Codes and Frequencies
HEARTATTEV indicates whether sample adults were ever told by a doctor or other health professional that they had "a heart attack (also called myocardial infarction)."
Heart attack was not defined in the survey documentation. The Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia defines heart attack as follows: "A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when an area of heart muscle dies or is permanently damaged because of an inadequate supply of oxygen to that area."
In the 2002 and 2007 surveys, sample adults ever diagnosed with heart attack were asked if they had a heart attack during the past twelve months (HEARTATYR). In the 1999 survey, sample adults who were ever told by a doctor or other health professional that they had a heart attack were asked their age when first diagnosed with a heart attack (HEARTATAGE).
Heart attacks are generally associated with coronary heart disease. In 1997 forward, sample adults were asked whether they were ever told by a doctor or other health professional that they had coronary heart disease (CHEARTDIEV). Sample adults were also consistently asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with angina pectoris (ANGIPECEV) or any other heart condition or heart disease (other than heart attack, angina pectoris, and coronary heart disease) (HEARTCONEV). In 2002 and 2007, follow-up questions for those giving affirmative answers covered whether sample adults had angina pectoris (ANGIPECYR), coronary heart disease (CHEARTDIYR), or any other heart condition or heart disease (HEARTCONYR) during the past 12 months.
In 1999 and 2002, the survey collected information on whether sample adults were ever diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CONHFAILEV) and, in 2002, about whether they had congestive heart failure during the past 12 months (CONHFAILYR).
The 1977 survey included a single, broad question covering all types of heart disease or heart trouble. Specifically, persons age 20 and older were asked, "During the past 12 months, did you have heart disease or heart trouble?" (HEARTDISYR).
For sample children, from 1997 forward, information was collected on whether the child was ever diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CONGHARTEV) or with some other (non-congenital) heart condition (NONCONHARTEV).
Changes in universe limit the comparability of this variable in 1976 and 1984
to other years. In 1976, this question was asked of all persons. In 1984, this question was asked of sample persons ages 55 and older.
In all other years, this question was asked of sample persons ages 18 and older.
Questionnaire design changes introduced in 2019 limit comparability with earlier years. The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.
- 1976: All persons.
- 1984: Sample persons age 55+
- 1997-2018: Sample adults age 18+.
- 2019-2020: Sample adults age 18+.
- 1976, 1984, 1997-2020