DALLAS, February 18, 2020 — New efforts to improve the identification and treatment of hemorrhagic stroke patients in hospitals and stroke centers across America are being evaluated by the American Heart Association in its hemorrhagic stroke initiative set to launch later this year. 

As the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative will expand to address identification, treatment and procedures surrounding hemorrhagic stroke. Get With The Guidelines-Stroke is sponsored by Portola Pharmaceuticals. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. 

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. Hemorrhagic strokes, caused when a weakened blood vessel ruptures, make up roughly 13% of the nearly 800,000 strokes annually. While less common than ischemic strokes caused by a blockage, hemorrhagic strokes have higher mortality rates. For patients who have had an intracerebral hemorrhage, the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, the in-hospital mortality rate is 26.5% when treated with novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs).

“Hemorrhagic stroke may not be the most common form of stroke, but it is responsible for more than half of the death and disability around stroke,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., executive vice chairman of neurology and director of the MGH Comprehensive Stroke Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, chair of the American Stroke Association Advisory Council and volunteer expert for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “Addressing the treatment for these patients will save lives, improve outcomes and reduce the burden of illness.”

Get With The Guidelines® (GWTG) is a hospital-based quality improvement program from the American Heart Association with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines.  The premise of the GWTG programs is when medical professionals apply the most up-to-date evidence-based treatment guidelines, patient outcomes improved. 

A select group of approximately 15 hospitals and stroke centers across the nation will be working with the Association in the first phase of the initiative to test the measures that the GWTG-Stroke tool employs to track treatment of hemorrhagic stroke patients. 

Portola Pharmaceuticals, a company dedicated to developing medicines for life-threatening, blood-related-disorders, will provide funding and operational support for the initiative’s education efforts for physicians along the stroke system of care, and the comprehensive and scalable program from the Association will raise awareness and define measures to evaluate care opportunities while delivering guideline-directed, optimal-care standards education. 

“The American Heart Association and the stroke community have made significant strides in helping to improve outcomes for patients that have had an ischemic stroke. Through this initiative, we plan to bring the same level of awareness and impact to patients who have experienced a hemorrhagic stroke,” said Rajiv Patni, M.D., Portola’s chief medical officer. “The initiative will enable healthcare providers to deliver the highest quality process of care and evidence-based treatment strategies, two shared goals between Portola and the American Heart Association.”

More information about the program is available from the American Heart Association here. The initial locations for the first phase will be announced following the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles, California, February 19-21, 2020. 


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is a relentless force for a world with fewer strokes and longer, healthier lives. We team with millions of volunteers and donors to ensure equitable health and stroke care in all communities. We work to prevent, treat and beat stroke by funding innovative research, fighting for the public’s health, and providing lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based association was created in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit strokeassociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact Info:

Karen Springs; 214-706-4831; karen.springs@heart.org

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