Published on May 03, 2019

Essentia Health-Fargo is the only health system in the region with chest pain center accreditation

Essentia Health-Fargo has been recognized by the American College of Cardiology for its demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain. This accreditation is based on rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

Essentia Health-Fargo was recently awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation with primary PCI and Resuscitation. 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.

Hospitals that have earned ACC 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. As required to meet the criteria of the accreditation designation, they 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.

Hospitals receiving Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation Accreditation from the ACC must take part in a multi-faceted clinical process that involves: completing a gap analysis; examining variances of care, developing an action plan; a rigorous onsite review; and monitoring for sustained success.

Improved methods and strategies of caring for patients include streamlining processes, implementing of guidelines and standards and adopting best practices in the care of patients experiencing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Facilities that achieve accreditation meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and have organized a team of doctors, nurses, clinicians and other administrative staff that earnestly support the efforts leading to better patient education and improved patient outcomes.

“Time is muscle when it comes to a heart attack. The sooner you get to a hospital and the sooner you receive treatment, the better the outcome,” explains Dr. Sam Kapphahn, interventional cardiologist. Kapphahn adds, “Essentia Health is ready and standing by when seconds count and achieving this accreditation proves that we are dedicated to providing the highest quality care every step of the way.”

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.

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