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China, US Group to Study Heart Health

  • Carol Pearson

The American Heart Association and China Tuesday formalized a partnership to educate the Chinese about cardiovascular disease and train people in CPR as ways to reduce deaths in the country.

The agreement provides for exchanges of researchers, doctors and public health specialists to work alongside counterparts in the U.S. and China. It also provides for teams of scientists to work together to advance scientific knowledge of cardiovascular health.

Cardiovascular disease, which includes strokes and heart attacks, is the No. 1 cause of premature death in China, as well as in many developing countries.

Studies show that cardiovascular disease causes more than 17 million deaths per year globally, and that number is expected to rise to 23 million in the next 15 years, deaths that could be prevented.

US rates falling

In the United States, death from heart disease has fallen 30 percent because of advances in medical science, education about preventing heart disease and knowledge of lifesaving CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation that can restart a stopped heart.

The American Heart Association said because of the sheer size of China's population, it's likely that a bystander will be called upon to help someone who is having a heart attack, which makes training in CPR vital.

Douglas Boyle, international committee chairman of the American Heart Association (AHA), speaking at the ceremony in Washington, said, "We believe that together we can change that by creating a world of life savers, a world where everyone can live a healthier and longer life."

Treating and educating people in one country about cardiovascular disease can benefit people in other countries. "By training more people in CPR, more lives can be saved," an AHA statement said.

Wang Zhigang, from China's Ministry of Science and Technology, called the U.S. one of China's very important partners. He said he welcomed the chance to elevate standards of care in his country and improve health in both the U.S. and China.

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