December 12, 2008
John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital in Phoenix has been granted the highest possible accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention, also known as angioplasty), in recognition of its rapid and effective medical care for heart patients.
Of the 6,000-plus hospitals in the United States, only about 1,500 carry this designation, awarded by the international Society of Chest Pain Centers.
North Mountain's track record — consistently evaluating the cause of emergency patients' chest pain and starting appropriate medical treatment in less time than the national 90-minute standard — was a key factor that led to its accreditation.
"Our Level I Trauma and Emergency Department staff exceeded all of the current guidelines and recommendations for acute heart attack care — and our technology is on the cutting edge," said Gary Kauffman, MD, FACC, interventional cardiologist and director of Cardiology Services at North Mountain Hospital.
"Quick medical attention is of utmost importance when patients have a heart attack," Dr. Kauffman said. When patients have heart attacks, flow of fresh oxygenated blood to the heart muscle is restricted or totally blocked. Without fresh blood, heart muscle starts to die. Balloon angioplasty restores blood flow to the heart, and 90 percent of the time, North Mountain patients receive that treatment in less time than the national standard.
"The faster you can get the artery open, the better the outcome is going to be for a patient to resume normal activities because less damage will be done to the heart," Dr. Kauffman explained.
To be credentialed as a Chest Pain Center with PCI, a facility must successfully meet the Society's standards in eight key areas:
- Emergency Department integration with the state's Emergency Medical System.
- Timely assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients with chest pain.
- Observation program to monitor/evaluate low-risk patients with no obvious cause for chest pain, as well as to avoid discharging patients with undiagnosed but serious problems.
- Facilities designed for optimal care.
- Leadership, physicians and nurses trained to specialize in care for patients with heart attack symptoms.
- Operations based on continuous quality improvement to ensure quality care and proper use of resources.
- A commitment to community outreach to educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they have chest pain or other disease symptoms.
John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital also is accredited as a Chest Pain Center with PCI, and both John C. Lincoln Hospitals have been credentialed by the state of Arizona as Cardiac Arrest Centers in recognition of their state-of-the-art treatment of patients whose hearts have stopped beating.
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