Erlanger Health System has received the highest level of Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC).

Society of Chest Pain Centers Accreditation seal

The Society’s Accreditation Review Committee awarded the Cycle III Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) to Erlanger on April 21, 2010. PCI is commonly known as angioplasty, a procedure used to treat narrowed arteries found in coronary heart disease. The Cycle III accreditation, awarded for a three-year period, is the highest and most difficult level of certification to achieve.

Erlanger’s state-of-the-art heart care works seamlessly with area emergency medical services and other departments to ensure that patients get the treatment they need during the critical early stages of a heart attack. Erlanger undertook a rigorous re-evaluation and refinement of heart care processes to integrate the industry’s best practices and newest paradigms into its cardiac care services.

As an Accredited Chest Pain Center, Erlanger ensures that patients who arrive in the Emergency Department complaining of chest pain or discomfort are given the immediate treatment necessary to avoid as much heart damage as possible. Protocol-based procedures developed by leading experts in cardiac care to reduce time to treatment in the critical early stages of a heart attack are part of Erlanger’s overall cardiac care service.

“People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake,” said Francis Fesmire, MD, Erlanger Emergency Chest Pain Center Medical Director. “Calling 9-1-1 immediately expedites your care. The average patient arrives in the Emergency Department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms. That’s because most people don’t realize that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome. Patients who arrive promptly at our Accredited Chest Pain Center can receive state-of-the-art care during that critical window of time when the integrity of the muscle can be preserved intact.”

The Accredited Chest Pain Center at Erlanger Health System demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Key areas in which a Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include:

  • 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 Chest Pain Center personnel competency and training
  • 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

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 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 they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that a patient is neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

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. To best fulfill this mission, the Society of Chest Pain Centers provides accreditation to facilities striving for optimum Chest Pain Center care. SCPC is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.