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Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell Becomes First Hospital in Mercer/Bucks Region to Earn Chest Pain Center Accreditation with PCI

Pre-hospital alert - reduces time to treatment - observation unit for monitoring

Hopewell Twp., NJ - Capital Health Medical Center - Hopewell today announced that it has become the first, and only, hospital in the Mercer/Bucks County Region to receive full accreditation with PCI as a Chest Pain Center from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). The accreditation was received on December 29, 2013 runs for three years.

With the accreditation of its Chest Pain Center, part of the hospital’s Heart and Vascular Institute, Capital Health has become part of an elite group of hospitals recognized for implementing protocols that meet stringent expectations for recognizing and responding to cardiac emergencies.

“We recognize that certain emergencies benefit from very focused, specific programs that can increase the rapidity with which diagnosis and treatment can be administered,” said Al Maghazehe, President and CEO of Capital Health. “The Chest Pain Center is the result of a large, multi-disciplinary effort to implement a program that recognizes the time sensitivity of cardiac emergencies and looks to save valuable time.”

According to the Society, accreditation as a Chest Pain Center recognizes that Capital Health has passed “rigorous testing and process improvement to become an elite facility with a staff that understands how to treat cardiovascular patients.” Among the program’s accomplishments, the hospital demonstrated significantly higher percentages of patients meeting strict standards for door to EKG interpretation and door to troponin results since the chest pain center’s establishment.

“When a person is having a heart attack, time to treatment is critical,” said cardiologist and director of the Chest Pain Center, Dr. Kristopher Young. “So whether it’s activating our interventional team before the patient even arrives by ambulance, saving time for an initial EKG interpretation, faster troponin readings through bedside testing, or getting patients to the catheterization lab faster for intervention, every minute we can save is a minute we want for the patient.”

“As important as what we do once you walk into the Chest Pain Center is educating the public about recognizing the signs of a heart attack. These symptoms that may arise in the weeks leading up to an actual cardiac event,” continued Dr. Young. “We know that heart attacks have beginnings and the sooner patients receive medical attention the better chance we have to prevent heart damage or death. No symptom should be ignored. We want patients to call 911 and be checked. Don’t ever be dismissive; let us figure out what is at the root of the symptom.”

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is unclear whether or not they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

With the increase in chest pain centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. SCPC’s accreditation process ensures that centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center at Capital Health Medical Center- Hopewell has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and undergoing an onsite review by a team of SPCP’s accreditation review specialists. Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include the following:

  • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly 
  • Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms 
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures 
  • Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel 
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment 
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care 
  • Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack

About the Chest Pain Center at Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell

The Chest Pain Center at Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell, part of the Heart and Vascular Institute, manages heart attacks with increased speed, resulting in quicker, and more complete, recovery for patients. Muscle cells are dying, so faster diagnosis and treatment means critical heart muscle can be saved. In patients not having a heart attack, our CPC with its advanced technology provides Cardiologists and Emergency Room Physicians an efficient means to rule out cardiac disease and allow patients to get back to their lives.

Capital Health cardiologists and emergency room physicians, nurses, and clinicians, EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians) and paramedics have worked together to speed up the triage and evaluation process and get testing done faster.

Patients arriving at the emergency room at CHMC-Hopewell with any heart attack symptom trigger a Chest Pain Alert. Team members mobilize immediately to quickly assess the patient, conduct testing, and determine if acute intervention is needed.

The Center uses innovative bedside blood tests for troponin, a protein that enters the blood stream during heart attack. This increases the rapidity with which results are available. The sensitive tests used at Capital Health also detect troponin levels earlier, and combined with other tests identify a heart attack quicker.

Patients diagnosed with heart attack are immediately treated. Patients who are not having an acute event may need further testing that can be performed during their stay or soon after their emergency room visit as an outpatient.

Capital Health operates a unique pre-hospital alert system. Patients arriving by ambulance have an electrocardiogram or EKG performed in their homes and if there is evidence of a heart attack the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Capital Health Medical Center - Hopewell is mobilized immediately. Our medical team will be prepared and waiting to provide the care you need. The most serious heart attacks are immediately taken to the cardiac catheterization laboratory where a life-saving stent may be placed into the blocked heart artery.

The Center also offers a cardiac observation unit where patients can be continuously monitored to help determine what the cause of their symptoms are if it is not clear through initial testing.

All patients receive information to help reduce their future risk and education about symptoms that may be the early sign of a heart attack.

In addition to providing rapid care at the CPC, Capital Health conducts free blood pressure screenings, among other screenings, in the community; provides speakers about heart disease in the community, offers community education programming and recently launched a program called Heart School for 5th grade students to educate kids about the signs and symptoms of heart attacks. Heart School is modeled on the healthcare system’s very successful Stroke School which targets 4th graders.

If you believe you are having a heart attack, it is extremely important that you call 9-1-1 and do not delay care. More can be learned about the Chest Pain Center at  

About the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care

The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) is an international not-for-profit organization that focuses on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction. As the only cross-specialty organization, SCPC provides the support needed for individual hospitals and hospital systems to effectively bridge existing gaps in treatment by providing the tools, education and support necessary to successfully navigate the changing face of healthcare. For more information on SCPC, accreditation and certification opportunities, visit, or call toll free 1-877-271-4176.