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Hypertension Center Earns Gold Plus Recognition from American Heart Association

Article Summary
  • Gold Plus distinction is awarded to health care organizations that attest to at least four of six evidence-based blood pressure activities.
  • The Comprehensive Hypertension Center is responding to an urgent need in the U.S., where half of the adults have high blood pressure.
  • Dr. Maria Delgado-Lelievre says the center’s foundational pillars result in effective, patient-centered care.

The University of Miami Comprehensive Hypertension Center (UMCHC), part of UHealth – University of Miami Health System and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has received the Gold Plus distinction from the American Heart Association (AHA).

AHA awarded the distinction as part of its Target: BP™ initiative, a collaboration with the American Medical Association in response to the high prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure. Gold Plus distinction is awarded to health care organizations that attest to at least four of six evidence-based blood pressure activities in the categories of equipment calibration and validation, staff knowledge and skills and systems of care.

A Critical Need for Blood Pressure Care

Nearly half of the adults in the U.S. are grappling with high blood pressure, or hypertension. Less than half have their blood pressure under control, underlining the urgency of both diagnosis and effective management.

University of Miami Comprehensive Hypertension Center director Maria Delgado-Lelievre in her white clinic coat
University of Miami Comprehensive Hypertension Center director Maria Delgado-Lelievre, M.D., says the center’s foundation pillars lead to effective, patient-centered care.

Heart disease and stroke, ranking as the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in the U.S., respectively, with stroke the leading cause of disability. 

Maria Delgado-Lelievre, M.D., assistant professor of medicine for the Miller School and founding director of UMCHC, emphasizes the pivotal role of blood pressure management in achieving superior cardiovascular health.

“High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke that can often be prevented or managed if diagnosed and treated properly,” she said. 

While the Gold Plus recognition is a testament to the level of comprehensive, evidence-based care at the UMCHC, Dr. Delgado-Lelievre says the achievement reflects the dedication and collaboration of the entire organization. 

UMCHC earned AHA accreditation in 2021 and remains the sole AHA-recognized center in Florida, demonstrating its continued leadership and excellence in cardiovascular care and research. 

The Pillars of Effective Care 

Dr. Delgado-Lelievre shed light on the four pillars that underpin UMCHC’s innovative approach: 

  • Genetic and family history assessment: UMCHC delves deep into a patient’s genetic and family history, recognizing the significance of inherited risk factors. 
  • Risk factors and epigenetic factors: Understanding how environment and behavior affects genes is vital in determining a patient’s cardiovascular risk. 
  • Biochemical analysis: Salt sensitivity and abnormal potassium level identification provides a holistic view of a patient’s biochemistry. 
  • Physiological study of blood pressure variability: UMCHC’s understanding of the physiological aspects of blood pressure variation is key to a comprehensive assessment of cardiovascular health. 

These pillars foster a personalized medicine approach and introduces patients to self-care strategies that can aid in the prevention of heart-related conditions. 

Dr. Delgado-Lelievre also stressed the significance of this approach for young populations who may be unaware of the risks associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. UMCHC also emphasizes the importance of addressing younger patients who may be unaware of hypertension and cardiovascular disease risks and recognizes the unique challenges for women, who have evolving cardiovascular needs through significant life stages like childbearing, pregnancy, pre-menopause, and menopause.

Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Care, Compelling Research

UMCHC customizes hypertension processes and encourages collaborations among medical disciplines. The center connects patients with experts in appropriate fields to ensure individualized and effective care.

UMCHC’s research delves into patient-centered studies, hypertension disparities, blood pressure control, and new, holistic approaches. That research transforms patient care, with high-tech procedural advancements like renal artery denervation allowing 24-hour blood pressure monitoring.

Awards like the AHA Gold Plus designation stem from UMCHC’s commitment to establishing new and better standards in cardiovascular health, fostering prevention, and leading the charge in transformative research.

Tags: Comprehensive Hypertension Center, Dr. Maria Delgado-Lelievre