Chest Pain Treatment at Johnston Health

Posted May 15, 2013 | Posted in News & Events

Chest PainOver the past two years, the medical providers and staffs of the emergency departments in Smithfield and Clayton have been streamlining processes so that patients who may be having a heart attack can be quickly assessed, treated, and if necessary, transferred for an interventional procedure.  These improvements, among others, have led Johnston Medical Centers to become fully accredited Chest Pain Centers, a designation by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.

Chest Pain Treatment

To become accredited Chest Pain Centers, Johnston Medical Centers in Smithfield and Clayton engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for their ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To the community served by these two centers, this means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:

  • Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
  • Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
  • Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital

Saving time means saving heart muscle.  “Eighty-five percent of the damage to the heart muscle happens within the first two hours of an attack—that’s why every minute is so critical.  Time is muscle,” says Kenny Gooch, who is the chest pain coordinator for Johnston Medical Center-Smithfield. “We’ve raised the bar for cardiac care.  We’re giving our patients the chance to have the best possible outcome and recovery.”

Hank Long, who is chest pain coordinator for Johnston Medical Center-Clayton, says residents who are having symptoms of a heart attack can get excellent care at both sites. “The accreditation shows our commitment to improving the health of the people in our communities,” he says.

chest-painBoth departments are consistently meeting or exceeding the national goals for times, which start as soon as patients arrive:

  • Door-to-EKG goal – 5 minutes
  • Door-to-door (transfer) – 30 minutes
  • Door-to-PCI (stenting) – 90 minutes

By becoming accredited Chest Pain Centers, Johnston Medical Centers have enhanced the quality of care for cardiac patients and have demonstrated their commitment to higher standards.

If you are having chest pain, go to the closest emergency department.  Johnston Health can provide care at our emergency departments in Smithfield and Clayton.  To learn more about chest pain and signs of a heart attack, visit our website

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