Medical Center Receives Accredited Chest Pain Center Designation

December 10, 2004

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is the first hospital in the region to be granted the designation of Accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Only one percent of all hospitals in the United States have this designation.

As a Level I Trauma Center, the accreditation indicates Wake Forest Baptist has demonstrated that it is a center of excellence for cardiac care in the region according to James W. Hoekstra, M.D., chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine. A majority of all patients treated for chest pain at Wake Forest Baptist are seen first at the Emergency Department.

“Chest pain center accreditation speaks to the breadth and depth of cardiac services available at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center,” said Hoekstra. “The accreditation is not possible without multidisciplinary cooperation and coordination between emergency medical services, emergency medicine, cardiology, internal medicine, and hospital administration. The multidisciplinary care pathways, quality assurance processes, and cardiac programs must be firmly in place and continually monitored before chest pain center accreditation can be granted.”

More than 5 million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. The goal of the Society of Chest Pain Centers is to significantly 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.

The symptoms of a heart attack include uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes. Other symptoms might include:.

  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, arms, back, jaws or teeth.
  • Chest discomfort with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
  • In women instead of severe pain, possibly jaw pain, shortness of breath, and nausea or vomiting.

Not all of these signs occur in every heart attack. Symptoms may go away and return. People who experience one or more of these signs should call 911 immediately for medical attention.


About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,298 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

Media Relations

Mark Wright:, 336-713-4587