URBANA – Carle Foundation Hospital has become one of 15 hospitals in the state to receive accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers, an international nonprofit organization devoted to reducing heart fatalities.
Accredited chest-pain centers show they can reduce the time it takes for a potential heart-attack patient to see a doctor, according to John Snyder, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Carle.
The society requires accredited hospitals to meet such criteria as having an emergency department that offers a full array of emergency cardiac care and minimizes delays in treating chest pain and related symptoms.
Accredited hospitals must also have strong patient outcomes, cooperative relationships between cardiologists and emergency-department doctors, standardized care for patients with chest pain, an integrated relationship with local emergency medical services and a facility optimally designed to evaluate chest pain. They must also have a program that monitors and evaluates low-risk patients to avoid releasing them with a heart attack or chest pain and a community outreach program advising people to seek medical care quickly when they have symptoms of a heart attack.
Carle officials said their hospital also surpassed accreditation standards by being one of seven in Illinois to offer angioplasty to treat narrowed arteries of the heart.
The Carle emergency department last year saw about 3,700 patients with chest pain and related symptoms, the hospital said.
Minutes can make a difference in treating heart patients, according to Dr. Matthew Gibb, head of cardiology and medical director of Carle's cardiac catheterization lab. The hospital has an interventional cardiology team on call around the clock and has a consistent track record for getting a patient from the emergency department to a catheterization lab procedure in 60 minutes or less, he said.
Carle's Arrow Ambulance teams are also trained to diagnose and communicate about heart conditions in the field, and typically notify the cardiology team before the ambulance arrives at the hospital, he said.
Provena Covenant Medical Center and Provena United Samaritans Medical Center are in the process of seeking chest-pain-center accreditation, and two other hospitals in its six-hospital system – those in Joliet and Aurora – already have it, said Provena spokeswoman Kimberly Garrison.