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Published:  April 25, 2012

St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Home of Texas Heart® Institute, Receives Re-Accreditation from Society of Chest Pain Centers

St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (St. Luke’s), home of Texas Heart® Institute (THI), has received a full three-year re-accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with PCI from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC). The accreditation, which St. Luke’s first received in March 2009, recognizes the hospital’s expertise in providing quality care to patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack.

PCI refers to percutaneous coronary intervention, or angioplasty. The national standard to perform an emergency angioplasty to unblock a heart artery is 90 minutes. St. Luke’s time consistently averages below 60 minutes.

Margaret M. Van Bree, DrPH, Chief Executive Officer, St. Luke’s, and Senior Vice President, St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, said, “This accreditation validates the processes we have implemented and continually review to ensure that we meet or exceed the national standards for responding to heart attacks. The ultimate beneficiaries of this recognition are the patients and the communities we serve.”

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether or not they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

With the increase in chest pain centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. SCPC’s accreditation process ensures that centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center at St. Luke’s has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and undergoing an onsite review by a team of SPCP’s accreditation review specialists. Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include the following:

  • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
  • Assessing, diagnosing and treating patients quickly
  • Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
  • Ensuring the competence and training of Chest Pain Center personnel
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
  • Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack

St. Luke’s in-house response team is prepared to perform an emergency angioplasty to unblock a heart artery 24 hours a day. St. Luke’s also has established a STEMI transfer network to facilitate rapid transfer of heart attack patients from other hospitals’ emergency departments.


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