The American Heart Association and Heart Rhythm Society coordinate to improve cardiovascular research and care


The American Heart Association (AHA) and Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) have announced a collaboration designed to improve the quality of care of atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients and advance to cardiovascular research.

The organisations will collaborate over the next three years to:

  • Engage more hospitals and clinicians in quality improvement programs and quality improvement education.
  • Increase educational opportunities through webinars and national conferences, for specialty cardiologists such as electrophysiologists.
  • Advance quality improvement and cardiovascular research through joint efforts
  • Support effective management of patients who suffer from AFib.

“A chief goal of the alliance is to improve the quality of care of patients with AFib while preventing strokes and saving lives,” says William Lewis, chair of the Get With The Guidelines-AFib work group, chief of cardiology for MetroHealth System and professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University.

“Collaborating with the Heart Rhythm Society brings the expertise of the largest U.S. electrophysiology professional organisation together with the American Heart Association’s leadership in improving healthcare quality,” says Lewis.

The HRS, a leading resource on cardiac arrhythmia disorders, represents medical, allied health, and science professionals from more than 72 countries who specialise in cardiac rhythm disorders. “The Heart Rhythm Society is excited to collaborate with the American Heart Association on this important quality initiative. HRS represents professionals around the globe all with unique focus on cardiac arrhythmia disorders and those that specifically treat AFib patients,” said John D. Day, president of the Heart Rhythm Society.

The AHA’s Get With The Guidelines is the largest national hospital-based program dedicated to quality of care improvement for patients with cardiovascular disease, including targeted initiatives in AFib, stroke, heart failure and resuscitation. More than 2,000 U.S. hospitals participate in the quality initiative, which has a database of over 11 million patient records.

Get With The Guidelines-AFIB is aimed at improving access to proven medical therapies based on scientific guidelines, monitoring the quality of AFib care in U.S. hospitals and creating a database for continued research and quality improvement initiatives.

“We know that Get With The Guidelines is effective. We’ve studied the ability of Get With The Guidelines to initiate anticoagulation therapy for patients with AFib in the stroke module. Ninety five per cent of patients with AFib were treated with anticoagulants. This compares favorably to 50-60% adherence in the literature,” Lewis said.

He believes similar anticoagulation levels can be achieved in the Get With The Guidelines-AFIB module through increased hospital participation.