HEART attacks kill more than 3,000 people prematurely each year in the North West, new figures from the British Heart Foundation reveal.
The charity estimates that more than 22,000 people under the age of 75 across the UK suffered a fatal heart attack, in 2014.
The figures have been released as the BHF launches a new campaign to highlight how heart conditions, including heart attack, suddenly devastate families on a daily basis.
Almost 188,000 heart attacks treated in UK hospitals in 2013/2014. Despite improvements in treatment and diagnosis, around a third of heart attacks are fatal.
Although figures remain high, medical research, much of it funded by the BHF, has significantly improved survival rates through better diagnosis and treatments.
But the charity says more research is urgently needed to save more lives and combat the main cause of heart attack - coronary heart disease (CHD).
Around 288,000 people in the North West are living with CHD and it remains the UK’s single biggest killer.
Yet scientists understand remarkably little about atherosclerosis – the process that causes narrowing of the coronary arteries and potentially fatal heart attacks.
BHF medical director Prof Peter Weissberg said: “Through medical research, we’ve made great progress in saving the lives of people suffering from heart attacks.
“Every year thousands of people are still dying from heart attacks, and CHD remains the UK’s single biggest killer. We urgently need to fund more research to find new ways to prevent and treat heart attacks, and ultimately, save more lives.
“Despite knowing that risk factors, such as smoking, increase the risk of heart attack, we have no way to stop furring of the arteries responsible for causing so many heart attacks.”