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Heart Attack Hospitalizations


What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. An acute myocardial infarction or heart attack happens when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is severely reduced or blocked. The loss of blood or oxygen causes damage to heart tissue.

Types of heart disease:

Ischemic heart disease also known as coronary artery disease, hardening of the arteries or coronary heart disease. Ischemic heart disease is damage or disease in the major blood vessels that supply the heart. Ischemic heart disease can lead to serious complications including heart attack, stroke, abnormal heat rhythm (arrhythmia) and heart failure.

Hypertensive heart disease includes a number of complications of high blood pressure that affect the heart. Since high blood pressure is a risk factor for atherosclerosis ischemic heart disease, death rates from hypertensive heart disease provide an incomplete measure of the burden of disease due to high blood pressure.

Inflammatory heart disease is inflammation of the heart muscle caused by known infectious agents, viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites, and by toxic materials from the environment, water, food, air, toxic gases, smoke, pollution or by unknown causes.

Who is at risk:

Nearly one million people in the United States experience a heart attack every year. In Oregon during 2015, heart attacks caused 1,047 deaths among people over the age of 35 and 6,318 hospitalizations in that age group. In the US, there are over 3 million new cases of coronary artery disease diagnosed annually.

Research has identified several factors that increase the risk of a heart attack. There are two types of risk factors: inherited and behavioral. Inherited (or genetic) risk factors are characteristics you are born with that cannot be changed, such as inherited hypertension, low HDL cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides and a family history of heart disease. However, inherited characteristics can be improved with medical management and lifestyle changes. Behavioral risk factors, such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and obesity, are due to behavior and habits that can be modified through lifestyle changes and appropriate medical care. There is also a relationship between air pollution and increased risk of heart attack and other forms of heart disease.

How to reduce risk:

  • To reduce your risk of heart disease:
  • If you smoke, quit
  • Be physically active
  • Maintain or aim for a healthy weight
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Manage stress
  • Avoid or reduce exposure to air pollutants

Learn more about reducing risk factors and prevention tips from American Heart Association and Oregon Health Authority.

About the measures:

Hospitalizations for heart attack among persons 35 years of age and older:

  • number of hospitalizations
  • age-specific crude rate per 100,000 population
  • age-adjusted rate per 100,000 population

Only hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of heart attack or acute myocardial infarction, are included in the calculation of these measures.

About the data:

Rates are calculated using U.S. Census Bureau annual population estimates; age adjustments are based on the age distribution of the U.S. standard population.

Rates consider population size and are more useful than number of hospitalizations for comparisons among geographic areas or time periods. Differences in rates by time or between counties may reflect differences or changes in diagnostic techniques and coding criteria used by hospitals. Differences in rates by area may be due to different socio-demographic characteristics and associated behaviors. When comparing rates across counties, it’s important to note a variety of non-environmental factors, such as access to medical care, personal behaviors such as tobacco use, health status and diet affect the likelihood of being hospitalized for a heart attack.

Multiple hospitalizations for the same individual at different times in the year may be included in the data because the measures are based on events rather than on individuals. Transfers from one hospital to another that occurred on the same day or the day following the admission have been removed from these data, as have duplicate records. Hospital admissions that occurred during the most recent year and were discharged in the subsequent year are not captured in the data. Thus, the number of hospitalizations in the most recent year may be understated, especially for December.

Records for persons living in Oregon may not be included if the hospitalization occurred out of state. Records for persons receiving care at home, in emergency rooms and in outpatient settings are not included in these data. Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Services and institutionalized (e.g. prison) population records are also not available in these data.

Related Indicators:


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