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KDMC Earns American Heart Association Award

ASHLAND, KY — King’s Daughters recently received the Get With The Guidelines– Heart Failure (GWTG-HF) Initial Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. KDMC is the only hospital in eastern Kentucky, southern Ohio and West Virginia to receive this recognition.

The Get With The GuidelinesSM quality improvement initiative signifies that KDMC has reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients with 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for heart failure patients.

GWTG-HF provides hospitals with tools that follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures for heart failure patients to prevent future hospitalizations. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, 875,000 Americans are hospitalized each year because of heart failure. Up to 52 percent of these patients are readmitted within 90 days due to complications of their condition, and the national readmission rate for heart failure patients within a six-month period is 47 percent.

Under GWTG-HF, heart failure patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics, and blood thinners in the hospital. They also receive alcohol/drug abuse, dietary and medication compliance counseling, and education about their condition and the importance of daily weigh-ins before being discharged. KDMC has successfully implemented these quality measures for one quarter or 90-days.

“Heart failure is a chronic condition that can be complicated to manage,” says Amy Sieweke, R.N., ARNP,the clinical supervisor for KDMC’s Cardiology Clinic. “King’s Daughters is dedicated to helping heart failure patients understand and manage their condition to improve their health and quality of life and avoid rehospitalizations.”

“King’s Daughters is dedicated to making our care for heart failure patients among the best in the country, and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines program helps accomplish this by making it easier for our caregivers to improve the long-term outcomes for these patients,” said Kristie Whitlatch, R.N., BSN, MSN, vice president of the KDMC Heart and Vascular Center.

According to the American Heart Association, about five million people suffer from heart failure, a condition in which the heart muscle has been damaged and cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. About 550,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. Statistics also show the incidence of heart failure has not declined in two decades and each year more than 52,000 people will die of heart failure.

The heart failure module for GWTG, developed with support from an unrestricted educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline, is being implemented in hospitals around the country. For more details, visit

For more information about cardiovascular services and free health screenings at King’s Daughters, call 1-888-377-KDMC.

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