Saving the life of someone suffering from chest pain depends on one key factor: Time.
You should call for an ambulance to get to an emergency room immediately when you have chest pain or other unusual symptoms, such as arm, neck or jaw pain, shortness of breath or nausea accompanied by a cold sweat or clamminess.
People with chest pain arriving at Western Baptist are taken immediately to the Chest Pain Center in the hospital’s Emergency department. The seven-bed center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The dedicated staff includes registered nurses with additional training in acute coronary syndrome and cardiac care.
The goal of the Chest Pain Center is to save lives. Research shows that time saved is heart muscle saved.
Each year, more than 5 million Americans enter the hospital with chest pain. In 2007, approximately 17 percent of all Western Baptist Emergency department patients entered the hospital with heart attack symptoms.
Unfortunately, most people wait too long—an average of more than two hours after first noticing symptoms—to seek treatment. Acting more quickly, however, can help save lives.
Patients must recognize symptoms quickly, and physicians must diagnose the problem and initiate treatment quickly to increase chances of successful treatment and survival.
Emergency department physicians at Western Baptist diagnose patients quickly through a series of tests and blood work to confirm or rule out a heart attack.
When someone comes in with chest pain:
* The goal is to perform an electrocardiogram (EKG) within 10 minutes of a chest pain patient’s arrival, followed by a series of blood tests to check for elevated cardiac enzymes.
* If a heart attack is diagnosed, the goal is to get the patient to the heart catheterization lab as quickly as possible and open the blocked vessel within 90 minutes. Western Baptist Hospital exceeds that standard by averaging 81 minutes for all heart attack patients in 2007.
The opening of the Baptist Heart Center last year has helped the Chest Pain Center exceed national standards. The center’s proximity to the Emergency department speeds patients’ care and streamlines the treatment process.