OHSU Hospital Gains Reaccreditation for its Chest Pain Center

08/18/09  Portland, Ore.

Door-to-balloon times well below the national average helped retain this honor

Oregon Health & Science University Hospital has just completed the reaccreditation process for its Chest Pain Center. In 2006 OHSU became the first hospital in Oregon to achieve this status, and remains one of only two hospitals in Oregon accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and one of the most common reasons people visit the emergency department.

Accredited chest pain centers have been shown to save lives through their coordinated, team-oriented approach to quickly identifying patients suffering from a heart attack, allowing the care team to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack when treatments are most effective. The same approach allows for better monitoring of low-risk patients so that they are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted to the hospital.

"This designation means that any patient who comes to OHSU experiencing chest pain can be confident he or she is receiving care that meets or exceeds the highest national standards of care," said Joaquin Cigarroa, M.D., OHSU associate chief of clinical affairs for the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and associate professor of cardiovascular medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. "This is important because every minute lost in making a diagnosis can mean irreparable damage to heart muscle."

Since initially seeking accreditation, OHSU has taken a number of steps to continue to improve its care of patients experiencing chest pain, including  installing atomic clocks in the emergency department and catheterization lab, making an electrocardiography (ECG) machine available at the emergency triage, and requiring additional training for nurses and triage staff.

Because of these and other changes, OHSU has been able to reduce its door-to-balloon time from 98 minutes in 2005 to 57 minutes through the second quarter of 2009. Door-to-balloon time is a measure of the time it takes a patient to present at the emergency department with symptoms until the heart vessel is opened. The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association recommended national door-to-balloon time is no more than 90 minutes.

OHSU pursued national accreditation for its chest pain center to ensure it was offering the best possible care to chest pain patients. The improved integration between departments is cost-effective and can be used as a model for other patients as well.

The Society of Chest Pain Centers accredits hospitals based on stringent quality-of-care measures following an extensive application process and on-site evaluation. The reviewers look at the continuum of care from initial calls by people experiencing chest pain, through EMS transport, care in the emergency department and hospital, and finally through the rehabilitation process.

About OHSU                          

Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university, and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.

About the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC)

The Society of Chest Pain Centers is a patient centric non-profit international professional organization focused upon improving care for patients with acute coronary syndromes and other related maladies.  Established in 1998, the Society is dedicated to patient advocacy and focusing on ischemic heart disease. Central to its mission is the question, "What is right for the patient?"  In answer, the Society promotes protocol based medicine, often delivered through a Chest Pain Center model to address the diagnosis and treatment of acute coronary syndromes, heart failure, and to promote the adoption of process improvement science by healthcare providers.  To best fulfill this mission, the Society of Chest Pain Centers provides accreditation to facilities striving for optimum Chest Pain Center care.  SCPC is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.