots, and develops surface coatings to reduce blood clot formation on cardiovascular medical devices.

The Cardiovascular Neuroscience Group investigates how specialised areas of the brain contribute to the development of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.


  1. World Health Organization; Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
  2. Ministry of Health. Mortality 2016 Data Tables
  3. Ministry of Health. Annual Data Explorer 2017/18: New Zealand Health Survey.
  4. World Health Organization; Noncommunicable diseases (NCD).
  5. Ministry of Health. Cardiovascular Disease


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