Yonsei Med J.  2023 May;64(5):309-312. 10.3349/ymj.2022.0485.

Review of North Korean Reports on Cardiovascular Disease Research and Management

  • 1Research Institute of Healthcare for North Korea, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
  • 2College of Medicine, Dankook University of Korea, Seoul, Korea


This study aimed to investigate the quality of medical care in North Korea using data from North Korean medical research.
Materials and Methods
This study included publications containing the keyword “medical” among North Korea’s consecutive publications and selected 415 papers related to heart disease, brain disease, and emergency medical care published at The North Korean Data Center of the Ministry of Unification (https://unibook.unikorea.go.kr). Among 40 research articles, we reviewed ten with representative epidemiological data for cardiovascular treatment, and the latest medical materials were selected and analyzed in detail.
Few studies reported the experience of large-scale medical facilities or verified professional performance. Proof of the efficacy of the latest drugs was rare, although the treatment results of interventional therapy and conventional heart surgery were reported. Efforts to improve emergency medical care and innovation of treatment materials using new technologies were being actively studied. However, careful interpretation is required due to the lack of objectivity in research data and some deviation in the composition of patients included in the data.
Research of cardiovascular disease in North Korea is conducted at a very limited scope, although treatment results appear to be recorded. The management of cardiovascular disease and the establishment of an emergency medical system warrant global attention and cooperation for further improvement.


Democratic people; healthcare; cardiovascular diseases
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