ChristianaCare’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health receives national accreditation in chest pain treatment

For demonstrating expertise and commitment in the treatment of patients with chest pain, the Center for Heart & Vascular Health at ChristianaCare has received Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI and Resuscitation from the American College of Cardiology, a nonprofit medical association representing more than 50,000 cardiovascular specialists.

Kirk Garratt, M.D., M.Sc.

ChristianaCare received the recognition based on a rigorous evaluation of its 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 balloon to relieve symptoms of heart disease or reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack.

“This designation from the American College of Cardiology underscores our continuing effort to provide expert heart and vascular services to our community, meeting the highest standards of excellence,” said Kirk Garratt, M.D., MSc, medical director of the Center for Heart & Vascular Health at ChristianaCare. “We are prepared to quickly and effectively assess and treat people who are experiencing chest pain. We have a team ready 24/7 when an angioplasty or stent might be needed.”

Recognition comes against backdrop of COVID-19

The accreditation comes at a time when hospitals have experienced a dramatic reduction in admissions for heart attacks due to fears of going to the hospital because of COVID-19.

“Fear of COVID-19 can also be fatal. If you experience symptoms of a heart attack, don’t delay. Call 911.”

Kirk Garratt, M.D., M.Sc.

At its low point during the pandemic in April and May, the Center for Heart & Vascular Health saw roughly half the number of heart attack patients over a similar period last year.

“Now more than ever, we need to make sure people at risk and their loved ones know the signs of a heart attack or stroke and understand the need to get to the hospital quickly,” Dr. Garratt said.

“Fear of COVID-19 can also be fatal. Delaying care results in more serious heart damage and even death. Our hospitals are ready to give the right cardiac care – safely. If you experience symptoms of a heart attack, don’t delay. Call 911.”

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, tingling or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck or jaw, shortness of breath, cold sweat, unusual tiredness, heartburn-like feeling, nausea or vomiting, sudden dizziness and fainting.

ChristianaCare meets high standards for quality and safety in heart care

Hospitals that have earned Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation Accreditation have proven exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms and have primary PCI available 24/7 every day of the year.

To meet the criteria of the accreditation designation, hospitals comply with standard Chest Pain Center protocols and are equipped with a robust hypothermia program for post-cardiac arrest treatment. These facilities also maintain a “no diversion policy” for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients, meaning they don’t send patients arriving by emergency services to other hospitals for treatment.

The Center for Heart & Vascular Health has achieved numerous quality and safety awards including: the 2019 Chest Pain – MI Registry Platinum Performance Achievement Award from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry; the American Heart Association’s 2019 Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center Gold Recognition award; the 2019 Mission: Lifeline NSTEMI Silver Recognition Award; and the 2019 Get with The Guidelines Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement award.