Environmental Public Health Tracking: Heart Attack Data

A heart attack is a brief and severe health event in which the heart doesn't get enough oxygen. This decrease in oxygen is caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle. A heart attack is also called myocardial infarction (MI).

Check out the FAQs below for more information about heart attacks and the data.

Access the heart attack data

 

 

 

 

 

Emergency sign outside a hospital

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What is a heart attack?

A heart attack is a brief and severe health event in which the heart does not get enough oxygen. This decrease in oxygen is caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle. A heart attack is also called myocardial infarction (MI).

Nearly one million people in the US have heart attacks every year.  Learn more about heart attack risk factors and prevention tips on the heart disease web page.

How are heart attacks related to the environment?

Exposure to small particles in the air, called particulate matter, is a risk factor for heart attacks. A number of studies reported associations between some air pollutants and hospitalizations for heart attacks.

How can tracking heart attacks improve public health?

The Tracking data allow public health professionals to monitor trends over time. These data may also help with program planning, policy, and evaluation efforts.

Tracking heart attack hospitalizations will help public health professionals identify:

  • Heart attack hospitalization changes over time.
  • Seasonal variations.
  • Geographic differences in hospitalizations.
  • Differences in heart attack hospitalizations by age, gender, and race/ethnicity.
  • Disparities in heart attack hospitalizations by factors such as age, race/ethnicity, and gender.
  • Populations in need of targeted interventions.

What is the data source?

Wisconsin Tracking provides data about heart attack hospital admissions and emergency department visits. The source of these data is the Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center, Inc.

Which measures does Tracking provide for heart attacks?

  • Annual number of hospitalizations, by age, gender, and geography
  • Monthly average, maximum, and minimum daily number of hospitalizations by age, gender, and geography
  • Annual unadjusted (crude) rate of hospitalizations for ages 35+, by gender and geography
  • Annual age-specific rates of hospitalizations for all ages, by gender and geography
  • Annual age-adjusted rate of hospitalizations for ages 35+, by gender and geography

What are some considerations for interpreting the data?

  • Because these data are based on hospital admissions, some people who experience symptoms are not included, such as those who do not receive medical care, those whose care does not result in hospitalization, and people who die in settings such as ambulances, nursing homes, or at home.
  • These data do not include hospitalizations among residents of Wisconsin who were treated in border states (such as Michigan, Iowa, and Illinois).
  • These data do not include inpatient admissions at hospitals owned by the federal government, such as Veterans Administration hospitals.
  • Data users should keep in mind that many factors contribute to a disease. These factors should be considered when interpreting the data.  Factors include:
    • Demographics (race, gender, age)
    • Socioeconomic status (income level, education)
    • Geography (rural, urban)
    • Changes in the medical field (diagnosis patterns, reporting requirements)
    • Individual behavior (diet, smoking)

Where can I learn more about heart attacks?

Last Revised: June 19, 2018