New CDC Reports Spotlight Staggering Number of CV Deaths and Hospitalizations

Myocardial infarction, strokes, heart failure and other largely preventable conditions caused 2.2 million hospitalizations in 2016, resulting in $32.7 billion in costs, and 415,000 deaths occurred, according to a Vital Signs report released Sept. 6 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Using data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project databases and the National Vital Statistics System, the report found that hospitalization and death rates were highest among men, non-Hispanic blacks and increased with age.

Further, state-level variation occurred in rates of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and death. The researchers predict that without preventative interventions, "approximately 16.3 million events and $173.7 billion in hospitalization costs could occur during 2017–2021."

A second Vital Signs report used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and the National Health Interview Survey to look at the prevalence of key cardiovascular disease risk factors. Researchers found that:

  • 9 million adults are not taking aspirin as recommended
  • 40 million adults have uncontrolled hypertension
  • 39 million adults are not managing their cardiovascular disease risk through recommended statin use
  • 54 million adults are smokers, and could benefit from cessation interventions
  • 71 million adults are not physically active

According to Janet S. Wright, MD, FACC, executive director of Million Hearts, a national initiative co-led by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2022, "Small changes – the right changes, sustained over time – can produce huge improvements in cardiovascular health."

Specifically, the reports explain that health care professionals and systems can: 1) focus on the ABCS of heart health: Aspirin use when appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation; 2) take a team approach by using technology, standard processes, and the skills of everyone in the health care system to find and treat those at risk for myocardial infarction and stroke; 3) make sure people who have had a myocardial infarction or stroke get the care they need to recover well and reduce their risk of another event; and 4) promote physical activity and healthy eating among patients and employees.

In a related viewpoint also published Sept. 6 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Wright et al., explain that Million Hearts was launched in 2012 with an aim to improve key cardiovascular disease risk factors. They further explain that Million Hearts 2022 began in 2017 with "new and refreshed partnerships and a strengthened framework," and that the two reports "highlight the challenges and opportunities to improve the nation's cardiovascular health."


This article contains educational materials intended for licensed health care professionals and is intended to be used solely for educational and informational purposes. While the content may be about specific medical and health care issues, it is not a substitute for or replacement of personalized medical advice and is not intended to be used as the sole basis for making individualized medical or health-related decisions. The views and opinions expressed are those of the contributing authors and editors and do not necessarily represent the views of the ACC. The material is not intended to present the only, or necessarily best, methods or procedures for the medical situations addressed, but rather is intended to represent an approach, view, statement or opinion.

Clinical Topics: Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Dyslipidemia, Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Prevention, Lipid Metabolism, Nonstatins, Novel Agents, Statins, Acute Heart Failure, Diet, Exercise, Hypertension, Smoking

Keywords: Aspirin, Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors, Blood Pressure, Nutrition Surveys, Prevalence, Smoking Cessation, Diet, Risk Factors, Smoking, Medicaid, Myocardial Infarction, Hypertension, Stroke, Heart Failure, Cholesterol, Hospitalization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), Emergency Service, Hospital, Exercise, Health Care Costs, Medicare, Health Services Research


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