Thursday, February 01, 2007
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A new chest pain evaluation unit has opened at Presbyterian Hospital's uptown campus. The newly constructed space, located adjacent to the emergency department, will be staffed 24 hours a day by cardiac registered nurses who will focus exclusively on evaluating patients experiencing symptoms that may indicate a life-threatening heart condition.
"Heart attacks are the leading cause of adult deaths in America," said John Pasquini, M.D., medical director of Presbyterian Hospital's Chest Pain Center. "When a heart attack occurs, you have a very small window of time before the heart muscle becomes damaged. For those patients who are experiencing not so obvious symptoms of a heart attack, they will now be cared for by a cardiac team of clinicians in a unit that is dedicated solely for them," added Dr. Pasquini.
The organization is also celebrating another milestone. Presbyterian Hospital is the first Chest Pain Center in North Carolina to achieve Cycle II designation, showing that it meets the highest national standards for the care of heart attack and chest pain patients. The goal of the Society of Chest Pain Centers is to significantly reduce patient mortality rates by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment. Presbyterian Hospital's Chest Pain Center received its first accreditation in 2004.
Presbyterian Hospitals accreditation as a Chest Pain Center means that clinicians take a protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management. This approach allows physicians to reduce treatment time during the early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective. This system also allows clinicians to better monitor patients when it is unclear if they are having a coronary event - a process that helps ensure that a patient is not sent home too early or needlessly admitted.
"This accreditation lets the public know that our hospital is a place that meets the very highest national standards for patients with chest pain and heart attacks," explained Dr. Pasquini.
To achieve accreditation, Presbyterian Hospital had to demonstrate expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and completing on-site evaluations by a review team from the Society of Chest Pain Centers.
Key areas in which a Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include:
- Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
- Assessing, diagnosing and treating patients quickly
- Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
- Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
- Insuring Chest Pain Center personnel competency and training
- Maintaining organizational structure and procedures
- Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack.