Cooley Dickinson Hospital ‘Gets with the Guidelines’ on Heart Failure

NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital is participating in the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines–Heart Failure (GWTG—HF) program, which provides hospital staff with tools that follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures in caring for heart failure patients to prevent future hospitalizations.


Under the GWTG-HF treatment guidelines, heart failure patients are started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics, and anticoagulants in the hospital. They also receive substance-abuse and thyroid-management counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before being discharged.

These standards of care are outlined in the AHA/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for patients with heart failure.

“The full implementation of national heart-failure-guideline recommended care is a critical step in preventing recurrent hospitalizations and prolonging the lives of heart failure patients,” said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, national chairman of the GWTG Steering Committee and director of Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center. “The goal of the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines program is to help hospitals like Cooley Dickinson implement appropriate, evidence-based care and protocols that will reduce disability and the number of deaths in these patients.”

According to the AHA, about 5.2 million people suffer from heart failure. Statistics also show that more than 57,000 people will die of heart failure each year.

“Cooley Dickinson Hospital is dedicated to making our care for heart failure patients among the best in the country, and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines-Heart Failure program will help us accomplish this by making it easier for our professionals to improve the long-term outcome for these patients,” said Donna Truesdell, director of quality improvement at CDH.

Cooley Dickinson also recently received the AHA’s Get With The Guidelines—Coronary Artery Disease (GWTG—CAD) Bronze Performance Achievement award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of cardiac care that effectively improves treatment of patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease.

According to the GWTG—CAD treatment guidelines, 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 they are discharged. Hospitals that receive the GWTG—CAD Bronze Performance Achievement Award have demonstrated for at least 90 days that 85{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of their eligible coronary patients (without contraindications) are discharged following the AHA’s recommended treatment guidelines.

According to the AHA, approximately 565,000 people suffer a new heart attack and 300,000 experience a recurrent heart attack each year.

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