The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus Earns National Accreditation as Chest Pain Center

TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus has been named a nationally accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. The accreditation is awarded to medical facilities that have achieved a high level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack.
“The cardiac service here has been committed for many years to being a comprehensive program, and for us this was a formalization and standardization of processes that were already in place,” said Sharon Gregoire, RN, family and acute care nurse practitioner at The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus, who led the accreditation process.
The University of Arizona Medical Center was accredited as a “Chest Pain Center with PCI,” meaning that it offers Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, commonly known as angioplasty, atherapeutic procedure used to treat the narrowed coronary arteries of the heart found in coronary heart disease.
Hospitals accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the health-care system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.
To become an accredited Chest Pain Center, The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus engaged in rigorous evaluation for its ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. The evaluation confirmed that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:
·       Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
·       Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
·       Monitoring patients when it is uncertain they are having a heart attack to ensure they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital
Cardiologist Joseph Alpert, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, praised the efforts of a large, multi-specialty team for achieving the accreditation.
“It was a team effort with nurse clinicians, hospitalists, cardiologists, all of our technicians in the cardiac cath lab and the non-invasive cardiac lab, radiology technicians, the ER staff and nurses,” he said.
The University of Arizona Medical Center sees about 70,000 patients a year in its Emergency Department. About 5 percent of those patients experience chest pain, Gregoire said, and early attention can be critical. “What we know is that early recognition of heart attack and early treatment saves lives,” she said.
About The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus
The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus, formerly known as University Medical Center, is the 487-bed flagship hospital of The University of Arizona Health Network, the first academic medical system in Arizona. It is affiliated with the UA Sarver Heart Center, a center of excellence at the UA College of Medicine. It was ranked among the top 40 hospitals in the United States for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report in its 2011 Best Hospitals rankings.
About the Society of Chest Pain Centers
The Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) is an international not-for-profit organization whose mission is to transform cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction. For more information on SCPC, accreditation and certification opportunities, please visit