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Interpreting Chest Pain: June 14, 2014

A common complaint may not be the crisis people fear- when it comes to chest pain there is no cutting corners. Lee Memorial Health System is targeting cardiac concerns in each of its hospitals.

“There are specific goals, so as soon as you arrive, say you have chest pain,” explains VP of Patient Services Cindy Brown. “Within 15 minutes we need to have an EKG and have a physician look at it and read it and tell whether or not looking at the EKG that you’re having an acute event right now.”

Heart attack patients are expedited into treatment, but nationwide many others were left wondering what caused their symptoms and whether they needed treatment, too. The end game of chest pain programs is to find answers in short order.

“If we look at your EKG and it looks totally normal, we do your blood work and it looks totally normal, but you have a little bit suspicious history or we don’t know quite what’s going on - we’re able to bring you here,” says Brown.

Chest pain centers are designated spaces within each hospital which focus solely on chest pain. Patients are placed in their own room, most testing comes to them.

“In three hours you’re going to have another blood test and another EKG. In six hours you’re going to have another blood test and another EKG. And if all of that is unchanged and looks normal, we’ll determine whether or not you need to have a stress test before you go home,” Brown says.

Having a staff and system dedicated to diagnosing chest pain, cuts the decision process from roughly 36 hours to a half day.


“We’re able to move the patient safely and quickly to discharge or to further diagnosis or admission to the hospital.”

Saving time and peace of mind.