The Chest Pain Team
Operating out of the emergency department at Methodist Hospital, the Chest Pain Team is available 24 hours a day, and features a multidisciplinary group including cardiologists, specially trained nurses, surgeons, catheterization laboratory specialists and other Board-certified emergency department staff. The team's primary objective, according to director Terrence Baruch, M.D., is to provide the fastest coordinated medical care possible to patients, in order to reduce the level of injury to the heart following trauma or illness. "When it comes to heart attack," Dr. Baruch stresses, "time is muscle."
"The more time that your heart is deprived of oxygen," explains Michael Agron, M.D., director of Methodist Hospital Emergency Services, who has worked closely with Dr. Baruch for more than a decade, "the more damage your heart will sustain. But through our aggressive treatment of chest pain," he adds, "we aim to stop heart attack cold."
In keeping with this goal, the team's protocol ensures that patients who complain of chest pain undergo an electrocardiogram (EKG) within five minutes. If evidence of heart attack is observed, one of the team's cardiologists is promptly contacted, and the catheterization laboratory staff is mobilized.
Because chest pain may in fact be a symptom of blockage in one or more arteries of the heart, angioplasty is used as a prevalent treatment . This procedure generally involves less risk than the use of chemical enzymes used to dissolve the blockage, or more invasive "bypass" surgery.
Our Chest Pain Team in Action