Cardiovascular Disease in Tennessee

What is cardiovascular disease?

A heart attack, or acute myocardial infarction, happens when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is severely reduced or stopped. The loss of blood or oxygen causes damage and potential death of heart tissue. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm of a coronary artery which also can prevent blood supply from reaching the heart.

According to the American Heart Association, about 785,000 Americans have an initial heart attack and another 470,000 have a recurrent heart attack each year.

Why is tracking cardiovascular disease important?

The United States does not have a single surveillance system for either heart attacks or general coronary heart disease. Death is the most common descriptor for national data. Tracking heart attacks will help to examine trends in hospital admissions; identify seasonal patterns; evaluate heart attacks by age, gender, and race/ethnicity; and identify populations in need of targeted interventions.