ROCKPORT — Pen Bay Medical Center has received the American Heart Association’s Gold Get With The Guidelines®-AFIB Quality Achievement Award for its commitment to managing atrial fibrillation, ultimately helping to reduce patients’ stroke risk.

More than 2.7 million adults suffer from AFIB, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke and other complications. People with AFIB are at a five times greater risk for stroke, but proper treatment can reduce these risks. Get With The Guidelines-AFIB was developed to assist healthcare professionals to provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines for treating AFIB patients.

“Pen Bay Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our patients with atrial fibrillation by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-AFIB initiative,” said Dr. Mark Eggena, chief medical officer for PBMC. “The end goal is to ensure more people in Knox County can experience longer, healthier lives.”

Each year program participants apply for the award recognition by demonstrating how their organization has committed to providing quality care for AFIB patients. In addition to following treatment guidelines, participants also provide education to patients to help them manage their AFIB once at home. There are four levels of achievement — Gold, Silver, Bronze and Participating.

“We are pleased to recognize Pen Bay Medical Center for their commitment to atrial fibrillation care,” said Dr. Jonathan Piccini, volunteer expert for the American Heart Association and associate professor of medicine and director of cardiac electrophysiology for Duke University Medical Center. “Hospitals that follow Get With The Guidelines protocols often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates – a win for healthcare systems, families and communities.”