AU Medical Center receives ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation

Written by Nicole Page

ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation means AU Medical Center provides a streamlined system from admission to after care and has formal agreements with other facilities that regularly refer heart attack patients to AUMC for primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

The American College of Cardiology has recognized Augusta University Medical Center for its demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain. AU Medical Center was awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI in September based on rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

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.

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 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 have streamlined their systems from admission to evaluation to diagnosis and treatment all the way through to appropriate post-discharge care and recommendations and assistance in patient lifestyle changes. In addition, they have formal agreements with other facilities that regularly refer heart attack patients to their facility for primary PCI.

“AU Medical Center has demonstrated its commitment to providing Augusta with excellent heart care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, FACC, chair of the ACC Accreditation Management Board. “ACC Accreditation Services is proud to award AU Medical Center with Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation.”

Hospitals receiving Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI 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.

“Augusta University Medical Center has distinction of being the only hospital in this region to earn and maintain this accreditation for its Cardiac Cath Lab and as a chest pain center. This recognition by American College of Cardiology affirms strength of our intent and unique capabilities to care for patients with chest pain and coronary disease,” says Dr. Deepak Kapoor, director of Cardiology Catheterization Lab at Augusta University.

AU Medical Center serves the state of Georgia and is the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center. The medical center is a 520- bed tertiary hospital that provides many services not available in other facilities in the region. It is part of the Augusta University Health System, which includes the Georgia Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital of Georgia, historic Roosevelt Warm Springs Rehabilitation and Specialty Hospitals, Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home and more than 100 primary and specialty care clinics across the state.

The ACC offers U.S. and international hospitals like AU Medical Center access to a comprehensive suite of cardiac accreditation services designed to optimize patient outcomes and improve hospital financial performance. These services are focused on all aspects of cardiac care, including emergency treatment of heart attacks.