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June 17, 2004

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Implements American Heart Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM Program
New Initiative Helps Close Treatment Gap in Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Primary Prevention of Stroke

(Philadelphia, PA) – The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) announced it has received recognition from the American Heart Association as a Get With The GuidelinesSM - Coronary Artery Disease hospital. The recognition signifies that HUP is participating in the American Heart Association Get With The GuidelinesSM program. The quality improvement initiative is designed to reduce the risk of recurrent heart attacks by helping hospital staff follow proven standards and procedures while coronary patients are in their care.

Under the program, coronary patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, aspirin, ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers in the hospital and receive smoking cessation and weight management counseling and referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before being discharged. These standards of care are outlined in the American Heart Association / American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for patients with coronary artery disease.

“The full implementation of secondary prevention guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives of coronary patients,” says Gray Ellrodt, MD, American Heart Association volunteer chairman for the national Get With The GuidelinesSM project. “The American Heart Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM program is designed to help hospitals like HUP implement appropriate standards of care and protocols that will reduce the number of recurrent events and death in these patients.”

According to the American Heart Association, more than 450,000 people suffer recurrent heart attacks each year. Statistics also show that within six years after a heart attack, about 22 percent of men and 46 percent of women will be disabled with heart failure. Within one year of an attack, 25 percent of men and 38 percent of women will die.

Research indicates that when patients are discharged from the hospital on appropriate medications such as aspirin, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and lipid-lowering medicines, a patients’ risk of a second event is reduced and lives are saved.

“The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is dedicated to making our cardiac unit among the best in the country, and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM program will help us accomplish this by making it easier for our professionals to improve the long-term outcome for our cardiac patients,” adds Daniel Kolansky, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of HUP’s Cardiac Care Unit.

Get With The GuidelinesSM is designed to help HUP’s staff develop and implement a secondary prevention guideline process. The program includes quality-improvement measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools. Designed to be quick and efficient, these guideline tools will enable HUP to improve the quality of care it provides cardiac patients, save lives and ultimately, reduce healthcare costs by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks. Projections have shown that if the Get With The GuidelinesSM program was implemented nationwide, more than 80,000 lives could be saved each year.

The American Heart Association program, developed with support from an unrestricted educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc., is being implemented in hospitals around the country. For more information on Get With The GuidelinesSM, visit www.americanheart.org/getwiththeguidelines.

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The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), founded in 1874 as the nation’s first teaching hospital, is today ranked consistently by US News and World Report as one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals. HUP physicians are faculty in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine -- which is ranked #4 in the nation by US News and World Report in its annual survey of research-oriented medical schools. Penn’s School of Medicine is also ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds.


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