Emergency Medicine: 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
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
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
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
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.