Females in Scotland are twice as likely as women living in south-west England to die from coronary heart disease (CHD) at an early age, new research shows.
The CHD death rate of Scottish women under the age of 75 has almost halved between 1994 and 2004, but other regions in the UK have made even more progress on battling the disease, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found.
In Scotland the rate has dropped from 160 to 81 per 100,000, which is a significant improvement, but this mortality rate is still much higher than in other parts of the country.
The rate for women younger than 75 who died from CHD in the south-west of England has dropped to 40 per 100,000, down from 90.
Therefore the BHF has called on the Scottish executive to continue making "brave and innovative moves" to help improve public health.
Dr Mike Knapton, the BHF's director of prevention and care, said Scotland has seen "big improvements" in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease over the last decade.
He said this, combined with the fact that people are more aware of lifestyle messages on smoking, diet and exercise, is "something to celebrate".
However, Dr Knapton has urged that this should not distract from the "big strides that still need to be made in tackling the root causes of CHD".