When Shirley Brown experienced chest pain, she knew she was suffering a heart attack. A long-time heart patient, she had undergone triple bypass surgery 11 years earlier and, since then, received several new heart stents.
“Normally one nitroglycerin spray relieves my chest pain, but I took three sprays over 25 minutes and was still in pain,” says Brown. “So I called 911.”
Brown was transported to Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital, an Accredited Chest Pain Center, a designation of the Society of Chest Pain that is held by less than 400 U.S. hospitals.
This accreditation means the hospital delivers a higher level of expertise when caring for patients who arrive at its Emergency Center with symptoms of a heart attack. Memorial Hermann Greater Heights consistently achieves the national gold standard of 90 minutes or less door-to-balloon (D2B) time between each patient’s arrival and undergoing balloon angioplasty to open blocked arteries.
Coordinated Heart Team Delivers Expert Care
The chest pain program at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights emphasizes the importance of proven diagnostic and treatment protocols. These best practices provide more efficient and effective patient evaluation, as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of their chest pain and other heart attack systems.
“We monitor patients from the time EMS reaches them,” says Seena John, coordinator of the hospital’s chest pain program. “This enables us to treat them more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of their heart muscle can be preserved.”
“Everyone in our chest pain program has a role, and they’re living up to it, while also trying to improve D2B times,” says Paresh Patel, M.D., an affiliated physician who is board-certified in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology. “Based on the EKG results at the patient’s location, we can activate our heart catheterization lab and make sure our heart team knows the patient’s history before arrival at the hospital.”
In Brown’s case, EMS confirmed she was having a heart attack. Upon arrival at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, she immediately underwent angioplasty to open her blocked artery and a stent was placed.
Brown admits to having been complacent about taking her blood thinner medication, which resulted in blood clogging one of her stents. Dr. Patel counseled the 66-year-old on the importance of her medications.
“Dr. Patel and I had a good talk and I understand I must keep my doctor appointments and take my medicine,” says Brown. “I also appreciated the helpful heart education materials provided by a nurse. Memorial Hermann has always made me feel important.”
To help Brown and other heart patients with their care, Memorial Hermann Greater Heights offers a monthly support group called Mended Hearts. The group meets the second Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the hospital. Their next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 14.
For comprehensive heart care located in the Greater Heights community, call the Center for Advanced Cardiology at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights at 713-864-2710, or visit memorialhermann.org/schedulenow.