AHA, Edwards collaborate on new structural heart initiative

A new structural heart disease initiative from the American Heart Association and Edwards Lifesciences will aim to raise patient awareness of valve diseases while enriching patient education and engagement.

The AHA and Edwards announced the new quality improvement program Nov. 17 in conjunction with the AHA’s annual Scientific Sessions, which took place Nov. 16-18 in Philadelphia. The initiative will be “comprehensive and scalable,” according to a statement, but the effort will start small by focusing on a singular disease: aortic stenosis (AS).

AS is common in the U.S. and, in severe cases, can yield a survival rate as low as 50% at two years. The AHA and Edwards’ joint initiative will reportedly kick off with an “intensive approach” to AS in a select number of American communities that will serve as the frontlines for identifying best practices for inpatient and outpatient AS care.

“Our shared vision of ensuring all structural heart disease patients are identified and appropriately treated is no small undertaking,” Nancy Brown, CEO of the AHA, said in the statement. “With the support of Edwards Lifesciences and working with our clinical network on our patient-centered public outreach programs, we can better help the millions of Americans impacted by structural heart disease each year.”

The ultimate aim of the program, according to the organizations, will be to improve the patient experience “from symptom onset to appropriate diagnosis and follow-through, to timely treatment and disease management.” It will look to achieve that goal through better evidence-based measurement development, multimedia educational resources and self-management care plans.

“We are excited to be collaborating with an organization who shares our passion for helping transform patients’ lives,” Todd J. Brinton, MD, corporate vice president of advanced technology and chief scientific officer at Edwards, said. “Together with the Association, we are confident we can have a positive impact on people living with structural heart disease. 

“The Association is uniquely positioned to lead this initiative given its representation of not only the scientific community, but also patients and the full spectrum of care providers, all aimed at helping people live longer, healthier lives.”