Heart disease: key data sources


The incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) or heart attack can be estimated from the Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR) databases, by counting:

  • 'new' SMR01 hospital admissions for CHD or heart attack (i.e. records for people with no previous admission for CHD/heart attack in the last 10 years).

However, it is essential to understand the major limitations of this approach - these are detailed on the ISD linked database.


Information on deaths from heart disease (including CHD and heart attack) is collated from death registrations by the National Records of Scotland (NRS).


Information on CHD prevalence can be obtained from a number of sources such as the 2014 Scottish Health Survey and the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). Both of these data sources provide high level estimates of prevalence.

Hospital discharge data

Statistics on discharges from hospital due to heart disease (including CHD, heart attack, angina, heart failure, chest pain) are held in the Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR) databases.

Primary care activity

The two main sources include (1) an estimate of the number of GP/practice nurse consultations for CHD and angina, collected by the Practice Team Information (PTI) programme and (2) an estimate of the prevalence of heart related conditions (including CHD, atrial fibrillation, heart failure) taken from the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) data, recorded by practices in the form of disease registers.

Prescribing data

Practitioner Services (PSD) are responsible for the processing and pricing of all prescriptions dispensed within Scotland, including drugs prescribed for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Information on NHS prescriptions dispensed in the community is compiled by ISD's Prescribing Team from data provided by PSD. More information is given in ISD's Prescribing and Medicine page .

Ambulance service data

Information on Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) activity for patients with heart problems or chest pains is extracted from the SAS data warehouse at ePRF (electronic patient record form) level. It includes (1) incidents where a SAS resource attended and (2) conveyances where a patient was conveyed to hospital. More details are provided in ISD's Heart Disease pages under Ambulance Service Activity.