Global Burden of Cardiovascular Diseases and Risks Collaboration by American College of Cardiology

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study offers a comprehensive overview of pressing societal issues of mortality and disability on a global scale, encompassing 204 different countries. It quantifies the impact of numerous diseases, injuries, and risk factors on health, enabling the enhancement of healthcare systems and the reduction of inequalities.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) gathers and synthesizes data from 281,586 sources to estimate mortality, health outcomes. More than 10,000 individuals representing over 160 territories collaborate to review GBD data sources and estimates.

Given that non-communicable diseases kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 74% of all deaths globally, according to the World Heart Organization (WHO). Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) account for most NCD deaths (17.9 million annually). Thus, to appropriately report cardiovascular diseases and deaths globally is integral for healthcare providers to understand and treat these patients across the globe. To this end, this new interactive website supplementing the in-depth regional data GBD special report was launched and published by the Global Burden of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) Collaboration – an alliance between Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), IHME, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

This first-of-its-kind tool allows users to investigate and better understand the magnitude of total of CVD burden across each of the 21 global regions in an aesthetic interactive manner. The goal was not to create a dashboard, rather the interactive tool is meant to walk the reader through highlights of specific data in a highly visual and interactive manner. The page features an interactive 3D globe for the user to explore mortality rate by region. A responsive, hoverable treemap shows the sheer magnitude and the mortality rates by CVD states. A region of simplified bar graphs communicates quickly but filters all of the data behind the risk or rates by CV type. These can be further filtered by the 21 global regions, risks by metabolic, environmental or behavioral, and CV type by prevalence, deaths or disability‐adjusted life years (DALYs). The zoomable, hoverable risk plot visually lays out the mortality vs socio-demographic index distribution data. It serves to quickly demonstrate the overall development and well-being of a country's population based on various sociodemographic indicators vs mortality. An early design allowed the globe to follow the page and act as a regional selection navigation, but this later iteration followed user feedback to have the charts and graphs as large as possible for data visualization.

A large design challenge was to help reduce vast quantities of data into a clear and aesthetically pleasing design. The goal was to create a simplified tool for cardiologists to quickly access and assess specific information for their regional research. A print feature was added to allow the clinicians to download images or PowerPoint slides crafted according to their data requirements. Color scales are kept very distinct in order to differentiate between large numbers of variables.

The production of this iterative page involved collaborations between data scientists, designers, product managers, and many researchers. Cross-disciplinary teams were brought together with diverse skills to create the interactive visualization tool you see today.