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Tens of thousands of lives could potentially be saved by key heart failure therapies
Date:6/6/2011

A national study has found that nearly 68,000 deaths potentially could be prevented each year by optimally implementing key national guidelinerecommended therapies, including critical medications and cardiac devices, for all eligible heart failure patients.

Although heart failure is a major cause of death, morbidity and health care expenditures in the U.S., the routine clinical use of scientifically proven treatments that reduce mortality and improve quality of life has been slow and inconsistent.

"This is one of the first studies to quantify the potential survival benefits that could result if these guideline-recommended therapies were universally applied to all eligible heart failure patients in the United States," said the study's first author, Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, UCLA's Elliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science and director of the AhmansonUCLA Cardiomyopathy Center at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Published in the June edition of the American Heart Journal, the findings help further the understanding of the possible health benefits of more consistent use of these heart failure therapies. The study also provides strong motivation for clinicians to improve implementation of these evidence-based treatments through performance-improvement initiatives and programs.

Heart failure occurs when the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the body's other organs. Often, patients with heart failure have reduced left-ventricle ejection fraction, which indicates a lowered volume of blood being pumped out of this heart chamber with each beat of the heart.

The study examined six evidence-based therapies for heart failure patients with reduced left-ventricle ejection fraction. The six therapies are highly recommended in the national guidelines of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association for heart failure patients.

In conducting the
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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