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Heart Disease and Stroke Should Be Reportable Diseases

American Heart Association suggests annual, national reporting needed on progress in fight against cardiovascular disease

MONDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- If stroke and heart disease were to become reportable diseases, efforts to reduce incidence could be more accurately measured, according to a statement by the American Heart Association published Dec. 18 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"We believe that we know so much about how to prevent heart disease that, when it occurs, it represents a failure of the public health and medical systems that should be reported to the appropriate agency," David C. Goff, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston Salem, N.C., said in a statement. "We already have some information based on hospitalizations, but that can be hard to interpret. For example, if the data doesn't distinguish between first heart attacks and subsequent attacks, it can be misleading."

Goff and colleagues classified a number of overall and goal-specific recommendations according to their priority and capacity to cut costs.

A National Heart Disease and Stroke Surveillance unit is needed to publish information on prevention and management of the two conditions, a move that the authors afforded high priority. Compulsory reporting of a range of cardiovascular disease conditions was also given top priority although this was not as urgent a task as setting up national surveillance. Data collection also requires standardization, the statement said.

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