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Geographic Variation in Heart Disease Mortality Over Time

From 1973-1974 to 2009-2010, shift in concentration of high-rate counties from Northeast to Deep South

united states map

THURSDAY, March 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- From 1973-1974 to 2009-2010 there were changes in the geographic patterns of heart disease mortality, according to a study published in the March 22 issue of Circulation.

Michele Casper, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined temporal changes in the geographic patterns of heart disease mortality. They calculated age-adjusted and spatially smoothed county-level heart disease death rates for two-year intervals from 1973-1974 to 2009-2010 for adults aged 35 years or older.

The researchers observed a considerable shift in the concentration of high-rate counties from the Northeast to the Deep South. In addition, there was a concentration of slow-decline counties in the South, while the fastest county declines were mainly in the north. The magnitude of geographic inequality among counties increased nearly two-fold during the study.

"The dramatic change in the geographic patterns of heart disease mortality during 40 years highlights the importance of small-area surveillance to reveal patterns that are hidden at the national level, gives communities the historical context for understanding their current burden of heart disease, and provides important clues for understanding the determinants of the geographic disparities in heart disease mortality," the authors write.

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