Published on April 08, 2010

Washington Adventist Hospital Obtains First Cycle III Chest Pain Center Accreditation in the Washington DC Region

Accreditation Recognizes High-quality Care Provided to Heart Attack Patients

Cycle III with PCI Accredited Chest Pain Center Takoma Park, Md. - Washington Adventist Hospital has obtained an important accreditation that highlights the hospital's delivery of high-quality care to patients who are suffering from a heart attack - the leading cause of death in the United States.

The hospital is the first in the Washington DC region and only the second in Maryland to achieve accreditation as a Cycle III Chest Pain Center with PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention, or angioplasty) from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC). A cycle III accreditation is currently the highest offered by the SCPC.

"We are pleased to receive this accreditation that recognizes our comprehensive, innovative and high-quality care delivered to heart attack patients at Washington Adventist Hospital," said Joyce Portela, Senior Executive Officer at Washington Adventist Hospital. "Congratulations to the physicians and staff that are part of our Emergency and Cardiac teams for their diligence delivering high-quality and compassionate care to their patients."

In order to receive the cycle III chest pain center accreditation, Washington Adventist Hospital demonstrated its expertise in delivering quality care to cardiac patients by meeting or exceeding several stringent criteria. The hospital also completed a rigorous on-site survey by the SCPC. To achieve accreditation, Chest Pain Centers must demonstrate expertise in several areas including:

  • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system.
  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly.
  • Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms.
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures.
  • Ensuring Chest Pain Center personnel competency and training.
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment.
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care.
  • Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack.

"Chest Pain Center accreditation is possible because of the ongoing collaboration between our Emergency Department, Cardiology team, EMS, hospitalists and nurses," said Dr. Ross Switkes, Medical Director of the hospital's Chest Pain Center. "Together, this team ensures rapid assessment; diagnosis and high-quality care is delivered to each patient who comes to our hospital with chest pain."

Emergency Medical System (EMS) providers are part of the Chest Pain Center team, providing vital patient assessment and stabilization in transit to the hospital.

"To ensure the best possible outcome for patients with heart attacks, the life saving care that begins in the field must continue at the hospital" said Richard Alcorta, MD, State EMS Medical Director at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). "Congratulations to Washington Adventist Hospital for this exceptional achievement."

People experiencing warning signs of heart attack, such as tightness in the chest, pain or discomfort in the neck, jaw or arms, or shortness of breath, or fatigue should call 9-1-1 immediately.

"With heart attacks, time is muscle. The more time it takes to get treated, the more heart muscle is destroyed," explained Dr. David Brill, Medical Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Washington Adventist Hospital. "Washington Adventist Hospital's Chest Pain Center uses a protocol-driven approach and rapid assessment of patients experiencing chest pain to start treatments more quickly during the critical early stages of a heart attack when treatments are most effective and patients recover more easily."

The Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) is a non-profit international society dedicated to the belief that heart disease can be eliminated as the number one cause of death worldwide. Each year, more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death in the U.S. In addition, more than five million people visit U.S. hospitals each year with chest pain.

Washington Adventist Hospital is a 288-bed acute-care facility located in Takoma Park, Maryland. Washington Adventist Hospital is Montgomery County's first cardiac center, performing more than 500 open-heart surgeries and more than 6,000 heart catheterizations each year. The Hospital is the first accredited Cycle III Chest Pain Center in the DC Metro Area. Washington Adventist Hospital is part of Adventist HealthCare, an integrated health-care delivery system based in Rockville, Maryland, that is one of the largest employers in the state of Maryland.