UCI News

UC Irvine Medical Center recognized for heart failure program

American Heart Association recognizes UC Irvine's high level of care for patients suffering heart failure.

December 16, 2010

The American Heart Association has recognized UC Irvine Healthcare’s commitment to the highest standards of care for heart failure patients.

The Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure Silver Plus Award signifies that UC Irvine Medical Center has achieved at least 85 percent compliance for one year with AHA-specified standards of care for heart failure patients.

The medical center’s compliance rate was 96 percent. The “Plus” designation is for 75 percent or higher adherence to AHA-specified quality measures.

“UC Irvine is dedicated to making our care for heart failure patients among the best in the country,” said Dr. Dawn Lombardo, director of the hospital’s heart failure program. “We will continue in our efforts and build off the success of this award by continued implementation of the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure program that allowed us to accomplish this goal.”

According to the AHA, about 5.7 million people in the U.S. suffer from heart failure, or the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the body’s needs. The condition kills more than 292,200 people annually.

Get With The Guidelines is a quality improvement initiative aimed at reducing disability, future hospitalizations, healthcare costs and deaths. It includes care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools.

According to AHA treatment guidelines, heart failure patients should be started in the hospital on aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants. Before being discharged, they also should receive counseling on alcohol/drug use and thyroid management as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation.

A 2009 study published in the American Heart Journal concluded that hospitals meeting these AHA guidelines had lower mortality rates.

In addition to participation in the Get With The Guidelines program, UC Irvine’s commitment to high-quality cardiac care is demonstrated in other ways:

  • In January, the hospital opened its Cardiovascular Center, a one-stop shop designed to make the diagnosis and treatment of heart and blood vessel disease a kinder and gentler experience for patients and their families.
  • In March, The Joint Commission renewed its Gold Seal of Approval and disease-specific certification for UC Irvine’s heart failure program. In 2008, this certification was the first by The Joint Commission at a Southern California hospital.
  • The medical center’s Preventive Cardiology Program is Orange County’s only research-based heart disease prevention program.
  • UC Irvine’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Multidisciplinary Program is among only a few nationwide that unite specialists in pediatric and adult cardiac sciences to care for the growing population of people born with congenital heart disease who are living into adulthood.

About Get With The Guidelines: A hospital-based quality improvement program initiated by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Get With The Guidelines empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce costs by following evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit www.heart.org/quality.

About UC Irvine Medical Center: Orange County’s only university hospital, UC Irvine Medical Center offers acute- and general-care services at its new, 482,000-square-foot UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and is home to the county’s only Level I trauma center, American College of Surgeons-verified regional burn center and National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. U.S. News & World Report has included UC Irvine for 10 consecutive years on its list of America’s Best Hospitals, giving special recognition to its urology, gynecology, and ear, nose & throat programs.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

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