New certifications program in Middle East aims to improve heart attack care

DALLAS, June 8, 2021—According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in 2019, ischemic heart disease rose to be the top cause of death in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while stroke remained as third and diabetes, an underlying cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) stayed at fifth. Additionally, hypertensive heart disease climbed from tenth to seventh in the top causes of death in the UAE. The leading three risk factors for death and disability remained high BMI, high blood pressure and tobacco use – all factors that contribute to CVD. Responding to the need for CVD interventions, the American Heart Association and the Emirates Cardiac Society (ECS) have launched hospital certifications in the Middle East  for high quality, guideline-directed care to improve outcomes for patients suffering from acute STEMI heart attacks.

A ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is a serious form of heart attack in which a coronary artery is completely blocked and a large part of the heart muscle is unable to receive blood, often resulting in permanent damage and increased risk of death.

A comprehensive Chest Pain Center certification offered by the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, and the Emirates Cardiac Society, a non-profit organization comprised of cardiologists in the UAE, will build upon both organizations’ track records in shaping clinical care and improving patient outcomes.

Hospital certifications, which recognize adherence to the latest clinical science and evidence-based guidelines, can improve the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patient conditions, thereby saving more lives from CVD. The American Heart Association uses its certification model to assist hospitals with a framework, structure, management and delivery of high-quality care by standardizing and increasing the quality of - and access to - acute care for patients who have suffered a STEMI heart attack. Hospitals certified as Chest Pain Centers will receive recognition from the American Heart Association and the Emirates Cardiac Society, both trusted brands in patient and community health, along with education for physicians, nurses, patients, caregivers, other healthcare professionals and the community in addition to the opportunity to participate in research.

“Participation in this certification benefits both the healthcare facility and patients by implementing standards that reflect decades of science and clinical expertise,” said Mitchell S. V. Elkind, M.D., MS, FAHA, FAAN, president of the American Heart Association, professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University New York and attending neurologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “Working with the Emirates Cardiac Society to expand healthcare facility certification supports the impact the American Heart Association seeks to make for patients in the Middle East.”

Emirates Cardiac Society strives to improve cardiovascular health through education, research and quality patient care. ECS helps people understand the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and provides science-based treatment guidelines to healthcare professionals to help them provide quality care to their patients.

“As we need to build an army of knowledgeable healthcare personnel, we have to offer them valuable education, all for the sake of the patients who are completely depending on us,” said Abdulmajeed Alzubaidi, M.D., president of the Emirates Cardiac Society. “We are really thrilled and happy to be working with the American Heart Association in this project.”

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For Media Inquiries:

American Heart Association: Tracie Bertaut, APR,, 504-722-1695

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and

Emirates Cardiac Society: Yasmeen El Kordi,

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