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October 26, 1984

Cardiovascular Diseases

JAMA. 1984;252(16):2177-2180. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350160045015

Coronary heart disease is the major cause of death in industrialized societies. Annually, it is responsible for over 1 million myocardial infarctions and 500,000 deaths in the United States. It is estimated that, in the United States, the total expenditure for treatment and disability compensation from coronary heart disease is more than $60 billion a year.

Angina pectoris and myocardial infarction are the primary clinical manifestations of coronary heart disease. The clinical spectrum of angina pectoris was described by William Herberden in 1772, and the clinical findings of acute myocardial infarction were described by J. B. Herrick in 1912. Since then, considerable progress has occurred in improving the management and prognosis of coronary heart disease. In the past two years, monumental achievements have been made.

The introduction of the coronary care unit independently by Meltzer and Day was the first major change in the modern management of acute myocardial infarction.