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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 - VCU Medical Center receives national chest pain center accreditation

The VCU Medical Center has received Chest Pain Accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. This accreditation, which is in effect for three years, demonstrates that the medical center has integrated the best practices and newest paradigms for treating patients in our cardiac care services through the VCU Pauley Heart Center.

“This accreditation further demonstrates our dedication to excellence and quality care that patients receive at the VCU Medical Center,” said Dr. Sheldon Retchin, CEO of the VCU Health System and vice president of VCU Health Sciences. “It exemplifies our stellar reputation for patient care and why we’re ranked as one of the best hospitals in the country.”

Pauley Heart Center’s state-of-the-art heart care works seamlessly with area emergency medical services, the VCU Department of Emergency Medicine and other departments within the hospital to ensure that patients get the treatment they need during the critical early stages of a heart attack.

The Acute Chest Pain Management unit at Pauley is nationally recognized for its diagnosis system that quickly and reliably identifies emergency patients suspected of having acute cardiac disease. The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory is available 24 hours, 7 days a week to open blocked arteries with a therapy called percutaneous coronary intervention, or balloon angioplasty.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) recommends that acute heart attack patients receive balloon angioplasty within 90 minutes of hospital arrival. At Pauley, the recommendation is met with 100 percent of our patients, far exceeding the AHA and ACC goal of 75 percent.

“When time is of the essence, our Accredited Chest Pain Center seal provides reassurance that the VCU Medical Center is a hospital you can trust to provide the best possible outcomes in heart care,” said Dr. George W. Vetrovec, chair of the Division of Cardiology. “This certification affirms our outstanding, publicly reported data demonstrating our excellent compliance with national guidelines for optimal management of Myocardial Infarction.

“The Emergency Department and the Pauley Heart Center utilize the most advanced systems and procedures to ensure that heart attack patients get appropriate treatment fast. If you have a heart attack, VCU is the place to come,” added Vetrovec.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. The goal of the Society of Chest Pain Centers 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.

“People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake,” said Dr. Joseph P. Ornato, chair of Emergency Medicine. “The average patient arrives in the Emergency Department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they may not know is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome.”

About the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC)

The Society of Chest Pain Centers is a patient centric non-profit international professional organization focused upon improving care for patients with acute coronary syndromes and other related maladies. Established in 1998, the Society is dedicated to patient advocacy and focusing on ischemic heart disease. Central to its mission is the question, “What is right for the patient?” In answer, the Society promotes protocol-based medicine, often delivered through a Chest Pain Center model to address the diagnosis and treatment of acute coronary syndromes, heart failure, and to promote the adoption of process improvement science by healthcare providers. SCPC is headquartered in Columbus Ohio.

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