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Accredited Chest Pain Center

Accredited Chest Pain Center

Allegheny Valley Hospital Achieves New Status as an Accredited Chest Pain Center

Accreditation Signifies Unique Capabilities for Rapidly Diagnosing and Treating Heart Attack

By Linda Dalak, Staff Writer

Allegheny Valley Hospital (AVH) recently received Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC), an international organization dedicated to eliminating heart disease as the number one cause of death worldwide.

One of two hospitals in Southwestern Pennsylvania to hold this distinction, AVH treats nearly 2,000 patients a year for chest pain. “We are extremely gratified to earn recognition as an Accredited Chest Pain Center.

A swift diagnosis of heart attack and initiation of treatment can make a tremendous difference in a patient’s outcome,” said Ned Laubacher, AVH President and CEO. “This new accreditation assures our community that the protocols and processes in place at AVH for patients suffering from chest pain meet the highest of clinical standards, expediting care and saving lives.

”To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, AVH engaged in rigorous evaluation by the SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

Staff of AVH’s Emergency Department, Cardiology, Pharmacy, Internal Medicine and other departments throughout the hospital worked closely together to meet these high standards. Key areas in which AVH demonstrated expertise and a commitment to quality patient care include:

  • Integrating the Emergency Department with the local emergency medical system;
  • Assessing, diagnosing and treating patients quickly;
  • Continually improving processes and procedures;
  • Ensuring staff competency and training;
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care; and
  • Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack.

Even with advancements at the hospital, patients must still recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. According to John Balacko, MD, AVH cardiologist and Medical Director for the Chest Pain Center at AVH, people tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack

.“That’s a mistake,” said Dr. Balacko. “The average patient arrives in the Emergency Department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms. What they don’t realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient.”

“Receiving this accreditation is a great achievement for our team, which worked tirelessly to ensure we have all the necessary protocols in place to quickly treat patients experiencing a coronary event,” said Mr. Laubacher. “It’s also consistent with our mission and commitment to providing quality patient care.”