Chest Pain Accreditation - Bellevue Medical Center
Chest pain is nothing to be taken lightly. Heart attack is the leading cause of death in the United States. Patients who come to Bellevue Medical Center can now be confident that they will receive the best cardiac care possible. The medical center recently received accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC), an international non-profit organization committed to fighting heart disease and transforming cardiovascular care. "This certification helps set us apart from other medical centers," said Terrence Slattery, MD, cardiologist and medical director of Bellevue Medical Center's chest pain center. "This confirms that we have a dedicated team of clinicians in place who collaborate to provide processes that are extremely efficient and effective to achieve the most optimal outcomes for our patients." Dr. Slattery added, when it comes to heart attacks, efficiency is critical. "The sooner you get to the emergency department and receive treatment, the better your outcome will be," he said. "Our goal is to get your artery open within 90 minutes of your chest pain." This new designation means local patients and Emergency Medical Services workers will, in many cases, have quicker access to an Accredited Chest Pain Center. The SCPC estimates that 85 percent of muscle damage takes place within the first hour of a heart attack. Access to cardiac care during that critical window of time, often referred to as the "golden hour," may allow heart muscle to be preserved. Bellevue Medical Center's protocol allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether or not they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted to the hospital. To meet SCPC standards, Bellevue Medical Center demonstrated expertise in: 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 Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel Maintaining organizational structure and commitment Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack While heart attacks remain the leading cause of death, Dr. Slattery said people who recognize the symptoms and get to a hospital have a good chance of survival. "Those individuals who come to the hospital are fairly unlikely to die from a heart attack," he said. "The risk of dying rises significantly, however, for those who don't come to the hospital."