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Texas Health Dallas Receives Prestigious Designation for Heart Attack Care

DALLAS — Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is the first hospital in Dallas and one of a handful in the country to be named a Cycle III Chest Pain Center by the Society of Chest Pain Centers — the highest accreditation for heart attack treatment.

Dr. John Harper
Dr. John Harper
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“This honor means that Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas ranks among the best in the country for rapid recognition and collaborative treatment of heart attacks,” said Dr. John Harper, a cardiologist on the Texas Health Dallas medical staff and medical director of the hospital’s Congestive Heart Failure Unit. “Our top clinicians have developed a program to better care for these patients. North Texans should be comforted to know that the country’s best acute heart attack care can be found right here in Dallas.”

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 dying annually of heart disease. More than 5 million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. The goal of the Society of Chest Pain Centers is to 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.

Nationally, accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers is linked to better patient outcomes and more lives saved, according to a national study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in July 2008.

“We’ve worked on advancing the speed and accuracy at which heart attack patients in North Texas are diagnosed and treated,” said Dr. James Park, an interventional cardiologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas and medical director of the hospital’s cardiac catheterization laboratory. “From the time the 911 call is made, a series of steps takes place to care for heart-attack patient, from a field assessment by emergency responders all the way to activation of our cardiac cath team at the hospital.”

In addition to the chest pain accreditation, Texas Health Dallas has recently implemented several advances in cardiac care and received national recognition for its program:

  • A regional treatment and transfer system for heart attack victims has been developed for outlying areas of North Texas. The program helps ensure patients are quickly transferred to medical centers that can provide life-saving procedures.
  • A congestive heart failure unit is devoted to treating patients with chronic heart disease. Clinicians use a multidisciplinary approach to care for complex cases.
  • Recognized this year by the American Heart Association for providing quality, evidence-based care for coronary artery disease and heart failure.

The accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers recognizes Texas Health Dallas as a Cycle III Chest Pain Center with PCI. Percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI, is the most advanced surgical intervention for heart-attack patients who do not respond to medications. The procedure is offered at large medical centers with leading technologies and highly trained physicians and nurses.

Texas Health Dallas heart and vascular program
Members of the heart and vascular program, including physicians on the Texas Health Dallas medical staff, cardiac nurses and top administrators, helped lead inspectors on a detailed tour and day-long analysis of the hospital's chest pain program.
Click photo to download hi-res image

The procedure involves inserting a wire into the leg artery of a heart-attack patient, then guiding it through the maze of abdominal and thoracic arteries to the site of the blockage. A tiny balloon on the tip of the wire is then inflated to open the coronary artery and restore blood flow to the heart.

Often called a cardiac “cath” procedure, PCI is one of the numerous treatment options offered to heart-attack patients at Texas Health Dallas.

The speed of care for heart attack patients at Texas Health Dallas has continually beaten the national target of 90 minutes for door-to-balloon time (the amount of time from the moment a cardiac patient arrives at the ER until physicians successfully open the blocked artery).

Proper heart attack care starts long before these advanced procedures are needed, though. Collaboration between paramedics, Dallas Fire & Rescue and the hospital’s emergency department and cardiac catheterization lab is critical to the success of chest pain centers.

“Medical professionals across multiple disciplines snap to action when 911 is called,” said Dr. Sean Black, an emergency physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas. “Paramedics administer life-saving therapies in the field, and physicians at the hospital begin preparing for the patient before he or she reaches the hospital. Smooth coordination of all these steps is critical, because every second counts for heart attack treatment.”

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is an 866-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, having provided compassionate care to the residents of Dallas and surrounding communities since 1966. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Texas Health Dallas among the nation’s best hospitals in digestive disorders, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Dallas has approximately 4,000 employees and an active medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

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