By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

St. Jude Medical Foundation is donating $1 million to improve hospital care for heart failure patients in Minnesota and Texas.

The pilot sponsorship program for the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure initiative will fund staff, training, clinical tools, patient education materials and data analysis at hospitals in Minneapolis and Austin.

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart becomes weak and can’t supply the cells with enough blood and oxygen. This can result in swelling, fatigue and shortness of breath, making everyday activities difficult.

Nearly 6 million Americans have heart failure, which increases the risk of death and is a leading cause for hospital re-admission.

The Get With The Guidelines program helps hospitals deliver high-quality care based on scientific guidelines. Studies shows that guidelines-based care leads to fewer trips back to the hospital and better patient results.

“We have incredible respect for the work the American Heart Association has done to improve the life of heart failure patients and their families,” said Rachel Ellingson, vice president of Global Communications at St. Jude Medical and St. Jude Medical Foundation President.

The gift will help communities address heart failure re-admission rates, Ann Jerome, executive director of the AHA’s Austin office, said in a news release. Barbara Ducharme, executive director of the AHA’s office in Minneapolis, said the organization is grateful for the gift that will improve patient health.