Published July 28, 2017
Anne B. Curtis, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine, gave the opening plenary lecture at the International Academy of Cardiology’s 22nd World Congress on Heart Disease.
Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school, introduced Curtis and served as chair for the lecture.
The presentation by Curtis, “Improvement in Quality of Care for Atrial Fibrillation in Get With the Guidelines — Atrial Fibrillation,” was the 11th H.J.C. Swan Memorial Lecture.
“One of the most devastating consequences of atrial fibrillation (AF) is stroke, the risk of which can be greatly reduced if patients take anticoagulants (blood thinners),” Curtis says. “While practice guidelines recommend anticoagulation in patients with risk factors for stroke, too many patients are not treated appropriately.”
Get With the Guidelines Atrial Fibrillation (GWTG-AFIB) is an initiative of the American Heart Association. It began in 2013 to improve the quality of care for patients with AF.
The goal of GWTG-AFIB is to collect data on patients admitted to the hospital with AF, collect information on their history and current treatment, and then document whether they are being treated with all guideline-recommended therapies, including anticoagulation.
In analyzing data on 22,514 AF admissions from 2013-2016 for patients with risk factors for stroke, oral anticoagulation at discharge in eligible patients improved significantly over time from 85.7 percent to 96.8 percent.
“This data confirms that high-level adherence to stroke prevention and AF quality measures is achievable and sustainable,” Curtis says.
A total of 79 hospitals in the United States are currently enrolled in the program.
Curtis is among the world’s leading clinical cardiac electrophysiologists.
Her research has helped transform the evaluation and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and has advanced knowledge of human cardiac electrophysiology and heart-rhythm abnormalities.
She has been a key contributor to guidelines on atrial fibrillation issued by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines.
In addition to the opening lecture, Cain and Curtis had other roles in the three-day scientific sessions.
Cain served as co-chair of a session on cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death and gave a speech titled “New Electrocardiographic Predictors of Sudden Cardiac Death.”
Curtis served as co-chair of a session on improving understanding, treatment and outcome in atrial fibrillation.
They were both members of the Scientific Executive Committee and the Scientific Abstract Review Committee and served as section chairs for arrhythmias and electrophysiology.
The World Congress on Heart Disease provides an opportunity for cardiologists from around the world to gather and discuss the latest research in the field.
The meeting is also an important venue for young investigators to present their research and interact with more senior researchers. Physicians from 41 countries were in attendance.
The World Congress of Heart Disease took place July 14-16 in Vancouver.