KARACHI - Over one third of all deaths in Pakistan are caused by cardiovascular diseases. Dr Khawar Kazmi, Section Head of Cardiology at AKUH said this during his address at the World Heart Day event organised at the Agha Khan University Hospital to increase awareness and prevent heart diseases in the community.According to a recent study published by the World Bank titled Capitalizing on the Demographic Transition -Tackling Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in South Asia, Pakistan is in the early stages of a demographic transition that will result in a significant increase in the average age of the population as well as the ratio of population over 40 years of age. Dr Kazmi warned that this demographic transition will result in an increase in the already high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and effective interventional strategies and resource allocation for prevention and treatment of CVD that address the future burden of disease and promotes healthy aging will be required at both the governmental and non-government levels.He shared the important role played by AKUH in providing the most comprehensive cardiac care in the form of correction of advanced heart rhythm defects and state-of-the-art diagnostic modalities such as Cardiac MRI and three-dimensional echocardiography. Dr Hasanat Sharif, Section Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery, added that AKUH was the first hospital in Karachi to offer surgical correction of complex congenital cardiac abnormalities in children. He said that the hospital’s efforts at making internationally recognised quality standards of cardiac care available in the country at a fraction of the cost was a great service to the nation. He dismissed the myths associated with open heart surgery and said that the surgery did not pose any limitation on physical activity and the patients are back to their routine work and an active lifestyle very soon after surgery. He added that the cardiac rehabilitation programme at AKUH was designed on international best practices and played a major role in early recovery and resumption of daily activities. Leading cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, physiotherapists and nutritionists participated in the event and gave talks and health tips on preventing heart disease. A heart walk was also organised to demonstrate the importance of regular exercise in heart disease prevention. Health stalls offering free cardiac risk screening were also set up to give participants an opportunity to get themselves screened for heart disease.