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

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