July 9, 2021

Cardiovascular disease research

Our research scientists have used our rich, longitudinal data to advance knowledge about cardiovascular disease and improve practice and patient outcomes.

This brief summarizes the contributions of Kaiser Permanente Research since 2007 on the topic of cardiovascular disease. Although CVD encompasses a wide array of health conditions, this brief will focus primarily on research related to stroke, coronary heart disease, and heart failure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is responsible for more than 600,000 deaths in the United States each year.1 Though mostly preventable, it is the leading cause of death in both men and women, and across nearly all racial and ethnic groups.1 Coronary heart disease, or the accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque within the arterial vessels of the heart, is the most common form of heart disease and is associated with 370,000 deaths each year.1 An estimated 6.2 million Americans also suffer from heart failure, or the heart’s inability to pump sufficient blood and oxygen to the body’s organ systems.2 Heart failure is considered a contributing cause in approximately 1 in 9 deaths and up to half of patients with heart failure may die within 5 years of diagnosis.2 Stroke, or a disruption in the blood supply to the brain caused by a burst or blocked blood vessel, occurs in nearly 800,000 Americans each year.3 Stroke kills approximately 140,000 Americans annually,4 and is a leading cause of significant long-term disability, with consequences that often require long-term skilled nursing care.3


Publications related to cardiovascular disease since 2007

1,675 journal entries, 88,600 citations(a), 610 practice guideline references(b), 266 clinical decision aid references(c)

Source: Kaiser Permanente Publications Library and PLUM metrics, as of December 30, 2020..

a. Number of citing journal articles, according to Scopus.
b. Number of references in PubMed guidelines.
c. Citations in DynaMed Plus, a point-of-care clinical reference tool.

Cardiovascular disease is an active area of study for Kaiser Permanente Research. Scientists across the organization have used our rich, comprehensive, longitudinal data to advance knowledge in the areas of understanding risk, improving patient outcomes, and translating research findings into policy and practice. We have published nearly 1,700 articles related to CVD since 2007. Together, these articles have been cited nearly 89,000 times. These articles are the product of observational studies, randomized controlled trials, This brief summarizes a selection of the publications contained within the Kaiser Permanente Publications Library, which indexes journal articles and other publications authored by individuals affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. The work described in this brief originated from across Kaiser Permanente’s 8 regions and was supported by a wide range of funding sources including internal research support as well as both governmental and nongovernmental extramural funding. meta-analyses, and other studies led by Kaiser Permanente scientists. Our unique environment — a fully integrated care and coverage model in which our research scientists, clinicians, medical groups, and health plan leaders collaborate — enables us to contribute important knowledge about CVD, and many other topics of research.



  1. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2013, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. 2015. Accessed February 3, 2015.
  2. Virani SS, Alonso A, Aparicio HJ, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2021 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2021;143(8):e254-e743.
  3. Benjamin EJ, Blaha MJ, Chiuve SE, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2017 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017;135(10):e146-e603.
  4. 3. Yang Q, Tong X, Schieb L, et al. Vital Signs: Recent Trends in Stroke Death Rates - United States, 2000-2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.. 2017;66(35):933-939.