This guest post was provided by GHC member, the American Heart Association.
Without a change, deaths from heart disease and stroke are expected to reach approximately 23 million per year by 2030. The threat is of special concern in China, where cardiovascular disease and its risk factors have steadily increased over the last two decades, currently accounting for 45 percent of total deaths in that nation.
To lower these rates, the American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting cardiovascular disease, collaborates globally to share emerging science, best practices and training. Most recently, the AHA and the Chinese Society of Cardiology, a branch of the Chinese Medical Association, formally announced joint steps to improve heart attack outcomes in China.
The two organizations will develop and implement an emergency medical systems and hospital-based program to improve care for patients experiencing heart attacks in China, marking a significant step forward in advancing the World Health Assembly’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases worldwide by 2025.
“Adherence to evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular care that implement effective therapies for patients remains incomplete and highly variable,” said Sidney C. Smith, Jr., MD, FAHA, FACC, FESC, University of North Carolina Professor of Medicine, Cardiology and Past President of the American Heart Association. “The backing of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission to advance these topics accelerates cooperation to reduce the global burden of heart disease and stroke.”
Hospital networks and emergency medical systems in Tianjin, Suzhou, Beijing and Shanghai will be part of the initial collaborative that will collect, share and report back on data regarding intervention designs, new and revised protocols, and implementation strategies.
Additionally, a public awareness campaign will educate consumers about the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and the importance of immediately calling local emergency response for ambulance transport to the hospital.
A History of Heart Health Education in China
The AHA’s work in China dates back a decade through its alliance with Laerdal Medical and spans the Greater China Region. Last year, the AHA and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) reached a breakthrough agreement that outlined three key areas of cooperation between the U.S.-based non-profit and the Chinese government: science sharing, physician exchange and CPR training.
These efforts have largely targeted healthcare providers through strategic relationships with hospital systems, government health offices and national medical associations. In cooperation with the China Heart Federation and Laerdal China, the AHA recently entered the second year of a cardiovascular care training education program for healthcare providers affiliated with the China County Hospital Confederation, a consortium of 400 regional hospitals.
Based on AHA’s successful Get with the Guidelines program in the United States, the Chinese Society of Cardiology and Beijing Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood Vessel Diseases rolled out a patient care quality improvement program in 2014. Approximately 150 hospitals in China participate in the Improving Care for Cardiovascular Disease in China (CCC) program, funded by a $3 million grant secured by AHA.
Looking Ahead to Bystander Education
Expansion to bystander education is imminent. Earlier this year, MOST, AHA and the China Social Assistance Foundation announced the implementation of the first CPR training and awareness initiative in China to deliver quality AHA first aid and CPR training to the general public.
To support this effort, the AHA will launch its first China-based Training Center focused on training the general public during the Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology, the largest cardiology meeting in the Asia Pacific region, in October. The AHA currently boasts more than 160 Training Centers and Sites in the region which focus mainly on delivering its training programs to healthcare providers.