Aortic stenosis is a progressive disease that occurs when the opening of the heart valve narrows, usually due to age. More than 1.7 million Americans over age 65 have severe aortic stenosis, and without valve replacement as few as half survive beyond two years.
In an effort to improve the lives of many patients with aortic stenosis, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to building longer, healthier lives, has launched its Target: Aortic Stenosis (Target: AS) initiative with support from Edwards Lifesciences. The initiative aims to help patients suffering from aortic stenosis get a timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment, improved quality of care and additional resources to combat the disease. Target: AS will provide a way to improve adherence to the valvular heart disease guidelines, in turn improving potential outcomes along the patient journey.
The learning collaborative is a workgroup of pilot hospitals that study and apply quality improvement methodologies – 15 of which have been recognized for participating in the initial data collection phase of Target: Aortic Stenosis.
“This is the first step in development of a quality improvement program that follows the latest guidelines for valvular heart disease,” said Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., FAHA, FACC, interim chief of the division of cardiology, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, co-director of the Preventative Cardiology Program, and the Eliot Corday Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine and Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. “And these efforts are critical as the rate of diagnosis continues to lag far behind its incidence.”
Since aortic stenosis mostly affects people over age 65, the condition may be overlooked because early symptoms like fatigue or shortness of breath may be mistaken for normal signs of aging. Left untreated, it can lead to heart failure and increased risk of death.
The pilot locations recognized for initial data submission in the Target: Aortic Stenosis learning collaborative are as follows:
Browns Mills, New Jersey
Kansas City, Kan.
Salt Lake City, Utah
The participating hospitals remain actively involved in data collection, piloting key measures based on the updated guidelines, and sharing best practices to improve patient care.