Tonia Fehr is the manager of WakeMed Cary Hospital’s new 12-bed Chest Pain Unit.
Dick Cheney has a long history with heart disease, suffering his first heart attack at age 37. Yesterday he was admitted to the hospital again with complaints of chest pain.
Chest pain should always be taken seriously. It can be a primary symptom of a STEMI (better known as a heart attack) and speedy treatment can save valuable heart muscle, preventing death and ensuring a good quality of life after the event. It also matters where you are treated. Certain hospitals have undergone stringent surveys by the Society of Chest Pain Centers, certifying that they are following protocols proven to offer the best possible outcome for patients presenting with chest pain. Raleigh Campus, Cary Hospital, North Healthplex and Apex Healthplex are all Certified Chest Pain Centers, and Raleigh Campus and Cary Hospital (as of today) both have dedicated 12-bed chest pain units.
Patients presenting with chest pain to any WakeMed Emergency Department are cared for by specially trained nurses who are passionate about cardiac care. Using standardized protocols, each patient on arrival will immediately have a 12 lead EKG, receive the appropriate medications, cardiac monitoring and have serial cardiac enzymes checked. These steps help physicians rule out a STEMI ( the most dangerous of heart attacks).
If a STEMI is ruled in, patients are immediately whisked to an interventional cath lab to open the affected coronary artery thereby restoring circulation to the heart muscle. If a STEMI is ruled out, patients are admitted to the Chest Pain Unit for continuous cardiac monitoring with additional diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the chest pain.
Regardless of the cause, chest pain should never be ignored.
Update, February 23 2:30 pm: This just in, Dick Cheney did have a mild heart attack. Visit MSNBC for more information.