Cardiovascular diseases are still the most important cause of death in industrialized countries. In spite of enormous progress regarding prevention, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, coronary heart disease remains the most important cardiovascular cause for early invalidity, professional inactivity and premature death. The direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular diseases amount to 14.8% of total disease related costs. The future challenges are clear: this disease group is to a large extent preventable; efficient intervention models both on an individual and on a community level are available. Still, some more research on etiology, e.g. in relation to social class gradients is needed. In addition, the disease and its role within society and the health care structure should also be subject to research.