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News From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
Date:10/3/2007

DALLAS, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was issued today by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association:

Quality improvement database helps find healthcare gaps, offers solutions

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) quality improvement initiative can identify disparities in healthcare and help patients get the care they need, as evidenced by a new study published in the Oct. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. GWTG steering committee chair Gregg Fonarow, M.D., says the GWTG database, can be a valuable research tool to identify gaps in care, as well as trends in performance and outcomes. That research can be used to help develop the best treatment guidelines and better assist healthcare providers in adhering to those guidelines.

For immediate release, Wednesday, October 3, 2007.

World Stroke Day 2007 focuses on hypertension's relationship to stroke

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association are joining organizations across the world on a unified message about the most common risk factor for stroke: high blood pressure. On October 9 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as part of the Joint World Stroke Congress, experts from around the world will discuss how to fight high blood pressure and stroke.

For immediate release, Wednesday, October 3, 2007.

For information call (area code 214): Joanna Carr, 706-1396 Fax: 706-5243; Director: Carrie Thacker, 706-1665; Cathy Lewis, 706-1324; Bridgette McNeill, 706-1135; or Karen Astle, 706-1392; Broadcast: Julie Del Barto, 706-1330; New York City: Darcy Spitz, (212) 878-5940; Washington: Suzanne Ffolkes, (202) 785-7929. Direct e-mail inquiries to cathy.lewis@heart.org, bridgette.mcneill@heart.org or karen.astle@heart.org. After embargo, releases and abstracts will be available at http://www.americanheart.org/mediarelations. Failure to abide by embargoes will result in suspension of credentials for American Heart Association meetings, privileges to the password-protected newsroom and the ability to receive advance materials.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 3, 2007

CONTACT:

Cathy Lewis -- (214) 706-1324

cathy.lewis@heart.org Quality improvement database helps find healthcare gaps, offers solutions

DALLAS, Oct. 3, 2007 - An American Heart Association/American Stroke Association quality improvement initiative can identify disparities in healthcare and help patients get the care they need, as evidenced by a new study published in the Oct. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Using the Get With The Guidelines - Heart Failure database, researchers found that only 35 percent of heart failure patients who may have benefited from receiving an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) actually received one. Additionally, women and black men were much less likely to receive the potentially life-saving device than white men. ICDs monitor heart rhythms and use small electric shocks to help control erratic rhythms that could stop the heart from beating.

"This disparity in care is extremely important to identify because we know that there are specific interventions and procedures, such as ICD placement, that can save lives," said Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee. "If all patients who can benefit from these measures are not getting them, it is critical to step up efforts to educate both providers and patients about the availability of these evidence-based therapies and their importance in improving outcomes and quality of life."

Fonarow said that is the basic principle behind the Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) initiative. The hospital-based quality improvement program provides information and tools on the latest guidelines and evidence-based treatments and therapies for healthcare professionals who treat people with heart disease and stroke. More than 1,400 hospitals across the country are applying GWTG practices in their patient care.

"Data shows that since the initiative was first launched in 2002, patients being cared for in GWTG-participating hospitals are getting more of the treatments and education they need to live healthier lives," Fonarow said. "There is significant improvement in the percentage of heart attack, heart failure and stroke patients receiving indicated therapies upon admission, as well as those who are getting smoking cessation counseling, treatment to improve their cholesterol, and beta blockers and other medications known to improve their long-term health outcomes."

Fonarow said the program provides another valuable tool -- a database now rich with more than one million patient records and the insight that information can give for improving patient care in the future.

"Using the GWTG database, we can conduct valuable research, just as we did with this study, that can help us find gaps in care, as well as trends in performance and outcomes," he said. "And we can use this research to help develop the best treatment guidelines and better assist healthcare providers in adhering to those guidelines. That will result in patients with heart disease and stroke living healthier, longer lives."

For more information, visit http://www.americanheart.org/getwiththeguidelines.

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to reducing disability and death from diseases of the heart and stroke. These diseases, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim over 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2005-06 the association invested over $543 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit http://www.americanheart.org.

About the American Stroke Association

The goal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, is to reduce disability and death from stroke through research, education and advocacy. In fiscal year 2005-06, the association invested nearly $157 million to fight stroke.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 3, 2007

CONTACT:

Toiya Honore (214) 706-1325

Toiya.honore@heart.org

Laura Bonahoom (214) 706-1325

t-laura.bonahoom@heart.org

World Stroke Day 2007 focuses on hypertension's relationship to stroke

(Dallas), (Sept. 14, 2007) - The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association are joining organizations across the world on a unified message about the most common risk factor for stroke: high blood pressure. On October 9 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as part of the Joint World Stroke Congress, experts from around the world will discuss how to fight high blood pressure and stroke.

"Stroke is a preventable catastrophe and hypertension is its most common and treatable risk factor," said Vladimir Hachinski, M.D., FRCPC, D.Sc., Chair, Working Group, World Stroke Day, First Vice-President, World Federation of Neurology.

In the United States, stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of severe, long-term disability. Worldwide, stroke is second to ischemic heart disease as a cause of death.

High blood pressure affects about 72 million people in the United States - - 70 percent of whom don't have it under control.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that brings oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts and is clogged by a blood clot or some other mass. The warning signs of stroke are:

-- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one

side of the body.

-- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.

-- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

-- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.

-- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

Strokes caused by high blood pressure can affect men and women of all ethnic backgrounds. However, those with ancestry from Latin America, Africa or Asia are at highest risk. For example, in 2004, the death rates per 100,000 population in the United States from high blood pressure were 15.6 for white males, 49.9 for black males, 14.3 for white females and 40.6 for black females.

The American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, has several programs to help people fight high blood pressure and stroke, including http://www.AmericanHeart.org/hbp. The site features tools to help people learn about high blood pressure, including a risk calculator and quiz.

"The Internet is clearly a powerful tool to create awareness and educate the public on a mass scale," said Daniel Jones, M.D., president of the American Heart Association and a member of the association's High Blood Pressure Research Council. "The next step is for Americans to take the knowledge they gain online to their healthcare providers, who can help lay out a course of treatment to manage any risks." For more information about stroke, visit http://www.strokeassociation.org or call 1-888-4STROKE. For more information about high blood pressure, visit http://www.AmericanHeart.org/hbp.

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to reducing disability and death from heart disease and stroke, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers. The association invested more than $543 million in fiscal year 2005-06 for research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help Americans live longer and healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721) or visit http://www.americanheart.org.

About the American Stroke Association

The goal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, is to reduce disability and death from stroke through research, education and advocacy. In its 2005-06 fiscal year, the association invested nearly $157 million to fight stroke.


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SOURCE American Heart Association; American Stroke Association
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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