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Back To Vidyya American Heart Month

February 2001

February is American Heart Month. During the month, the CDC-funded New York State Department of Health cardiovascular health program and other organizations are sponsoring the Regional Cardiovascular Health Summit, which will focus on improving the quality of prevention activities in health-care systems. An estimated 12 million persons residing in the United States have coronary heart disease (CHD) (1), which includes myocardial infarction, angina pectoris (chest pain), or both. During 1998, approximately 460,000 persons died of CHD; 44% of these deaths were attributed to acute myocardial infarction. CHD can be prevented by reducing or controlling high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, by abstaining from smoking, adopting a healthy diet, and engaging in moderate physical activity and weight management. Many deaths and much disability also can be prevented by early recognition of heart attack symptoms, prompt response from and transportation to an emergency department, and timely, appropriate treatment (2).

Many of the 25 CDC-funded state programs work with their American Heart Association affiliate and state peer review organizations to promote health system policy changes related to improving risk-reduction counseling, appropriate treatment of patients with CHD, and other prevention measures. Information about CHD warning signs, risk factors, and treatments and scientific statements on health-care quality initiatives are available on the World-Wide Web from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute,, the Health Care Financing Administration,, and the American Heart Association,*. Information about CDC-supported state cardio-vascular health programs is available at 


  1. Cooper R, Cutler J, Desvigne-Nickens P, et al. Trends and disparities in coronary heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases in the United States. Circulation 2000;102:3137--47.
  2. National Heart Attack Alert Program Coordinating Committee. Educational strategies to prevent prehospital delay in patients at high risk for acute myocardial infarction. Bethesda, Maryland: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, September 1997 (National Institutes of Health publication no. 97-3787).

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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