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January 27, 1993

Two New Reports Help Put Nation's No. 1 Killer Disease Challenges Into Perspective for 1993

JAMA. 1993;269(4):449-450. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500040011004

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AMERICAN HEART Association officials have just issued their 1993 Facts and Statistics booklets about heart disease and stroke. But they clearly are looking beyond this year and perhaps beyond this decade.

Noting that people who may not appear to be at high risk "account for the vast majority of sudden death victims in absolute numbers, perhaps 80% of the deaths per year," these booklets set a goal of identifying such potential victims. If research can meet this challenge, it is predicted confidently, "it will be possible to devise broader strategies to prevent sudden cardiac arrest."

As it is, the association told science reporters at a Monterey, Calif, seminar last week: "About half of all deaths from heart disease are sudden and unexpected, regardless of the underlying disease. Thus, 50% of all deaths due to atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries are sudden, as are 50% of deaths due to degeneration of