Heart program certified

Published 10:46 pm Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dr. Calin Maniu, medical director for the chest pain centers in Suffolk and Portsmouth, says people with heart attack symptoms have no time to waste in getting to the emergency room. The sooner treatment is started, the better the outcome for the patient, he said.

Suffolk’s capacity for treating heart attacks improved this week after the Harbour View health center became one of two Bon Secours facilities in Hampton Roads to receive new chest pain accreditations.

Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View is now an accredited chest pain center, becoming the first such accredited freestanding emergency department in the country, according to a Bon Secours statement.

Accredited chest pain centers have shown they can provide faster and better patient evaluation as well as better-targeted and faster treatment in cases of chest pain and other heart attack symptoms, the statement says.

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Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth, the second Hampton Roads facility announcing good news, was designated an accredited chest pain center with percutaneous coronary intervention capability, a procedure to treat narrowed coronary arteries.

The three-year accreditations were made by the Society of Chest Pain Centers, an international nonprofit that works to improve cardiovascular care.

Dr. Calin Maniu, medical director for the chest pain centers, said the accreditations were earned by documenting “positive changes over the years.”

“We have been working on it (for) probably over a year-and-a-half or two years,” Maniu said.

Improving patient flow through the hospitals to hasten treatment and lessen damage to the heart was important to achieving the accreditations, he said. “The mantra is ‘time is muscle,’” he said.

The hospitals’ CEO, Joseph M. Oddis, said in a statement the goal is to provide the highest quality of care to our community.

“These accreditations validate that we have achieved a higher level of expertise in helping people who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack,” he said.

Maniu cautioned against wasting time in the event of a heart attack. “People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake,” he said.

“The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but 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.”