Each year, the American Heart Association, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies, brings together the most up-to-date statistics on heart disease, stroke, other vascular diseases, and their risk factors and presents them in its Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update. The Statistical Update is a valuable resource for researchers, clinicians, healthcare policy makers, media professionals, the lay public, and many others who seek the best national data available on disease morbidity and mortality and the risks, quality of care, medical procedures and operations, and costs associated with the management of these diseases in a single document. Indeed, since 2000, the Statistical Update has been cited more than 6500 times in the literature (including citations of all annual versions). In 2008 alone, the various Statistical Updates were cited approximately 1300 times (data from ISI Web of Science). In recent years, the Statistical Update has undergone some major changes with the addition of new chapters and major updates across multiple areas. For this year's edition, the Statistics Committee, which produces the document for the American Heart Association, updated all of the current chapters with the most recent nationally representative data and inclusion of relevant papers from the literature over the past year. In future years, the Committee plans for the Statistical Update to be a major source for monitoring both cardiovascular health and disease in the population, with a focus on progress toward achievement of the American Heart Association's 2020 Impact Goals. In addition, future Statistical Updates will begin to incorporate the vast amounts of data becoming available from large population-based efforts to study the genetics of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Below are a few highlights from this year's Update. © 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.