The Initiative HEARTS in the Americas, led by the Ministries of Health with the participation of local stakeholders and the technical cooperation of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), has been recognized by the World Heart Awards in the category of "Advocacy in Cardiovascular Health". The award, given by the World Heart Federation, honors individuals and organizations for their efforts in the fight against cardiovascular diseases and the promotion of heart health worldwide.
The HEARTS Initiative seeks to progressively integrate into existing health delivery services to promote the adoption of global best practices in the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of death worldwide. The strategy also improves the performance of health services through better blood pressure control and prevention, with an emphasis on the primary health care.
The Initiative is being implemented in more than 1,400 health centers in 22 countries, across the Region. By 2025, HEARTS will be the model for cardiovascular risk management, including hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, in primary health care (PHC) in the Americas.
Countries and territories in the Americas that have joined the HEARTS Initiative include Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Dominica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The HEARTS technical package modules are:
Healthy-lifestyle counselling. Information on the four behavioral risk factors for CVD is provided. Brief interventions are described as an approach to providing counselling on risk factors and encouraging people to have healthy lifestyles. Click here to access.
Evidence: evidence-based treatment protocols. A collection of protocols to standardize a clinical approach to the management of hypertension and diabetes. HEARTS emphasizes adaptation, dissemination, and use of a standardized set of simple clinical-management protocols, which should be drug- and dose-specific, and include a core set of medications. Click here to access.
Access to essential medicines and technology. Information on CVD medicine and technology procurement, quantification, distribution, management and handling of supplies at facility level. Click here to access.
Risk-based CVD management. CVD management based on risk stratification. Information based on a total risk approach to cardiovascular risk assessment and management, plus stratification charts for each region. Click here to access.
Team-based care. Guidance and examples on team-based care and task shifting related to the care of CVD. Some training materials are also provided. Click here to access.
Systems for monitoring. Information on how to monitor and report on the prevention and management of CVD. Contains standardized indicators and data-collection tools. Click here to access.
More information on the HEARTS Initiative
PAHO recently published a guide for the implementation of the initiative that elaborates on specific lessons learned through systematic implementation in the Americas. It provides the steps for implementation which requires coordination across ministry of health (MOH) departments, stakeholders, partner agencies, scientific societies, and academic institutions. (Access the publication HEARTS in the Americas: Guide and Essentials for Implementation)
Additionally, HEARTS in the Americas works with countries on the use of correct measurement protocols, the validation of blood pressure monitoring devices, and the strengthening of regulatory frameworks to ensure the exclusive use of validated monitors. (Check the publication: HEARTS in the Americas: Regulatory Pathway to the Exclusive Use of Validated Blood Pressure Measuring Devices).
In addition, PAHO has made a cardiovascular risk calculator available to all primary care professionals and the general public. This free application calculates the possible 10-year risk of myocardial infarction, stroke or cardiovascular death.
Check other publications
Drivers and scorecards to improve hypertension control in primary care practice: Recommendations from the HEARTS in the Americas Innovation Group (The Lancet Regional Health: Americas)
2021 World Health Organization guideline on pharmacological treatment of hypertension: Policy implications for the region of the Americas (The Lancet Regional Health: Americas)
HEARTS in the Americas: a global example of using clinically validated automated blood pressure devices in cardiovascular disease prevention and management in primary health care settings (Journal of Human Hypertension)
The HEARTS app: a clinical tool for cardiovascular risk and hypertension management in primary health care (PAHO Journal of Public Health)