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American Heart Association Quality News: Commitment to Quality Results in Lower Mortality Rates for Heart Attack and Heart Failure Patients
Date:10/6/2009

ls of performance of quality measures at top GWTG hospitals explains 28 percent of the difference between award and non-award hospitals for heart failure mortality and 43 percent for heart attack mortality, Heidenreich said.

Heart failure mortality for hospitals receiving awards was 11 percent vs. 11.2 percent for all hospitals. For heart attack, or acute myocardial infarction, the mortality at GWTG award-winning hospitals was 16.1 percent vs. 16.5 percent at hospitals without GWTG recognition.

"To put this into perspective, even though those appear to be small overall differences in survival, the percentages would lead to an additional 1,800 to 3,500 patients alive at 30 days if all hospitals could achieve the quality of the award-winning hospitals," Heidenreich said.

Furthermore, the study substantiates that GWTG hospitals outperform non-GWTG hospitals, according to Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., president of the American Heart Association and medical director at Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

"In those facilities that have a strong approach to quality -- to the extent that they have received recognition for that commitment based on a fairly rigorous standard -- even seemingly slight improvements can translate to thousands of saved lives," Yancy said.

In future studies, researchers should look at specific parts of the Get With The Guidelines program to determine which of the performance measures are most associated with outcomes, Heidenreich said.

Coauthors of the study are: William R. Lewis, M.D.; Kenneth A. LaBresh, M.D.; Lee H. Schwamm, M.D.; and Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

For more information on the American Heart Association's Get With the Guidelines program, the criteria for GWTG recognition awards and a listing of hospitals that have achieved performance recognition, visit

SOURCE American Heart Association
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