Newswise — For most of the day, Graciela Del Angel felt shortness of breath and a tightness in her chest. Though her symptoms were uncomfortable, they became unbearable about midnight. By then, she had difficulty breathing and deep chest pains—all signs of a heart attack.
Her family immediately drove her to Ben Taub Hospital, where within minutes she was treated for an ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI), a severe heart attack caused by a blood vessel blockage to the heart. Fortunately for her, she was taken to the Harris Health System hospital that boasts one of the best door-to-balloon treatment times for STEMI patients in the U.S.—on average 45 minutes compared to 90 minutes nationally.
Ben Taub Hospital, best known for its expert trauma care, is quickly building a national reputation for its excellent cardiovascular services. The hospital was recently designated a Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI (the minimal surgical procedure that uses a balloon catheter to unclog blocked vessels in STEMI patients) by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. Additionally, the hospital has earned the Platinum Performance Achievement Award ACTION Registry®—GWTG™ from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry—a distinction only awarded to 319 hospitals in the country.
“We have dedicated staff that are committed to establishing Ben Taub Hospital as a cardiac center of quality and excellence,” says Dr. Nasser Lakkis, chief, Cardiology, Ben Taub Hospital, and chair and professor, General and Interventional Cardiology, Baylor College of Medicine. “We currently have one of the fastest average door-to-balloon times in the nation as a result of the hard work of the team of doctors, nurses and technologists who are committed to providing excellent care (emergency center to catheterization lab).
Earlier this year, Ben Taub Hospital also received the 2015 Mission: Lifeline® Gold Plus Receiving Center award from the American Heart Association for its treatment of severe heart attacks.
“These honors are only possible because of the committed work of our entire staff and the ongoing support of administration,” says Dr. Nathan Deal, medical director, Emergency Services, Ben Taub Hospital, and assistant professor, Baylor College of Medicine. “It is because of the outstanding dedication, focus, teamwork and collaboration by every member of our team that allows us to achieve these outstanding recognitions.”
Designated Chest Pain Centers and registry-recognized facilities like Ben Taub Hospital offer top-notch cardiovascular expertise to patients in all stages of heart care. The latest designations mean the hospital has primary PCI expertise available 24/7 every day of the year.
“Our team has developed evidence-based patient care models and streamlined processes,” says Stacey Bryan, program manager, Chest Pain Center, Ben Taub Hospital. “This results in superior patient outcomes for our cardiac patients and truly embodies our mission to provide high quality care to all our community.”
To receive the ACTION Registry–GWTG Platinum Performance Achievement Award, Ben Taub Hospital consistently followed the registry’s treatment guidelines for eight consecutive quarters and met performance standards of 90 percent for specific measures.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. with more than 600,000 deaths annually, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, Ben Taub’s cardiology service performed 105 STEMI procedures and treated 27,000 patient visits for a variety of cardiovascular conditions.