Chest Pain Evaluation and Treatment

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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.

Additionally, The Society of Chest Pain Centers has granted Baptist Cardiovascular Services accreditation for its care of chest pain patients. Baptist is the first hospital in the metro Jackson area to receive this designation.

The accreditation demonstrates Baptist adheres very closely to recommendations from the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Heart Association. The guidelines call for the earliest possible determination-in the Emergency Room-of the patient's risk for a serious cardiac event such as a heart attack. It also prescribes what symptoms and tests should be used to evaluate risk and specifies treatments that correspond to the risk level determined.

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