Chest Pain Center



When it comes to heart attacks, you need to get the right treatment fast. That’s why we felt it was so important to work towards accreditation as a chest pain center, through the Society of Chest Pain Centers. We’re proud to announce that we achieved that goal in April 2012, earning full accreditation status.

The Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) engages petitioning hospitals in a rigorous reevaluation and refinement of its cardiac care processes, in order to gain the coveted designation as a chest pain center. Our emergency team was challenged to integrate the healthcare industry’s most successful practices and newest paradigms into our cardiac care processes, in order to provide more efficient and effective evaluation and more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms.

“Hospitals that receive chest pain center status have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive in the emergency room with symptoms of a heart attack,” explains Memorial CEO Tim Hayward. “Chest pain centers emphasize the importance of standardizing the diagnosis and treatment processes for suspected heart attack patients. All medical personnel from the dispatcher in the call center to the paramedic in the field to the ER physician to the cardiologist have worked together, cultivating the most efficient and effective evaluation processes and the most appropriate, rapid treatment options for patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms.”

SCPCAccreditation“We’ve drilled down into every aspect of the care that we provide, from the signage on the street and how effectively it directs someone with chest pain into the ER, to how quickly we move a heart attack victim from the front door to the cath lab. Even our floor nurses who rarely deal with heart attacks had a role to play in helping us secure the chest pain center status, because they had to answer the surveyors’ questions about how they would react if a heart attack occurred on the floor,” Hayward continued.

The Society for Chest Pain Centers is an international not-for-profit organization that focuses on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence bringing together quality, cost and patient satisfaction. As the only cross-specialty organization, SCPC provides the support needed for hospitals to effectively bridge existing gaps in treatment by providing the tools, education and support necessary to successfully navigate the changing face of healthcare.  

As an Accredited Chest Pain Center, Nacogdoches Memorial ensures that patients who arrive at the hospital complaining of chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack receive the treatment necessary during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved. But preserving heart muscle needs not to be just the focus of the hospital. “Our community needs to understand the symptoms of a heart attack and the importance of getting medical attention quickly,” explains Hayward. “The most important message I can convey is that time equals heart muscle.”

“People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake. The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don’t realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient.”

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC’s (and Nacogdoches Memorial’s) goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients 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.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management 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.

Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include the following:

  • 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

About the Society of Chest Pain Centers is an international not-for-profit organization that focuses on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction. As the only cross-specialty organization, SCPC provides the support needed for individual hospitals and hospital systems to effectively bridge existing gaps in treatment by providing the tools, education and support necessary to successfully navigate the changing face of healthcare.   For more information on SCPC, accreditation and certification opportunities, visit www.scpcp.org, or call toll free 1-877-271-4176.

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