Cardiovascular Disease Deaths



Why do we measure cardiovascular disease deaths?

Heart or cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., but the vast majority of cases (80%) can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices.(1) Cardiovascular disease, which affects the heart and the blood vessels, can lead to heart attacks, strokes, heart arrhythmias, heart failure, and heart valve problems.(2) Health conditions — like obesity, high blood pressure, high stress, and diabetes — and drivers of these conditions –  such as smoking, physical inactivity, and poor diet – are all associated with cardiovascular disease.(2) Race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic region also put people at risk of cardiovascular disease. Black or Hispanic individuals, people with low incomes, or people living in the southeastern U.S. are all at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.(3)

How do we measure cardiovascular disease deaths?

This metric includes residents who have died due to cardiovascular disease.

Strengths of Metric

Limitations of Metric 

In highlighting the number of deaths, this metric can be a sign that medical and lifestyle interventions have not adequately addressed disease risk.

This metric only captures cardiovascular disease deaths, not the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. 

It may be easier to take action on indicators that reflect risk factors for cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure and diabetes. 

This number can be overestimated because of misclassification of cardiovascular disease on death certificates.(4)


Cardiovascular disease deaths are calculated by the following formula:

Cardiovascular disease deaths formula

This metric is age-adjusted and incorporates population weights. This metric was calculated by aggregating estimates from smaller geographies to the congressional district level. For more information, please refer to the Congressional District Health Dashboard Technical Document.

Data Source

Estimates for this metric are from Multiple Cause of Death Data from National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics. 

Users of these data are asked to acknowledge NCHS and the vital statistics jurisdictions as the data source in published reports and studies for which the files were used. NCHS and the vital statistics jurisdictions should also be cited in reports, articles, and news releases in electronic and print media describing the studies or results of the studies. The following is the recommended citation:

National Center for Health Statistics. [Name of data file(s)] ([year(s]), as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program.

Cardiovascular disease deaths are identified by the International Disease Classification code (version 10) that classifies underlying causes of death. This metric uses the I10, I64,I110, I119, I120, I129, I130-32,I139, I150, I159, I201, I209, I210-14, I219, I220, I229, I241, I248-49, I250-51, I253-55, I258-59, I500-01, I509, I600, I602, I604-09, I610-19, I620-21, I629, I630-36, I638, I639, I670-79, I690-94, & I698 codes. 

Years of Collection

For total population, calculated by the Dashboard Team using data from 2020, 1 year estimate

For all specific demogroups, including racial/ethnic subgroups and gender subgroups, calculated by the Dashboard Team using data from 2020, 3 year estimate


  1. Writing Group M, Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2016 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016;133(4):e38-360.

  2. Mayo Clinic. Heart disease - Symptoms and causes. 2018; Accessed January 16, 2018.

  3. Mensah GA, Mokdad AH, Ford ES, Greenlund KJ, Croft JB. State of disparities in cardiovascular health in the United States. Circulation. 2005;111(10):1233-1241.

  4. Pagidipati NJ, Gaziano TA. Estimating deaths from cardiovascular disease: a review of global methodologies of mortality measurement. Circulation. 2013;127(6):749-756.

Last updated: February 20, 2024