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Heart and stroke death rates steadily decline; risks still too high
Date:1/22/2008

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The reduction in the death rates for coronary heart disease and stroke equates to approximately 160,000 lives saved in 2005 (the most recent year for which data is available) compared to the 1999 baseline data. If the current mortality trends hold (which will not be the case if the current trends in risk factors are not improved and current quality of care improvements do not continue), the American Heart Association analysts projects that there may be a 36 percent decline in the age-adjusted coronary heart disease death rate and a 34 percent decline in the age-adjusted stroke death rate when the 2008 data are released in a few years (in comparison with the 1999 data). The population size in 2008 will also be larger, so it is projected that the estimated lives saved in 2008 will be approximately 240,000.

Multiple factors appear to have led to the reduction in deaths. Ongoing scientific research has led to improvements in medications and in technology. The development of evidence-based practice guidelines has helped healthcare providers know what is effective both for the treatment and prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Some of the advances are complex and others are quite simple, though important.

We know that getting patients to the hospital quickly for the appropriate treatment is crucial to saving lives. We know that timely angioplasty to open blocked coronary arteries, or thrombolysis when primary angioplasty is not available or appropriate, is making a difference. The development of more hospitals into primary stroke centers and providing more rapid and better care for stroke victims have all made positive impacts, Jones said. Improving the quality of care through the dissemination of evidence-based clinical guidelines can help patients benefit from the research that we and others have supported, helping them live longer and reducing their risk of a second heart attack or stroke. The American Heart Associations Get With
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Contact: Cathy Lewis
cathy.lewis@heart.org
214-706-1324
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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