By | February 4, 2019

While February brings to mind flowers and candy for Valentine’s Day, healthcare professionals know there is a bigger focus. During American Heart Month, we shine the spotlight on heart health. The burdens and risk factors of heart disease remain alarmingly high.

Heart Disease By the Numbers

Heart Disease (including Coronary Heart Disease, Hypertension, and Stroke) remains to be the number 1 cause of death in the United States and poses a significant threat to millions of others, according to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update 2018.


  • Approximately every 40 seconds, an American will have a heart attack.
  • Someone in the US has a stroke about once every 40 seconds.
  • About 92.1 million American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke.


  • In the US, cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 801,000 deaths – that’s about 1 of every 3 deaths.
  • Globally, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, accounting for more than 17.3 million deaths per year in 2013, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030.


  • Estimated $316 billion direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, that includes both health expenditures and lost productivity.
  • Heart attacks ($11.5 billion) and Coronary Heart Disease ($10.4 billion) were 2 of the 10 most expensive hospital principal discharge diagnoses.

“Life’s Simple 7”

The American Heart Association (AHA) determines the cardiovascular health of a nation by looking at 7 key health factors and behaviors that may increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association hopes to measure and track these 7 key factors to achieve the 2020 Impact Goal: to improve cardiovascular health of Americans by 20 percent and reduce the number of deaths attributed to cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, by the year 2020.

The Life’s Simple 7 are:

  1. Smoking Cessation
  2. Physical Activity
  3. Healthy Diet
  4. Body Weight
  5. Cholesterol Control
  6. Blood Pressure
  7. Blood Sugar

Tools to Help Make a Difference

The good news is healthcare professionals now have more tools than ever to help make a difference in awareness, management, and treatment for heart health.

American Heart Association Logo

The American Heart Association provides resources for professionals to use directly as well as information that can be shared with patients for their own use. The AHA website for professionals provides the latest news and links to research, plus an extensive listing of resources by topic. The organization also offers sites such as My Life Check that can be recommended to your patients for their ongoing learning and management of their heart health.

Healthcare organizations must provide CPR and, in many cases, AED or other types of first aid training to meet regulatory requirements. This training equips employees with the critical skills needed to respond to and manage first aid emergencies such as choking, sudden cardiac arrest, and other serious or life-threatening events should they arise.

AHA is the world leader in CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) training and education. As a result, many healthcare providers rely on AHA Blended Learning and eLearning courses with complete assurance that their workforce is receiving the best possible training to save and improve the lives of the people they serve in case of emergencies.

Relias is pleased to work together with AHA to offer Blended Learning and eLearning courses directly through the Relias learning management system (LMS). This provides healthcare organizations a streamlined way to deliver and track AHA training alongside existing compliance training and continuing education.

Our library of AHA Training includes the following:

Courses for Healthcare Professionals

  • Blended Learning Courses
    • HeartCode® ACLS
    • HeartCode® BLS: CPR and AED Training
    • HeartCode® PALS

Courses for General Workforce

  • Blended Learning Courses
    • Heartsaver® CPR AED Online
    • Heartsaver® First Aid Online
    • Heartsaver® First Aid CPR AED Online
    • Heartsaver® Pediatric First Aid CPR AED Online

eLearning-Only Courses

  • Heartsaver® Bloodborne Pathogens

Relias also offers the new RQI 2020 program via the Relias LMS, as well as AHA Instructor Essential courses (PEARS, PALS, ACLS BLS, Heartsaver) for those who have been accepted by their local AHA Training Center.

If you have any questions about these AHA courses or the new RQI 2020 program offered through Relias, please visit our AHA & RQI 2020 Training page.

Rebecca Smallwood, RN, MBA

As a registered nurse for more than 27 years, Rebecca has experience across a wide spectrum of settings, including: rural and urban hospitals in medical/surgical, and ED clinical roles; school nursing; public health epidemiology; ambulatory surgery center; infection control; quality management; organizational development; and education in hospital, academic, and commercial organizations. She has authored a myriad of live and web-based courses on over 50 regulatory topics, patient safety, patient experience, and others. Her passion for education developed over the course of her career while helping patients, professionals, and organizations leverage learning to achieve their goals. Improving patient care by helping others gain new knowledge, skills, and attitudes is her mission and the driving force behind her work.

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