State Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program Addresses Heart Attack Prevention

Heart Attack Facts

  • About 750,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year in the United States, including an estimated 550,000 who will have a first heart attack and 200,000 who will have a recurring heart attack.1
  • On average, someone in the United States suffers a heart attack every 42 seconds.1
  • About 4 of 10 people who have a heart attack will die from one. Of serious concern is that about two thirds of the people who die when their heart suddenly stops working have no previous symptoms of this disease.1
  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the primary cause of premature, permanent disability among the U.S. workforce. The estimated average number of years of life lost due to a heart attack is 14.2 years.1
  • The total cost of heart disease in 2011-2012 was $207.3 billion.1
  • Risk factors that can be modified or controlled include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol intake.

State Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Programs Take Action

Examples of activities to implement in health care, work sites, communities, and schools include the following:

  • Promoting health care that improves care by adhering to guidelines for preventing primary and secondary heart attack (e.g., physician reminder systems). Potential Partners: primary care associations, federally-qualified health centers, managed care organizations, and Medicare Quality Improvement Organization.
  • Partnering with American Heart Association affiliates and state organizations to promote policy changes for improving risk-reduction counseling and other prevention measures, and provide appropriate treatment to patients with CHD. Increase quality care access in federally funded community health centers and eliminate CHD disparities among priority populations with higher rates of disease. Potential Partners: primary care associations, federally–qualified health centers, managed care organizations, and Medicare Quality Improvement Organization.
  • Promoting policies for treating heart attack as an acute emergency; provide immediate diagnostic evaluation and treatment. Potential Partners: hospitals, medical associations, and American Heart Association (AHA) affiliate.
  • Providing education, training, and public awareness by educating the public about heart attack symptoms and the importance of seeking prompt emergency assistance to reduce heart attack death and disability. Potential Partners: hospitals, AHA affiliate, local media, Red Cross, medical, nursing, and faith associations, priority population organizations, PTA, and department of education school health programs.
  • Strengthening prevention through increased awareness and education about risk factor and lifestyle changes; such as, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking through policy and environmental changes. Assure detection and follow–up services for control of high blood pressure and cholesterol in the work site and community. Reinforce the Coordinated School Health Program. Potential Partners: AHA affiliate, business, industry and human resource management, employee associations, unions, PTA, Department of Education School Health Programs, fire departments, faith organizations, local minority nursing association, and local health departments.
  • Advocating for health care coverage that includes primary and secondary prevention services and rehabilitation services for heart attack survivors. Potential Partners: AHA affiliate, business, industry and human resource management, employee associations, unions, third party payers, health care providers, local policymakers.

Examples of State Programs in Action

Florida has a statewide network of trained regional coordinators that promote provider adherence to clinical guidelines for heart attack.

Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Montana, New York, North Carolina, and Wisconsin are addressing continuous quality of care in hospitals for preventing new and recurrent heart attacks. They have trained hospital staff on the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association's (ASA) Get With the GuidelinesSM program.

Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah promote health system supports, such as reminders of care, use of clinical performance measures, and use of case management services to increase adherence to recommended heart attack treatment guidelines.

Maine has 55 hospitals participating in nurse case management interventions for patients who have had heart attacks.

Nebraska partners with its Office of Women's Health on a signs and symptoms of heart attack campaign.

The Montana and West Virginia state programs have partnered with the states' Quality Improvement Organizations, the American College of Cardiology (ACC), physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators to implement quality of care improvement projects and increase adherence to the ACC/AHA practice guidelines for heart attack patients.

Arkansas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Utah, and Ohio partner with Community Health Centers to improve the quality of care for patients with heart disease, heart attack, and stroke being served by the centers.

Wisconsin and its Women's Center for Cardiovascular Research produced the documentary video, "A Silent Threat: African American Women and Heart Disease" which features women who have suffered strokes or heart attacks and offers prevention strategies.

Connecticut partners with its Office of Emergency Medical Services, to train the state's Emergency Medical Services providers on stroke and heart attack treatment guidelines. The program partners with the Greater Hartford Health Ministry to educate African Americans about the signs of stroke and heart attack.


  1. Mozzafarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. on behalf of the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2016 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016;133:e38-e360.