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Codes and Frequencies

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EKGYRS reports the amount of time since the last electrocardiogram. Interviewers asked, "About how long has it been since [you/person] had an electrocardiogram, or EKG, which involves placing wires on the chest and arms?"

According to the 1973 and 1982 Field Representative's Manuals, this question was part of a survey section dealing with the use of preventive care services. For the preventive care supplement, in both 1973 and 1982, interviewers were directed to interview persons directly rather than relying on proxy reporting; see CXRAYRS for more information.

Other variables in the 1973 and 1982 surveys that report time since specific types of preventive care include: CXRAYRS (for chest x-ray), GLAUCTESTYRS (for glaucoma test), and EYEXAMYRS (for vision test).

For 1973, responses to the question on years since last EKG were topcoded at 10+ years in the NHIS public use files created by the National Center for Health Statistics. Single year responses up to 40 years for years since last EKG are available for 1982, in EKGYREX.


While the question wording and universe for EKGYRS were identical for 1973 and 1982, there were differences in how responses to this question were collected and recorded.


The 1973 Manual provided the following instruction to interviewers on how to record answers to the question for EKGYRS:

Mark the 'Never' or 'Less than 1 year' box or enter the number of years on the line provided. Ignore fractions of years--enter the number of full years only. For example, if a respondent says that it has been about 18 months or 1 1/2 years since he had an electrocardiogram, the correct entry would be 1; for 2-3/4, the correct answer would be 2.

By contrast, the 1982 Manual encouraged interviewers to press for exact responses and record fractions of years, as follows:

For questions which require an entry for the length of time since the person last had the procedure done, mark the appropriate box or enter the number of years on the line provided. Enter fractions of years, as appropriate. If you receive an answer of "About 1 year," probe to determine a more specific number and enter that response. If the respondent is unable to provide a specific number, enter the original response. Also probe if a range (e.g., "3-5 years") is given. Record the range only if the respondent cannot provide a more exact response.


  • 1973; 1982: Persons age 40+.


  • 1973, 1982