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Circulation. 1989 Apr;79(4):756-65.

Sudden coronary death in the United States: 1980-1985.

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  • 1Office of Analysis and Epidemiology, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782.


To describe patterns of an indicator of sudden coronary death, data from the National Center for Health Statistics were examined for deaths occurring out of hospital and in the emergency room (OH/ER) from 1980 to 1985 in 40 states. In 1985, 56% of ischemic heart disease deaths occurred OH/ER among persons aged 35-74 years. The percentage occurring OH/ER declined with age, was higher in men than women, and higher in blacks than whites. At age 55-64, 61% of ischemic heart disease deaths in white and 66% in black men occurred OH/ER. Between 1980 and 1985, age-adjusted death rates in white men aged 35-74 years declined 19% for OH/ER and 18% for in-hospital ischemic heart disease deaths. The percentage of deaths in ER increased. The decline in deaths occurring OH/ER accounted for 61% of the total absolute decline in ischemic heart disease death rate in white men, 55% in white women, and about 70% in nonwhites. The decline in rates of death OH/ER should encourage further efforts at preventing coronary heart disease and improving emergency medical services.

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