February 17, 2011

Chest pain society lauds rapid response efforts

Chest pain society lauds rapid response efforts

Vanderbilt University Medical Center recently received Cycle III accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers, placing it among providers offering optimal services — including 24-hour cath lab access and percutaneous intervention (PCI) — for the diagnosis and treatment of acute coronary syndromes.

“Aside from continuing to work on improving the time it takes to get a patient from the scene of an emergency to the cath lab, we will be focusing on evaluating and treating inpatients who report chest pain within 90 minutes,” said Carol Parsons, R.N., M.S.N., Chest Pain Center coordinator.

“We are working to improve that time with the establishment of a rapid response team.”

Collaboration among the Emergency Department, EMS, and Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute has helped change the mindset about the treatment of chest pain.

Everyone who comes in contact with patients recognizes that “time is muscle,” meaning that the faster a patient with chest pain is correctly diagnosed and treated the more cardiac muscle is saved.

Such collaboration has led to exceptional door-to-balloon and EMS personnel-to-balloon times for treating one of the most severe forms of heart attack — ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

The American College of Cardiology recommends a door-to balloon-time of 90 minutes or less for 75 percent of heart attack victims. Vanderbilt's median door-to-balloon time for all cases in fiscal year 2010 was 51 minutes with 100 percent within 90 minutes.

There are eight key areas that a center must demonstrate in order to receive Cycle III accreditation:

• ED integration/relationship with EMS,
• Emergency assessment of patients with symptoms of ACS,
• Assessment of patients with low risk for ACS and no assignable cause for their symptoms,
• Process improvement,
• Personnel, competencies and training,
• Organizational structure and commitment,
• Functional facility design, and
• Community outreach.

The Society of Chest Pain Centers has three goals: to reduce the mortality rate of chest pain patients through education; to reduce the time it takes to receive treatment; and to increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

“It is extremely important to Vanderbilt to provide the best care possible for patients. The accreditation process provides us with the opportunity to measure ourselves and to make sure we are doing our best,” Parsons said.