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Winchester Medical Center Chest Pain Center Re-Accredited at Highest Level

Valley Health Winchester Medical Center (WMC) has been re-accredited as a Chest Pain Center with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). The hospital’s designation has been renewed every three years since 2006.

“We have worked hard over the last ten years to fine tune our protocols and expectations for chest pain patients,” says cardiologist Neal Gaither, MD, medical director of the WMC Chest Pain Center. “We are proud that, on average, our patients experiencing myocardial infarction (MI) are diagnosed and treated significantly faster than the national average. Since 2006 we have successfully shortened the mean time from arrival at the Emergency Department to a treated lesion in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab from 104 minutes to 50 minutes, which is 40 minutes better than the national goal.”

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. The SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the number of deaths by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a heart attack, reduce the time it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

“Time lost is heart muscle lost,” explains Kayla Roberts, WMC Chest Pain Center coordinator. “The longer a significant blockage starves the heart of oxygenated blood, the more damage it causes. So our top priority is restoring blood flow to the heart. We work closely with our EMS partners in the field to expedite assessment and transport to WMC, where our Cardiac Catheterization team is available 24/7. It’s a very collaborative team effort.”

The CPC accreditation process ensures that hospitals meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and have a comprehensive onsite review by a team of accreditation review specialists. By maintaining SCPC’s Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI accreditation, Winchester Medical Center demonstrates expertise in:

  • Integrating the emergency department with the region’s EMS system
  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
  • Effectively treating patients at low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
  • Ensuring the competence and training of accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
  • Constructing 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.

As a SCPC-accredited facility, WMC is committed to reducing the mortality rate of heart attack patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a heart attack, reducing the time it takes to receive treatment, and increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

Valley Health is committed to building community awareness of heart attack risk factors and recognizing and reacting to early signs and symptoms. “So many people excel at denial. I hear it from our patients every day: they were sure the pain was something else, they’re too young to have a heart attack, they didn’t want to call 911 needlessly,” Roberts says. “Interestingly, several patients over the last few months have said it was our advertising campaign that pushed them to seek treatment for their symptoms.”

Valley Health also offers the Heart Attack Risk Program, a screening of heart risk factors with counseling; and Family & Friends CPR Anytime, which trains lay bystanders with hands-only CPR skills.

To learn more about heart attack signs and symptoms and Heart & Vascular Services at Valley Health, visit