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Circ J. 2015;79(5):1000-8. doi: 10.1253/circj.CJ-15-0223.

Comparison of cardiovascular mortality in the Great East Japan and the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquakes - a large-scale data analysis of death certificates.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiologic Informatics, National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center.



Large earthquakes have been associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. In Japan, the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji (H-A) Earthquake was an urban-underground-type earthquake, whereas the 2011 Great East Japan (GEJ) Earthquake was an ocean-trench type. In the present study, we examined how these different earthquake types affected CVD mortality.


We examined death certificate data from 2008 to 2012 for 131 municipalities in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures (n=320,348) and from 1992 to 1996 for 220 municipalities in Hyogo, Osaka, and Kyoto prefectures (n=592,670). A Poisson regression model showed significant increases in the monthly numbers of acute myocardial infarction (AMI)-related deaths (incident rate ratio [IRR] GEJ=1.34, P=0.001; IRR of H-A=1.57, P<0.001) and stroke-related deaths (IRR of GEJ=1.42, P<0.001; IRR of H-A=1.33, P<0.001) after the earthquakes. Two months after the earthquakes, AMI deaths remained significant only for H-A (IRR=1.13, P=0.029). When analyzing the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) after the earthquakes using the Cochran-Armitage trend test, seismic intensity was significantly associated with AMI mortality for 2 weeks after both the GEJ (P for trend=0.089) and H-A earthquakes (P for trend=0.005).


Following the GEJ and H-A earthquakes, there was a sharp increase in CVD mortality. The effect of the disaster was sustained for months after the H-A earthquake, but was diminished after the GEJ Earthquake.

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