Researchers from top academic centers around the world recently met in Washington to discuss opportunities, projects, policies, and research important for measuring and improving quality of care and health outcomes for people with cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Among the research presented at the Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke 2010 Scientific Sessions, were studies from the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiatives, conducted by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Dallas.

This research identifies gaps in quality of care and opportunities for improvement, as well as Get With The Guidelines’ impact on the hospital care of heart failure and stroke patients.

Launched in 2000, the program is carried out through four modules: Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure, Get With The Guidelines – Stroke, Get With The Guidelines – Outpatient and ACTION Registry, Get With The Guidelines (formerly Get With The Guidelines – Coronary Artery Disease), with several new initiatives on the horizon.

One or more of the hospital-based modules are being implemented in more than 1,600 acute care hospitals across the United States. More than 2.2 million patient records have been entered into the patient database, allowing for a rich source of research materials for better understanding the care of heart disease and stroke.

"While working diligently to improve the care delivered to patients at their own hospitals, each participating site is helping to build this living library of information about patterns of care in America," said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, chair of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and director of TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, in a statement. "By bringing together experts in clinical care, clinical research, statistics, and quality improvement science, the American Heart Association has been able to leverage this enormous dataset necessary to provide new insights into disparities in care delivery, trends in patient and disease characteristics, and opportunities for improvement. In addition, Get With The Guidelines provides valuable, detailed information about how well we as a country are doing at delivering evidence-based care to patients with heart disease and stroke."

The following are highlights of Get With The Guidelines research presented:

–Quality initiatives must focus on reducing door-to-imaging times for stroke patients

–Women hospitalized with heart failure less likely than men to receive all quality of care measures, have longer hospital stays

–Potential Underuse of Antidepressants in Post-stroke Depression: Data from the AVAIL Registry

–Hospital Level Variation in Clinical Outcomes for Medicare Beneficiaries Hospitalized with Ischemic Stroke

–Mild or Improving Stroke Is the Most Frequently Documented Reason for Not Giving rt-PA in Time-eligible Acute Ischemic
Stroke Patients: Findings From Get With The Guidelines-Stroke

–Are Improvements in Quality in the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Program Related to Better Care or Better Documentation?

For more information on Get With The Guidelines, visit

[Source: American Heart Association]