Heart Month: Accredited chest pain centers in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Heart Month: Accredited chest pain centers in Savannah


Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in both men and women in America. 

Men's and women's heart attack symptoms can be very different. Not all chest pain is a heart attack, but that doesn't mean it isn't serious enough to be an emergency. That's for the experts to decide.

“We’re an accredited chest pain center hospital. Make sure you have 24/7 cath lab capabilities, cardiology on call, you do not turn any patients away for any kind of chest pain, no matter how busy you are,” said Memorial Health Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Jay D. Goldstein.

The last time David McNaughton was in an assessment room just inside the ambulance entrance at Memorial Health's Emergency Department was almost a year ago.

‘I'm told I died twice,” said McNaughton.

By the time EMS wheeled him through the door it was clear what was going on.

“With the transmission of the EKG by medics in route we can start them down the right pathway before they even arrive at the emergency department,” said Dr. Dwayne Gard, Medical Director for Memorial Health Hospitalists.

In McNaughton’s case, that lead to the quick placement of a stent to clear a blockage of the main artery of his heart and the fatal heart attack was stopped.

“The faster we can do it the better it is for the patient, the better survivability,” said Dr. Goldstein.

That speed to treatment is one part of being an accredited chest pain hospital. But for other patients, the cause of chest pain and other symptoms may not be as obvious.

“And you still have to risk stratify those patients because there's other serious causes of chest pain. Pulmonary embolism or blood clot in the lungs requires intervention or medication, it can be life threatening.  Aortic dissection or tear near the heart can also be life threatening,” said Dr. Gard.

“So I think the awareness and education for the community is the biggest thing we can do,” said Dr. Goldstein.

“It wasn't a diet issue or any of the other things you would normally think of so if I can have a heart attack, everyone can have a heart attack,” said McNaughton.

In Savannah, there are two accredited chest pain centers. The Heart and Vascular Institute at Memorial Health and the Heart Hospital at St. Joseph's Hospital. Both are accredited for emergency chest pain care.

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