When There's Chest Pain, There's No Time To Lose
Chest pain can be the result of many different causes. But if it's being triggered by a heart attack, there's no time to lose. A heart attack results from a blockage in the flow of oxygen-rich blood through the coronary arteries to a section of heart muscle. If the blockage isn't treated and blood flow restored quickly, that section of heart muscle fed by the artery begins to die.
That's why Alegent Creighton Health, the area's leading provider of cardiovascular care, has established the Chest Pain Center.
Accredited Chest Pain Centers are located within the emergency departments at all six Alegent Creighton Health metro hospitals. These centers serve as a triage point to quickly diagnose and treat chest pain, so patients receive the level of care that is most appropriate for their condition and with the goal of minimizing damage to the heart in the event of a heart attack.
Know the Signs
Chest pain is not something anyone should take lightly. Know the signs of a heart attack:
- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes.
- Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms may also occur.
- Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
Should any of these symptoms occur, don't waste time – call 911.
What It Means to be an Accredited Chest Pain Center
Hospitals that have received Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the healthcare system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.
To receive this accreditation, we engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for our ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. For you, this means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:
- Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
- Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
- Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital
As a separate unit of the emergency department, each Chest Pain Center allows individuals with chest pain to receive immediate medical attention in an area that is specially reserved for them.
Treatment From Highly Trained Professionals
Each Chest Pain Center is staffed 24 hours a day by nurses with critical care training and experienced emergency physicians. Cardiologists are also available at all times. Working with your physician, The Chest Pain Center professional staff works with your primary care physician to determine the care plan that best meets your medical needs, personal preferences and insurance coverage.
The Most Advanced Technology
Should chest pain be the result of a heart condition, you can feel confident in the care you receive knowing that the Chest Pain Center team has access to the most advanced cardiovascular technology. This technology includes:
- Invasive and non-invasive procedures which help determine the areas of the heart being affected;
- The area's only Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner that can actually detect the presence of coronary artery disease and determine the health of the heart following a heart attack;
- Clot-dissolving drugs and other therapies which can help stop the heart attack and prevent the need for more extensive procedures.
To obtain more information about any of our Chest Pain Centers, call 1-800-ALEGENT (1-800-253-4368) or e-mail.