BEIJING, June 6, 2016 – The American Heart Association and the Chinese Society of Cardiology, a branch of the Chinese Medical Association, today signed a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop and implement an emergency medical system and hospital-based program to improve the system of care for patients experiencing heart attacks in China. The MOU marks a significant step forward in advancing the World Health Assembly’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases by 2025.

The signing took place during the U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) and comes one year after the historic agreement between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to advance CPR training and cardiovascular science sharing in the world’s most populous country.

The global burden of heart disease and stroke accounts for nearly half (17 million) of deaths from noncommunicable diseases and, unless there is a change, is 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. Today, cardiovascular disease accounts for 45 percent of total deaths.

A 2014 study by the China PEACE Collaborative Group found that hospital admission rates for a specific type of heart attack referred to as ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) increased from 3.7 per 100,000 in 2001 to over 15.8 per 100,000 in 2011. The study also cites that an estimated 80 percent of heart attacks in China are STEMIs, which is the deadliest form of heart attack and the most time-sensitive for treatment.

“Hospitalizations from STEMI represent an increasing health burden for China,” said Sidney C. Smith, Jr.  M.D., FAHA, FACC, FESC, University of North Carolina Professor of Medicine, Cardiology and Past President of the American Heart Association. “There are a number of highly effective therapies that can significantly improve outcomes and reduce recurrent events in patients, but adherence to evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular care that implement these therapies for patients remains incomplete and highly variable.”

“The endorsement of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission accelerates cooperation to reduce the global burden of heart disease and stroke,” said Smith. “This agreement allows us to widely share research and best practices that played an important role in reducing U.S. deaths from cardiovascular disease by 39 percent during a 10-year period starting in 2001.”

With this three-year agreement, the AHA and CSC will develop and implement a system of care quality improvements for STEMI in China with a goal of systematic improvement and efficiencies in the care delivery system. 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 for STEMI systems of care. Additionally, a public awareness campaign will educate consumers about the signs and symptoms of STEMI and the importance of immediately calling 911 for ambulance transport to the hospital.

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. With cardiac arrest, seconds count; immediate CPR by someone nearby can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – two of the leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is one of the world’s oldest and largest voluntary organizations dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Amanda Sardos, American Heart Association