Background: Acute coronary syndromes (ACS), including the spectrum of conditions from unstable angina to ST segment elevation myocardial infarction, represent a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. GRACE (the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events) is a large, prospective, multinational observational study of patients hospitalized with ACS. The aim of GRACE is to improve the quality of care for patients with ACS by describing differences in, and relationships between, patient characteristics, treatment practices, and in-hospital and postdischarge outcomes at hospitals around the world. A goal of this study is to study approximately 10,000 patients with ACS on an annual basis.
Methods: A total of 18 cluster sites in 14 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are currently collaborating in GRACE. Clusters were chosen on the basis of local demographic characteristics and hospital facilities to ensure a representative sample of patients with ACS from each country. Patients are identified by use of either active or passive surveillance approaches. A standardized core case report form is completed for all patients. Information on patient demographics, medical history, acute symptoms, clinical characteristics, electrocardiographic findings, treatment approaches, and in-hospital outcomes is collected. Patients are followed up at 6 months after hospital discharge to identify recurrent coronary events, use of various medications, and mortality.
Conclusions: The information collected from the GRACE project will provide important and extensive insights into patient demographic and clinical characteristics, current practice patterns, and outcomes for patients with ACS from a number of countries throughout the world. Given the pressures of practicing evidence-based medicine, the results of GRACE should provide a multinational perspective into these important outcomes and identify practice variations that will allow new opportunities to improve patient care.