Chest Pain Evaluation and Treatment

Patients who are experiencing chest pain benefit from Baptist Cardiovascular Services' treatment protocols-based on the latest scientific findings from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association-that allow physicians to quickly begin the most appropriate treatment.

Because most patients who experience chest pain seek emergency care, Baptist offers the Cardiac Observation Unit (COU), an 8-bed unit located on the first floor in the Emergency Department, solely designated to provide specialized diagnostic care to patients who come to the ER experiencing chest pain. The COU includes heart-monitoring equipment and is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Precise protocols are used to expedite a rapid "rule in/rule out" diagnosis of heart disease.

To qualify for a COU admission, a patient must first be evaluated in the ER, and a thorough cardiac work-up is started. If the first set of cardiac enzymes and first EKG are negative, then the ER physician may opt to admit the patient to COU for further evaluation. In the COU, a second set of cardiac enzymes and EKG is obtained to determine if the patient might need further diagnostic testing such as a treadmill test or nuclear cardiac scan. If a patient's status becomes acute, meaning enzymes and EKG become positive for a heart attack, then that patient will be admitted, and a cardiologist would be consulted. Other patients who are evaluated and determined not to have an acute problem are generally discharged with instructions to follow-up with their primary physicians.

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