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Legacy Meridian Park Opens state-of-the-art Chest Pain Center

December 4, 2013 - If you are experiencing chest pain near the Tualatin area and require the highest level of care, then you’re in luck. Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center is opening its new Chest Pain Center on Monday, December 9th, 2013, which holds the distinction of the Joint Commission’s first Gold Seal of approval in Chest Pain care in the nation. The Joint Commission Gold Seal recognizes that Legacy Meridian Park’s chest pain care meets national guidelines and is of the highest quality and safety in disease-specific care.

The Chest Pain Center resulted from many years of evaluating the cardiac needs of our surrounding communities. Legacy Meridian Park recognized patients wanted to receive a full complement of cardiac care without having to leave the area. “Our communities are what make us successful and it was important for us to listen to their needs. We realized we needed a center that would provide patients with excellent emergent cardiac care, as well as peace of mind by providing full risk stratification for patients who had chest pain, but did not have a heart attack,” said Carol Palmer, R.N., Director of Patient Care Services.   “When a patient comes to the hospital with chest pain, we now have a designated space in which to monitor chest pain and expedite care.  A major advantage of the Chest Pain Center is that the patient will leave the hospital with a clear diagnosis or their risk for cardiac disease and next steps needed treat the medical issue.”

The 1,800 square foot Chest Pain Center is conveniently located within the Legacy Meridian Park Emergency Department.  The center offers eight rooms designated solely for chest pain patients. Patients may stay for only a few hours or up 24 hours to receive on-site stress testing and monitoring to ensure they leave the hospital with a diagnosis and plan for follow-up care. Research has shown this model of assessing patients complaining of chest pain is the most cost-effective and efficient way to manage low-risk, acute coronary syndrome patients. The center will be staffed with a cardiac nurse, 24/7, and a full-time Nurse Practitioner. In the center, patients will have access to on-site Exercise Stress Test (EST).  Additionally, Legacy Meridian Park has the capability to provide the full spectrum of diagnostics to risk stratify patients including: Coronary Computed Tomographic Angiography (CCTA), nuclear stress testing and echocardiography.

Heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women, but despite its prevalence many do not understand how to recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. A heart attack may present within a wide range of symptoms.  Classic chest pain may be felt as a pressure, an ache, tightness and as indigestion or heartburn. Chest pain might be present in either side of the chest or in the upper back and can spread to the neck, jaw, shoulders and arms. Many women are unaware they can experience different heart attack symptoms than men.  Lack of recognition of heart attack signs and symptoms can cause dangerous delays in seeking medical care. The most common “atypical” signs of heart attack experienced by women are chest pressure, which may also be felt between the shoulder blades, an unusual, unexplained fatigue and indigestion. Both men and women need immediate medical attention if they suspect they are having a heart attack.  Calling 911 is the fastest and safest way to start the care of a heart attack.  Once Emergency Medical Services bring a heart attack victim to the Chest Pain Center, our specially trained staff expedites heart attack diagnosis and care.  Time is of the essence if the chest pain indicates a heart attack is in progress.  Legacy Meridian Park Chest Pain Center saves time when minutes matter.