Multiple UH Hospitals Receive Recognition with Accreditation from The American College of Cardiology

Friday, May 27, 2022

Programs have proven exceptional competency in treating patients with chest pain and heart attack symptoms

Multiple University Hospitals (UH) Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute locations across Northeast Ohio have received recognition demonstrating expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain. This month, the sites were awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI from The American College of Cardiology (ACC). This accreditation was given based on rigorous evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is also known as coronary angioplasty. It is a non-surgical procedure that opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries with a stent or balloon to relieve symptoms of heart disease or reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack.
UH Ahuja, Elyria, Geauga, Lake West, Parma, Portage, and St. John Medical Centers were reaccredited as Chest Pain Centers with Primary PCI. UH Cleveland Medical Center is also accredited in this area.
Hospitals that have earned Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI have proven exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms and have primary PCI available 24/7 every day of the year. As required to meet the criteria of the accreditation designation, they comply with standard Chest Pain Center protocols and procedures. These facilities also maintain a "No Diversion Policy" for STEMI patients. ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI, is a type of heart attack that mainly affects the heart's ventricles or lower chambers. No diversion means patients receive urgent treatment and are not transferred to another hospital for these symptoms.
“It’s our mission to bring the highest quality care and procedures closer to where our patients live,” said Mehdi Shishehbor, DO, MPH, PhD, President, UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, and Angela and James Hambrick Chair in Innovation. “We want patients visiting any University Hospitals facility to receive the same, superior care. This accreditation shows the community that their hospital facility will provide first-class treatment, 24/7, any time they may need it.”  
Hospitals receiving Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI from the ACC must take part in a multi-faceted clinical process that involves completing a gap analysis, examining variances of care, developing an action plan, a rigorous site review, and monitoring for sustained success. Improved methods and strategies of caring for patients include streamlining processes, implementing of guidelines and standards, and adopting best practices in the care of patients experiencing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
Additionally, UH Bedford, Conneaut, Geneva, Richmond and Samaritan Medical Centers were reaccredited by the ACC as Chest Pain Centers. These hospitals triage patients with heart attack symptoms and facilitate movement to another facility which performs PCI procedures. Chest Pain Center accreditation requires active collaboration with local EMS providers. This designation is recognition of the team approach between these hospitals and community EMS, resulting in optimal outcomes for patients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 730,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year. The most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort. However, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms. Other heart attack symptoms include, but are not limited to, shortness of breath, cold sweat, unusual tiredness, heartburn-like feeling, nausea or vomiting, sudden dizziness and/or fainting, as well as tingling or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck or jaw.
“Our facilities have met or exceeded an array of stringent criteria to achieve these honors,” said Dr. Shishehbor. “We have organized a team of doctors, nurses, clinicians, and other administrative staff who earnestly support the efforts leading to improved outcomes for patients across Northeast Ohio.”

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