Heart Facts and Figures

Nearly 2,300 Americans die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) each day, an average of one death every 36 seconds. CVD claims more lives each year than cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and accidents combined. Heart attack and its cause, coronary heart disease, is the single largest killer of American men and women. But there are steps to take that will help bring the number of these deaths down. Begin by learning the facts.


Learn the warning signs

You can save a life by seeking immediate medical treatment before the heart muscle is permanently damaged. People who are treated within the first hour of exhibiting symptoms have an 80 percent chance of preventing muscle damage.

It's important to understand that most individuals do not initially demonstrate the classic warning signs, such as chest pain. Pay attention to more subtle signs, such as indigestion, nausea, or shortness of breath. Seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. Note the time your symptom(s) started. You'll be asked this later. Advances in heart attack treatment have led to reduction in the damage to the heart muscle, but only if treatment is started in the first few hours after symptoms begin.

Seek Help in an Emergency

Cardiac arrest strikes immediately and without warning.
Here are the signs:

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness (no response to tapping on the shoulders).
  • No normal breathing(the victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the chin up and check breathing for at least five seconds).

CALL 911. Do not drive, and do not ask someone else to drive you to the emergency room.

Facts to remember

  1. Denial or fear can delay treatment.
  2. If an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it immediately. New technology has made AED's simple and user friendly. Clear audio and visual cues tell users what to do when using and AED and coach people through CPR. A shock is delivered only if the victim needs it. AEDs are now widely available in public place such as schools, airports, and workplaces.
  3. Seek help immediately by calling 911 and requesting an ambulance (or tell someone else to call while you initiate use of the AED or begin CPR.)
  4. Emergency medical technicians are prepared to handle escalating symptoms.
  5. Effective  bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim's chance of survival.
  6. The most effective rate for chest compressions is 100 compressions per minute - - the same rhythm as the beat of the Bee Gee's song "Stayin Alive."
  7. Studies have shown that children as young as 9 years old can learn ad retain CPR skills.


The American Heart Association states that 50,000 lives could be saved each year if cardiac emergencies were treated with greater urgency. The rate of survival decreases by as much as 10 percent with every minute that passes before a victims heart is shocked back into rhythm. As a result, less than 8 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survive.

Signals of a Heart Attack

Your body likely will have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck , jaw, back or arms.
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.

Less Common Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

  • Atypical chest pain, stomach or abdominal pain.
  • Nausea or dizziness (without chest pain.)
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing (without chest pain.)
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
  • Palpitations (irregular heart beat), cold sweat or paleness.

Not all of these signs occur in every attack. Sometimes they'll come and go. Should they occur, get help immediately. If you notice one or more of these signs in another person, don't wait.

Call 911 as soon as possible!


Everyone can be a Heart Hero. Your friends and family may rely on your best judgement to save their lives.

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For the second time since 2011, Genesis Medical Center, Davenport has been named one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics based on outstanding outcomes and efficiency. Read more about this recent honor.

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