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Heart Disease Guidelines Reach 1 Million Patients

American Heart Association best practice program showing positive results

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Since its launch in 2000, the American Heart Association's "Get With The Guidelines" quality-improvement program has been adopted by more than 1,400 hospitals and this month surpassed the 1 million patient milestone.

The program enables participating hospitals to adhere to treatment guidelines derived from evidence-based medicine, and has had a positive impact in several areas under three modules: coronary artery disease, stroke and heart failure.

For example, by the end of 2006, over 94 percent of patients treated under the coronary artery disease module were being counseled on smoking cessation, up from 58.7 percent in 2000, while 83.8 percent of stroke patients and 91.4 percent of heart failure patients received similar counseling, up from 38.8 percent and 74.3 percent, respectively.

The guidelines help health care providers to counsel patients on lifestyle changes they need to make upon discharge. "The program was originally designed to empower health care providers to save lives and reduce health care costs," said Gregg Fonarow, M.D., chair of the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines steering committee, in a statement.

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