Trends in Cardiovascular Disease Morbidity and Mortality in American Indians Over 25 Years: The Strong Heart Study

Clemma J. Muller, Carolyn J. Noonan, Richard F. MacLehose, Julie A. Stoner, Elisa T. Lee, Lyle G. Best, Darren Calhoun, Stacey E. Jolly, Richard B. Devereux, Barbara V. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: American Indians experience high rates of cardiovascular disease. We evaluated whether cardiovascular disease incidence, mortality, and prevalence changed over 25 years among American Indians aged 30 to 85. Methods and Results: The SHS (Strong Heart Study) and SHFS (Strong Heart Family Study) are prospective studies of cardiovascular disease in American Indians. Participants enrolled in 1989 to 1990 or 2000 to 2003 with birth years from 1915 to 1984 were followed for cardiovascular disease events through 2013. We used Poisson regression to analyze data for 5627 individuals aged 30 to 85 years during follow-up. Outcomes reflect change in age-specific cardiovascular disease incidence, mortality, and prevalence, stratified by sex. To illustrate generational change, 5-year relative risk compared most recent birth years for ages 45, 55, 65, and 75 to same-aged counterparts born 1 generation (23–25 years) earlier. At all ages, cardiovascular disease incidence was lower for people with more recent birth years. Cardiovascular disease mortality declined consistently among men, while prevalence declined among women. Generational comparisons were similar for women aged 45 to 75 (relative risk, 0.39–0.46), but among men magnitudes strengthened from age 45 to 75 (relative risk, 0.91–0.39). For cardiovascular disease mortality, risk was lower in the most recent versus the earliest birth years for women (relative risk, 0.56–0.83) and men (relative risk, 0.40–0.54), but results for women were inconclusive. Conclusions: Cardiovascular disease incidence declined over a generation in an American Indian cohort. Mortality declined more for men, while prevalence declined more for women. These trends might reflect more improvement in case survival among men compared with women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere012289
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 5 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley.


  • cardiovascular disease
  • epidemiology
  • race


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