Tallahassee, FL — Capital Regional Medical Center (CRMC) officially received full Chest Pain Center Accreditation with PCI from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) this week.

“Capital Regional continues to strive to be a national leader in providing clinical quality, patient safety, and customer service,” said Janet White, RN, Cardiovascular Service Line Administrator at Capital Regional Medical Center. “Exceeding national standards for care of patients experiencing chest pain can mean the difference between life, death or disability for the patient. We are proud that the Capital Regional team has been recognized with this accreditation for their outstanding care of cardiac patients. Enhancing quality to a national standard is part of achieving our vision. The SCPC reviewer commented that with our excellent Door-to-Balloon times and evidenced-based medicine protocols, that CRMC is a best-practice facility.”

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.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), commonly known as coronary angioplasty or simply angioplasty, is one therapeutic procedure used to treat the stenotic (narrowed) coronary arteries of the heart found in coronary heart disease (coronary artery bypass graft is also used). These stenotic segments are due to the build-up of cholesterol-laden plaques that form due to atherosclerosis. PCI is performed by an interventional cardiologist.

As an Accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI, Capital Regional Medical Center ensures that patients with chest pain or discomfort receive immediate treatment to avoid as much heart damage as possible. Protocol-based procedures, developed by leading cardiac care experts to reduce time to treatment in the critical early stages of a heart attack, are part of Capital Regional's overall cardiac care services. Early Heart Attack Care is an important part of the process and CRMC works with the community to help people recognize the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Time is heart muscle with cardiac care, and calling 911 at the onset of symptoms is the most effective way to be effectively treated.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center at Capital Regional 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 services
  • 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 Accredited 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