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North Texans should be comforted to know that some of the country’s best acute heart-attack care can be found right in their own backyard.

Texas Health Dallas was the first hosptial in the city to receive Cycle IV Chest Pain Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, a prestigious designation attained after meeting stringent evaluation. The hospital has also received accreditation for emergency stroke care by the Joint Commission. Several Texas Health hospitals have been named Cycle III Chest Pain Centers – the highest accreditation for heart-attack treatment. The honor means that Texas Health hospitals rank among the best in the country for rapid recognition and collaborative treatment of heart attacks. Learn more here.

The goal of Cycle III Chest Pain accreditation is to reduce the mortality rate of patients, reduce the time that it takes for patients to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

Nationally, accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers is linked to better patient outcomes and more lives saved, according to a national study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in July 2008.

We are working to advance the speed and accuracy at which heart-attack patients in North Texas are diagnosed and treated. From the time the 911 call is made, a series of steps takes place to care for the heart-attack patient, from a field assessment by emergency responders all the way to activation of our cardiac cath team at the hospital.

Beyond chest pain accreditation

Some Texas Health hospitals are recognized as Cycle III Chest Pain Centers with PCI. Percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI, is the most advanced surgical intervention for heart-attack patients who do not respond to medications. The procedure is offered at large medical centers with leading technologies and highly trained physicians and nurses. The procedure involves inserting a wire into the leg artery of a heart-attack patient, then guiding it through the maze of abdominal and thoracic arteries to the site of the blockage. A tiny balloon on the tip of the wire is then inflated to open the coronary artery and restore blood flow to the heart. Often called a cardiac “cath” procedure, PCI is one of the numerous treatment options offered at Texas Health facilities.

Not only are many of our hospitals chest-pain accredited, but at Texas Health we are continually striving to raise the bar for how quickly heart-attack patients are transported and treated. It’s a simple fact that the more quickly a heart attack is treated, the lower the potential damage to the heart muscle. Research shows that preserving more heart muscle helps patients survive the heart attack and improves their long-term survival and quality of life. Many of our hospitals routinely beat the national target of 90 minutes for door-to-balloon time: That’s the amount of time from the moment a cardiac patient arrives at the ER until physicians successfully open the blocked artery with a minimally invasive cath procedure. At Texas Health, the physicians on the medical staff supported by our employee professionals have successfully treated heart-attack patients with a cath procedure in as little as 28 minutes from the time they arrive.