DERRY — Parkland Medical Center has received Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers, an international not-for-profit organization that focuses on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction.
Hospitals that have received this accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack.
They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms.
The hospitals also serve as a point of entry into the health-care system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.
The hospital's cardiology program, which is staffed by physicians from the New England Heart Institute, has been consistently recognized for high quality care and ranks among the state's fastest door to balloon times.
This means that a streamlined process that involves emergency medical providers, Parkland's board-certified emergency department physicians, and cardiology team is followed each and every time a patient experiencing chest pain or a cardiac emergency calls 911.
These measures, along with Parkland being located in a Heart Safe Community, ensure that patients in the Greater Derry community have some of the most advanced cardiac resources available right in their neighborhood.
To become an accredited Chest Pain Center, Parkland engaged in rigorous evaluation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers for its ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
To the community served by Parkland, this means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment; treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved, and monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital.
"People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that's a mistake," said Andrew Cohen, a cardiologist at the New England Heart Institute at Parkland Medical Center, and the medical director of Parkland's cardiology program. "The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don't realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient."
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