Date: 3/30/2010

St. Catherine Hospital is Awarded Accreditation for Center that Provides Timely Treatment of Heart Attack

EAST CHICAGO — St. Catherine Hospital is one step closer to beating heart disease in Northwest Indiana.

St. Catherine Hospital’s Chest Pain Center has received full accreditation from the Society of Chest Paint Centers (SCPC). St. Catherine Hospital earned the distinction based on a rigorous evaluation of its cardiac care services and for practices, guidelines and treatment during the critical first stages of a heart attack.

“St. Catherine Hospital follows evidence-based guidelines and nationally established standards of practice that have proven to provide the best outcomes for our patients,” said JoAnn Birdzell, Chief Executive Officer of St. Catherine Hospital. “Becoming accredited by the SCPC demonstrates our commitment and dedication to providing the best care possible to the residents of our community.”

As an Accredited Chest Pain Center, St. Catherine Hospital works seamlessly with area emergency medical services and internal hospital departments to assure that patients complaining of chest pain or discomfort are provided with immediate treatment that can help to limit potential heart damage.

Coronary heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Each year, approximately 1.2 million Americans suffer a heart attack and nearly one-third of these individuals will die— many before they reach the hospital. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before calling for help.

“St. Catherine Hospital understands that time is of the essence when treating our patients who come in with chest pain or discomfort,” said J. Patel, M.D., cardiologist and medical director of St. Catherine Hospital’s accredited Chest Pain Center. “Our Chest Pain Center patients receive state-of-the-art care during that critical window of time that can make a difference in their recovery.

The Chest Pain Center allows individuals with chest pain to receive immediate medical attention with the latest, state-of-the-art equipment, medications and testing procedures to stabilize and assess the patient’s condition. For example, clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks in progress, but to be effective must be given relatively quickly after heart attack symptoms first appear.

Chest pain is not something anyone should take lightly. Healthcare professionals at St. Catherine Hospital offer education classes and events to raise awareness so that members of the community are familiar with the signs of a heart attack, which may include:

Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes.

Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms may also occur.

Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.

Should any of these symptoms occur, don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1.

For more information about the accredited Chest Pain Center of Excellence at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, visit our web site at