Many factors play a role in the treatment of cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke patients. In order to develop systems of care that provide the best treatment to cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke patients, the American Heart Association advocates for the following policies:
CPR in Schools
Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States. However, bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can double or triple the survival rate of its victims. Schools provide an opportunity to teach multitudes of young people how to respond in these emergency situations, playing a critical role in the chain of survival. To equip more individuals with this life-saving knowledge, the American Heart Association advocates for:
- CPR, including hands-on practice (psychomotor skills), be a high school graduation requirement.
- CPR training in schools that emphasizes: recognition of cardiac arrest, calling 911, high-quality chest compressions and breaths, and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED).
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death (1) and STEMI, the deadliest form of heart attack, plagues nearly 250,000 Americans each year. In both of these instances, receiving adequate treatment as soon as possible is necessary to achieve a positive outcome. Facility designations are an important step in making this treatment readily available. Designations are earned based on evaluation of hospital infrastructure, services, personnel, and quality of care. Recognizing designations helps assure that patients receive the best possible care. To achieve these results, the American Heart Association advocates for:
- The establishment of stroke centers - hospitals that have the expertise and infrastructure to deliver high quality stroke care - accredited by The Joint Commission or another nationally recognized accrediting body.
- The establishment of STEMI Receiving Facilities - hospitals that have the expertise and infrastructure to deliver high quality care to those who have experienced a heart attack - accredited by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care or another nationally recognized accrediting body.
A clinical registry is a database of health information on a specific condition. Many studies about quality of care and patient outcomes are limited by the data available. Registries, such as the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines® (GWTG), allow health professionals to continually improve care by allowing them to analyze data on care processes and patient outcomes. To increase the capacity and effectiveness of registries, the American Heart Association advocates for:
- The use of statewide stroke registries that align with the standardized stroke measures supported by CDC's Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry, the Joint Commision, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
- The use of statewide STEMI registries using Action Registry-Get With the Guidelines as the data platform.
1 - Go AS, et al. AHA Statistical Update, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics - 2014, A Report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2014;129:e28–e292