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Clin Cardiol. 2012;35(7):396-403. doi: 10.1002/clc.22023.

Trends in smoking cessation counseling: experience from American Heart Association-get with the guidelines.

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Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



Successful smoking cessation in stroke and coronary artery disease (CAD) patients is important, as smoking contributes to significant morbidity and mortality. The American Heart Association developed Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) to improve compliance with national guideline recommendations for cardiovascular care. Using data from GWTG, we examined trends associated with the smoking-cessation counseling (SCC) performance measure.


Implementation of a systematic quality improvement program will increase compliance with the SCC performance measure.


We evaluated compliance with SCC in current or recent smokers identified from 224 671 CAD admissions between 2002 and 2008 in the GWTG-CAD database, and from 405 681 stroke admissions between 2002 and 2007 in the GWTG-Stroke database. Additionally, we examined adherence to other performance and quality measures related to CAD and stroke care.


Overall, 55 904 GWTG-CAD and 58 865 GWTG-Stroke admissions were used for the analysis. Rates of SCC improved in each successive year during the study, from 67.6% to 97.4% (P < 0.001) in GWTG-CAD and from 40.1% to 90.7% (P < 0.001) in GWTG-Stroke. Compliance with SCC was up to 34.7% lower (P < 0.0001) in GWTG-Stroke compared with GWTG-CAD, but this difference decreased to 6.7% (P < 0.0001) by the end of the study period. Compliance with many other performance and quality measures was significantly lower among patients not receiving SCC.


Get With The Guidelines has improved compliance with the SCC performance measure among patients with CAD and stroke. Although the initial disparity in rates of SCC between CAD and stroke patients gradually improved, the difference remained significant.

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