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American Heart Association Surgical Supplement Journal Report: Appropriate Hospital Discharge System Can Prevent Future Cardiac Events
Date:9/10/2007

DALLAS, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Improving how healthcare providers follow proven protocols could reduce the risks of subsequent heart problems for heart disease patients, according to a study reported in a cardiovascular surgery supplement of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

A study of the American Heart Association's Get With The GuidelinesSM (GWTG) database found significant differences in how hospitals carry out many of the association's secondary prevention recommendations.

Specifically, patients who received percutaneous catheter intervention (PCI) were more likely to get the proven measures that could significantly reduce their risks for later heart attack, as compared to patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) or no intervention at all.

"GWTG is an evidence-based, hospital quality improvement program that helps ensure patients receive quality care during treatment and discharge based on specific guidelines that will reduce the risk of secondary cardiac events," said Loren F. Hiratzka, M.D., lead author of the study and co-author of the 2006 GWTG update. "The program empowers providers to consistently treat heart and stroke patients according to the most up-to-date guidelines."

Hiratzka said a key part of GWTG is the education healthcare providers give when a patient is discharged from the hospital after a heart attack or other cardiac event. The guidelines call for patients to receive specific instructions, counseling and medication recommendations -- all of which can reduce the progression of atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries that can contribute to heart disease. Most hospitals that implement GWTG realize measurable results, including improved patient outcomes.

"The scientific evidence shows us that, when used appropriately and consistently, these performance measures can save lives," Hiratzka said. "The challenge is to ensure that hospitals are p
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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