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Health Index Priority: Decrease Cardiovascular Deaths

MaineHealth remains focused on managing risk factors to prevent heart disease and on maximizing the quality of care for patients who have heart disease.

Why does MaineHealth focus on decreasing cardiovascular deaths?

  • One in three deaths in the United States is due to cardiovascular disease.
  • In the last decade, over 25,000 people in the MaineHealth Service area have died from cardiovascular disease.
  • Although deaths from cardiovascular disease have been steadily decreasing over time in the MaineHealth service area, a recent uptick is cause for concern.
  • One in every six health care dollars is spent on cardiovascular disease.

Taking Action

We support a variety of clinical, community and policy actions to help decrease cardiovascular deaths throughout the MaineHealth service area. Here are some of the ways that MaineHealth and our partners are responding:

Tracking Progress

The Health Index Initiative tracks and monitors a variety of data sources to measure progress being made to decrease cardiovascular deaths. In 2016, MaineHealth leaders set bold, aggressive targets for two of these measures as a way to challenge MaineHealth organizations to continue achieving positive steps toward the MaineHealth vision:

Short-term cardiovascular measure and target:

  • Among the 18- to 85-year old patients diagnosed with hypertension who receive care at a primary care practice in the MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization, greater than or equal to 72% will have blood pressure under control (<140/90mmHg) at their most recent office visit on or before September 30, 2018.    

Long-term cardiovascular measure and target:

  • In 2018-2020, the age-adjusted rate of deaths due to any cardiovascular condition will be less than or equal to155 per 100,000 people living in the 12-county MaineHealth service area.

hypertension rates among adults

Physician practices within the MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization (MaineHealth ACO) are focused on reducing cardiovascular disease and death by managing the high blood pressure of their patients.

Among the nearly 50,000 patients diagnosed with hypertension, the percentage whose blood pressure was under control (<140/90 mmHg) increased from 66% in January 2014 to 75% by the end of 2018, surpassing the target goal of 72%. The target was increased in 2019 to 75% and, once again, practices surpassed the target goal.

Learn more

cardio deaths by type

The rates of all cardiovascular deaths in Maine and within the MaineHealth service area have consistently been below the national rate. For decades, age-adjusted rates for deaths due to cardiovascular disease have steadily decreased across the U.S. However, this long-running decline in mortality has recently plateaued.

The United States age-adjusted rate significantly decreased from 219 per 100,000 lives in 2015-2017 to 217 in 2018-2020, and the three year rate in the MaineHealth service area decreased even more between 2015-2017 and 2018-2020.

CardiobytypeMHSA122018Death from all types of cardiovascular disease including heart disease, stroke, heart attack and heart failure have been steadily decreasing over the last several decades. In the case of heart attack, the age adjusted rate per 100,000 is less than half of what it was less than 20 years ago. The recent leveling of cardiovascular death rates, while not yet a trend, is of concern.

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