Death due to heart disease not as widespread as previously thought

Death from heart disease may not be as widespread as previously thought. Researchers find hospitals in the U.S. tend to over-report death from heart disease, but a simple intervention can improve the quality of cause of death. Hospitals were able to reduce their reports of heart disease as the leading underlying cause of death from 69 percent before the intervention to 32 percent afterwards, according to Teeb Al-Samarrai, M.D., of the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health in San Jose, Calif., and colleagues, whose findings are published in CDC's Preventing Chronic Disease.

"As the population lives longer and multiple chronic medical conditions become more common, documenting which disease is the underlying cause of death will become more challenging," researchers wrote. "Therefore, using the current 1-cause-to-1-death model for cause-of-death coding might not be appropriate when describing mortality among persons ages 85 or older." Report

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