DefinitionNumber or rate of hospitalizations due to acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in a geographic area in a period of time (primary diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction, defined by ICD-9 codes 410.00-410.92 for January 2000 through September 2015, and ICD-10 codes I21 and I22 for the last quarter of 2015 and beyond)
NumeratorNumber of inpatient hospitalizations due to acute myocardial infarction occurring among residents aged 35 and older within a geographic area in a period of time
DenominatorFor rates, estimated population of a specified age within a specified geographic area using mid-year population estimates
Why Is This Important?A heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) occurs because of coronary heart disease, which is the narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. When the blood supply to part of the heart is interrupted or blocked, the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen. This can result in chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, palpitations, sweating and anxiety.
Risk factors for coronary heart disease include: high levels of low-density lipoprotein ("bad cholesterol") and triglycerides in the blood; high blood pressure; diabetes; a diet high in saturated fat; physical inactivity; obesity; and excessive alcohol use.
Recent research has shown that fine particulate matter air pollution can increase the risk of heart attacks.
How Are We Doing?According the the CDC, cardiovascular disease, listed as an underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 801,000 deaths in the US. That's about 1 of every 3 deaths in the US. Nationally, about 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 40 seconds. The American Heart Association reports the estimated annual incidence of heart attack in the US is 580,000 new attacks and 210,000 recurrent attacks. Average age at the first heart attack is 65.3 years for males and 71.8 years for females. From 2004 to 2020, the annual death rate attributable to coronary heart disease has steadily declined. Progress in reducing heart disease death rates may be attributed to changes in behaviors to reduce risk factors, improved medical management, and advances in medical treatment.
Inpatient hospitalization rates for heart attack do not reflect the total burden of illness due to heart disease, since some people die of a coronary event in an emergency department or without being hospitalized. However, since heart attack inpatient hospitalization has been associated with fine particulate matter air pollution, this has been selected as an indicator for Environmental Public Health Tracking.
In New Jersey, the age-adjusted hospitalization rate for acute myocardial infarction among adults 35 years and older has been slowly decreasing since 2002.