The 2013 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update and the Need for a National Cardiovascular Surveillance System
The annual Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update - 2013 published by the American Heart Association in this issue of Circulation1 and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, "A National Framework for Surveillance of Cardiovascular and Chronic Lung Diseases" published last year2 attest to the importance and value of timely, high quality, population-based data on the incidence of heart disease and stroke and their risk factors. The Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update is the authoritative source of annual estimates of incidence, prevalence and risk factor distribution in the country. It is carefully crafted from a wide variety of separate federally and privately funded studies of various designs, reach and sample size. In its breath, quality and style it represents a national treasure of the best available information on the burden of heart disease and stroke events and risk factors that is a highly valued resource in the medical and public health communities. Indeed the Statistical Update is cited nearly 2,000 times each year in the scientific literature. However, even this compilation of the best data available does not have national representative or timely data on heart disease and stroke incidence at its disposal. It is our best guess at questions for which we should not be guessing. More comprehensive monitoring of the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which cause more death and disability than any other medical conditions, is important to the physical and economic health of the country. The IOM report is clear in its overall message and resolute in its vision; we need to strengthen our ability to monitor the cardiovascular health of the country and create a national system to capture information on heart disease and stroke. The Update appearing in this issue is our best effort toward that goal, but more can and should be done to measure the cardiovascular health of the nation.
- Received November 29, 2012.
- Accepted November 29, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012, American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited