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Yale New Haven Hospital receives national Chest Pain Center accreditation

New Haven — Yale New Haven Hospital has received a three-year accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC), a non-profit international society dedicated to improving care for patients having heart attacks.

Yale New Haven is the first and only hospital in Connecticut to received Cycle III accreditation - the highest designation given by the SCPC.

The hospital underwent a full-day site visit in late November, and was accredited in December. The rigorous accreditation process examined the hospital and its policies, processes and performance measures for diagnosing and treating patients with acute coronary syndrome.

"Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide," said Mariane Carna, RN, executive director of the Yale New Haven Heart and Vascular Center. "The life of a patient who is having a heart attack is affected by different people in different places - from the onset of the patient's symptoms, the actions of emergency medical services, to where the patient is treated, how blood is restored to the heart, the observation unit, treatment, cardiac rehabilitation and discharge."

"Hospitals vary in their processes and outcomes, so Chest Pain Center accreditation really says a lot about the quality of care patients will receive," Carna said.

According to the Society of Chest Pain Centers, an accredited Chest Pain Center is generally thought to provide better care, better prognosis, better quality of life, faster treatment and decreased length of stay in the hospital. Such hospitals help ensure that patients get the treatment they need during the early stages of a heart attack. Their goal is to reduce the time from the patient's arrival at the emergency department to treatment - to avoid as much heart damage as possible.

In addition, accredited Chest Pain Centers better integrate the emergency department with the local emergency medical system, continually improve processes and procedures, ensure the competency and training of Chest Pain Center staff and support community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack.

Part of the accreditation process requires staff and public education about signs, symptoms and risk factors for heart disease. Experts at Yale New Haven stress that quick action is the most important factor if a patient has symptoms such as chest discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body - arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach, shortness of breath, dizziness, light-headedness or fainting, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, sweating or unexplained weakness or fatigue. Women might have slightly different symptoms, including a sense of impending doom, discomfort between the shoulder blades or clammy skin.

Yale New Haven Hospital is one of the top hospitals in the United States, and ranked 17th in U.S.News & World Report's annual "America's Best Hospitals" list. In addition to the honor roll listing, 12 of Yale New Haven's medical specialties were ranked among the very best in the nation, including cardiac care. Yale New Haven's Heart and Vascular Center offers a comprehensive array of clinical cardiovascular services and facilities - adult and pediatric cardiac operating rooms; interventional laboratories; rhythm management facilities; advanced imaging services including nuclear, CT and MRI and Chest Pain Center.

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties.