Wheeling Hospital only Hospital in W.Va. to earn latest cardiac accreditation

Dr. Robert Fanning, director of Wheeling Hospital’s Cardiac Care Center, speaks at a news conference Thursday about the hospital being named the only one in West Virginia, and among just 29 in the U.S., as an Accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation. Looking on is Andrea Dobkin, the hospital’s director of Cardiovascular Services (WTOV).

Wheeling Hospital has become the only hospital in West Virginia and one of only 29 in the U.S. to earn a full accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation.

The hospital has been an accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI since 2009, as designated by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), an accreditation services arm of the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

"The accreditation means there is a unified and effective approach by emergency squads, the Emergency-Trauma Center, Cardiac Cath Lab and Intensive Care Center in treating patients with chest pain, heart attack and cardiac arrest," Wheeling Hospital CEO Ron Violi said. "We are providing optimal care from initial treatment to discharge home. To be the best in the state and among the elite few nationwide is a testament to the staff's dedication to deliver the highest level of patient care. This accreditation is very good news for area residents."

Andrea Dobkin, director of the hospital's Cardiovascular Services, explained the accreditation includes three components - chest pain, PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) and resuscitation.

"Chest pain care involves the diagnosis and treatment of patients who have pain that could be related to coronary artery disease. It includes testing, medical management and when necessary cardiac catheterization," Dobkin noted.

Primary PCI is the emergency treatment of blocked coronary arteries, using balloon angioplasty to open vessels, and then the insertion of stents to keep the arteries open.

"Resuscitation involves complex targeted temperature management through therapeutic hypothermia treatment. This process works to reduce injury to the brain for certain patients when blood flow from the heart was restricted," Dobkin said.

"During cardiac arrest, when the heart stops pumping blood to the brain, there is a need for some patients to have their system slowed down with cold fluids injected in their bodies and/or chilling blankets wrapped around them. We do this to slow down the body's system, which, in turn, helps protects brain cells," explained Interventional cardiologist Dr. Robert Fanning, chair of Wheeling Hospital's Cardiac Care Center. "If brain cells heat up too quickly from the restoration of blood flow, neurologic injuries can occur. We then slowly return the patient's body temperature to 'normal.'

"We are proud of what we have accomplished here. Our staff is committed to compassionate and effective patient care. But we also have to thank our local emergency medical services personnel, who are the first ones to treat the patients as they are transported to our hospital. They play a key role in the chain of events that leads to good patient outcomes."

An Accredited Chest Pain Center's (CPC) evidence-based, protocol-driven and systematic approach to cardiac patient care allows clinicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack. Accredited facilities better monitor patients when it is not initially clear whether a patient is having a coronary event. Such monitoring ensures patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

The accreditation ensures hospitals meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and undergo a comprehensive onsite review by a team of accreditation review specialists.

Hospitals that receive an accreditation status have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who present with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the health care system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.

"Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the U.S., with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease," Dobkin said. "More than 5 million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. The SCPC's and Wheeling Hospital's goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment."

Wheeling Hospital has received numerous accreditations and other awards for its treatment of chest and heart attack. During the past year, it has introduced several advanced minimally invasive treatments designed to improve cardiac patient outcomes.

In addition to Fanning, Wheeling Hospital's interventional cardiology team includes Dr. Triston Smith, Dr. Gregory Suero, Dr. Deepak Hooda and Dr. Adele Frenn.

The SCPC is an international, nonprofit organization that focuses on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their efforts to create cardiovascular centers of excellence that deliver quality care and patient satisfaction in a cost sensitive environment. As the accreditation services arm of the ACC, the SCPC offers individual hospitals and hospital systems the support needed to effectively reduce variations of care and bridge existing gaps in treatment. Through its collaboration with actively engaged, multidisciplinary teams, SCPC is Taking Science to the Bedside™ and improving outcomes in the management of heart disease.

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