We live in a time in which the speed of scientific advancement in cardiovascular medicine is almost staggering. Journals and scientific meetings overflow with quality research abstracts and even a simple scan of the nation’s newspapers each day reveals important new findings in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. This issue of US Cardiovascular Disease, for example, includes a wealth of cutting-edge information on many aspects of cardiovascular care, and I am enthusiastic about recommending it to you. The review of current research and clinical progress contained herein is impressive. This abundance of research, however, is not enough. Equally important are our efforts to transform this ground-breaking science into practice—to incorporate the newest findings into the day-to-day treatment of patients.
At the American College of Cardiology (ACC), transforming science into practice is at the core of our mission. For nearly 60 years we have been at the forefront of constant improvement in the quality of cardiovascular care. We take a comprehensive, end-toend, evidence-centered approach with the goal of making extraordinary care ordinary. We review and present to our members the latest science in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) and at our Annual Scientific Sessions. In the past several years we have expanded our meetings to include the I2 Summit, where we present the latest findings in interventional cardiology, and in 2008 we will introduce two new journals in the JACC family that focus on interventional care and imaging.
ACC’s educational offerings also encompass a wide array of choices designed to make continuing medical education accessible to the busy clinician. From the heritage of our live programs to our digital clinical portal Cardiosource and the latest in selfassessment tools, the College seeks to deliver the very best in cardiovascular knowledge. We work hand in hand with the American Heart Association in the development and dissemination of guidelines and clinical documents for every aspect of patient care. These guidelines assist in clinical decision-making by describing a range of generally accepted approaches for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of specific conditions. They represent the gold standard of care and are the embodiment of our bench-to-bedside approach.
The College also has devised a new series of Appropriateness Criteria to assist practitioners in applying the exciting new diagnostic technologies available to them. These criteria combine scientific knowledge and guidelines with clinical findings to create evidence-based guidelines for the most appropriate use of cardiovascular imaging procedures. Our guidelines then form the foundation for specific, nationwide quality improvement initiatives.
Finally, we are dedicated to measuring our progress toward improving the quality of care. Our National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR™) collects information from participating hospitals on patient risk factors, procedures, devices, and clinical outcomes. Many states and payers, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, now require participation in one or more of the NCDR™ Registries. At ACC we have dedicated ourselves to the publication of science, the delivery of knowledge through channels such as US Cardiovascular Disease, the continuous application of standards, and the measurement of results. It is only through this ‘circle of quality’ that we can ensure that each scientific advance contributes directly to the improvement of patient care. Enjoy this edition of US Cardiovascular Disease—it is also dedicated to this emerging vision of quality and continuous professional development.