Study Finds Significant Decrease in Coronary Heart Disease in the U.S.

The incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the U.S. decreased nearly 20 percent from 1983 to 2011, according to a research letter published Nov. 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers pooled individual patient-level data from five observational cohort studies in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINNC). Two analytic data sets were created: early-era baseline data (collected from 1983 through 1990 and followed up from 1996 through 2001) and late-era baseline data (collected from 1996 through 2002 and followed up from 2007 through 2011). Each group of participants ranged in age from 40 to 79 and were free of cardiovascular disease. 14,009 pairs of participants were selected from each era set and matched on age, race and sex, and were followed for up to 12 years for new-onset CHD (heart attack, coronary death, angina, coronary insufficiency) using outcomes available in BioLINNC.

Results showed that the incidence of CHD declined almost 20 percent over the time period. The authors explain that although the occurrence of diabetes increased, the fraction of CHD attributable to diabetes declined over time, due to reduction of the link between diabetes and CHD. Lastly, they found no evidence that the strength of the association between smoking, systolic blood pressure or dyslipidemia and CHD changed between the two eras.

"This underscores the importance of continued prevention efforts targeting these risk factors," conclude Ann Marie Navar, MD, PhD, et al.

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