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Emergency Medicine: Chest Pain Center

Chest Pain Center

At the first signs of chest pain, time is critical. It can be the difference between life and death for a person having a heart attack.

UF Health Jacksonville’s Chest Pain Center is a state-of-the-art facility staffed with experts who specialize in providing a higher level of care to patients with heart attack symptoms.

The center offers a comprehensive model of care that includes standardized diagnostic and treatment programs and monitoring. In addition to medical care provided at UF Health Jacksonville, the center’s outreach includes educational programs for children and adults and training for paramedics throughout Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.

The UF Health Jacksonville Chest Pain Center was formed in January 2011. It has since been accredited by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), and was the first chest pain center in Florida designated with their highest designation: Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation.

The center is located in the hospital’s Clinical Decision Unit inside the Emergency Department. The 14-bed space is fully staffed and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

UF Health Jacksonville offers a streamlined check-in process to help patients with signs of chest pain see a physician and get the appropriate treatment faster. For those patients brought in by ambulance, hospital staff offer training for EMS officials so they can read electrocardiograms in the field. That enables the hospital to call in its necessary personnel once the paramedics notify the hospital of the patient’s EKG results instead of waiting until the patient arrives in the emergency department.

Between the streamlined process, and work done in the field by paramedics who are in close contact with doctors in the hospital, the time it takes to open up the artery continues to decrease. The national benchmark is 90 minutes between when a patient enters the emergency department to when the artery is opened, known as “door-to-balloon time.”

At UF Health Jacksonville, the average time is less than one hour, which helps preserve the integrity of the heart muscle. In some cases, arteries are open in less than 30 minutes.

During an average length of stay of 15 hours, patients are monitored and provided evidence-based evaluations to determine the cause of their chest pains. Chest pain can be caused by a variety of things, including heart damage, gastrointestinal problems, stress and pulmonary distress.

Even if patients do not have heart damage, the care offered at UF Health Jacksonville continues after they are discharged. Patients are offered an appointment at dedicated cardiology clinic the Friday after they leave the hospital if they don’t have a primary care doctor.