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Notice to Readers: American Heart Month --- February 2002

February is American Heart Month. During 2002, an estimated 1.1 million Americans will have a first or recurrent heart attack, and approximately 700,000 will die of heart disease. Among those who die, approximately 60% will die suddenly before they can reach a hospital. Recognizing and responding promptly to heart attack symptoms and receiving the appropriate artery opening treatment within 1 hour of symptom onset can prevent or limit heart damage (1). Early defibrillation within 6 minutes is the best treatment for cardiac arrest.

The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, state and federal agencies, and many CDC cardiovascular programs are developing and implementing activities to increase public awareness about the symptoms and signs of a heart attack. For example, during February, the Missouri state health department will promote information about heart attack symptoms at sporting events; the National Heart Attack Alert Program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association are collaborating on a nationwide heart attack education campaign, "Act in Time to Heart Attack Signs," which promotes awareness of heart attack symptoms and the formulation between patient and physician of a heart attack survival plan that emphasizes the importance of calling 9-1-1 as soon as symptoms begin (1).

Additional information is available at the American Heart Association at, the American College of Cardiology at, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at Information about CDC's Cardiovascular Health Program and an interactive mapping of heart disease mortality at state and county levels are available at


  1. Ornato JP, Hand MM. Warning signs of a heart attack. Circulation 2001;104:1212--3.

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This page last reviewed 2/14/2002