Article Content

For many generations the emphasis was on the acute care experience of heart attacks and strokes. However, modern healthcare delivery places the home care nurse at the center of the health promotion, disease prevention, and health restoration activities related to America's cardiovascular needs.


The following Web sites offer information and support resources for professional nurses as well as consumers.


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)


This site, developed and maintained by the NHLBI, offers separate health information options for both consumers (e.g., health promotion information) and health professionals (e.g., technical reports, research findings). It provides a wealth of down-loadable NHLBI publications, online clinical management guidelines, and access to the latest news related to cardiovascular and other health-related concerns. The site is current, well maintained, and easy to navigate.


The American Heart Association (AHA)


One of the largest private health-related organizations in the world, the AHA site can be viewed as a one-stop shop for information related to cardiovascular health and disease.


There is an extensive online article database with both consumer-focused and professional-focused information (, and many diet/nutrition and exercise guidelines and resources, health assessment and symptom identification materials, and numerous scientific abstracts including a few downloadable PowerPoint (Microsoft, Redwood, WA) slide-sets.


Included at the site is a thorough write-up concerning the "Ornish Treatment." Although Dr. Dean Ornish's cardiovascular intervention program is severe by American standards, everyone with heart or vascular disease should at least be familiar with this unique perspective.


The Johns Hopkins University "Johns Hopkins Heart Health at Bayview"


This small site, from a Johns Hopkins University outreach program, is focused on cardiac rehabilitation and provides basic step-by-step information for a patient's perspective as well as clinical practice guidelines and research reports for the professional.


Patient material, written without technical jargon and in a brief format, includes information on everything from cardiac catheterization to easy ways to reduce dietary fat intake.


The Mayo Clinic


As always, this site remains a reliable Internet resource for health-related information. "" ( provides access to easy-to-understand information on health and medical topics, all of which have been reviewed for accuracy by Clinic experts.


"Diseases & Conditions A-Z" ( provides data about signs and symptoms, causes, risk factors, when to seek medical advice, screening and diagnosis, complications, treatments, prevention, self-care, coping strategies, and complementary and alternative medicine.


Because of the formidable amount of information available, great care should be taken in choosing the search words.




Diseases of the heart and vascular system remain the leading causes of both morbidity and mortality in the United States with 61.7 million individuals having one or more types of cardiovascular disease (American Health Association [AHA], 2001).




One million deaths or 40.1% of all deaths were attributed to cardiovascular disease in 1999 (AHA, 2001).




According to the 1996 Home and Hospice Care Survey, the circulatory system accounted for 25.1% of all admissions and 21.8% of all discharges during 1995-1996 (Haupt, 1998).




1. American Heart Association (AHA). (2001). 2002 heart and stroke statistical update. Retrieved March 14, 2002 from[Context Link]


2. Haupt, B. J. (1998). An overview of home health and hospice care: 1996 National Home and Hospice Care Survey. Advance Data from vital and health statistics, 297, Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 1998. [Context Link]