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National society re-accredits Yale New Haven Hospital as a chest pain center

12/17/12 — The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care has announced that Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) has earned another full accreditation as a Chest Pain Center. YNHH is the first hospital in Connecticut to receive the society's enhanced level Cycle IV accreditation and is accredited as a Chest Pain Center with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI). PCI, a non-surgical procedure, restores blood flow to a narrowed area within the affected coronary artery.

To achieve PCI designation, a hospital must have on-site 24/7 emergent catheter laboratory capabilities and must have successfully performed 36 primary PCIs for over the 12 months prior to the site visit. Accredited chest pain centers assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack and effectively reduce the time from the onset of symptoms to treatment that preserves heart muscle. Chest pain centers accredited by Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care are also committed to educating the public to the symptoms of heart attack and giving tips for a healthy lifestyle.

"Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide," said Henry Cabin, MD, medical director of Yale New Haven Heart and Vascular Center. "The life of a patient who is having a heart attack is affected by different people in different places — from the onset of the patient's symptoms, the actions of emergency medical services, to where the patient is treated, how blood is restored to the heart, the observation unit, treatment, cardiac rehabilitation and discharge."

"Hospitals vary in their processes and outcomes, so Chest Pain Center accreditation really says a lot about the quality of care patients will receive," added Dr. Cabin.

According to the SCPC, an accredited Chest Pain Center is generally thought to provide better care, better prognosis, better quality of life, faster treatment and decreased length of stay in the hospital. Such hospitals help ensure that patients get the treatment they need during the early stages of a heart attack. Their goal is to reduce the time from the patient's arrival at the emergency department to treatment — to avoid as much heart damage as possible.

In addition, accredited Chest Pain Centers better integrate the emergency department with the local emergency medical system, continually improve processes and procedures, ensure the competency and training of Chest Pain Center staff and support community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack.

Part of the accreditation process requires staff and public education about signs, symptoms and risk factors for heart disease. Experts at Yale New Haven stress that quick action is the most important factor if a patient has symptoms such as chest discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body — arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach, shortness of breath, dizziness, light-headedness or fainting, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, sweating or unexplained weakness or fatigue. Women might have slightly different symptoms, including a sense of impending doom, discomfort between the shoulder blades or clammy skin.

Yale New Haven Hospital is recognized among the best in the country for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S.News & World Report's annual "Best Hospitals" list. YNHH's Heart and Vascular Center is a national pioneer in developing new heart treatments and therapies. As Connecticut's premier referral center, YNHH receives some of the most difficult heart patients from throughout New England — patients who come for heart transplants, high-risk valve or bypass surgery and angioplasty, as well as those who have irregular heart rhythms requiring an expert cardiologist.