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Cardiac Services
Chest Pain Center

Buffalo General Medical Center has full Cycle III Chest Pain Center Accreditation with PCI from the National Society of Chest Pain Centers, making it the first hospital in New York State to successfully undergo review under the newest and most stringent standards.

PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) refers to a variety of procedures used to treat patients with diseased arteries of the heart caused by a build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances from the blood (referred to as plaque) that can reduce blood flow and lead to chest pain or a heart attack.

Buffalo General has also received full Heart Failure Accreditation status from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC).

Emergency Heart (Cardiac) Care available:
24 hours a day – 7 days a week

The Chest Pain Center team at Buffalo General MedicalCenter is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing:

  • Timely, quality treatment for patients with heart attack symptoms
  • State-of-the-art technology for diagnosis and treatment
  • Multidisciplinary team trained in cardiac care

Point of Entry – The Emergency Department

Because every minute counts when someone is experiencing chest pain, the point of entry for chest pain patients is the Emergency Department.

The Chest Pain Center's Mission

Symptoms

If you or someone you know experiences any of the following symptoms of Acute Coronary Syndrome, call 911 immediately:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomitting
  • Sweating
  • Palpitations
  • Anxiety or sense of impending doom
  • A feeling of being acutely ill
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, shoulders, the back, the neck, jaw or stomach

To provide highly specialized quality care, rapid assessment and treatment of patients who arrive at the Emergency Department with symptoms commonly associated with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), often called heart attack.

Chest pain? Find out why it hurts...

More than five million Americans visit hospital emergency rooms each year with chest pain. It can be intense and occur suddenly, or it can be experienced slowly over time with mild discomfort.

Although it is serious and can be very frightening, chest pain isn’t always heart stopping. That’s why finding out the reason for chest pain is so important. The majority of people experiencing chest pain are generally not having a heart attack, but every minute saved for those who are having a heart attack saves valuable heart muscle that can never be regained once lost.

Anyone experiencing chest pain, or any of the symptoms below, should call 9-1-1 and go to the Emergency Department at Buffalo General right away!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is acute coronary syndrome (ACS)?

Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) is a medical term. It refers to the circumstances that occur when fatty deposits lining the arteries supplying the heart with oxygen break off and plug up the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle, starting the process that can evolve into a heart attack or "myocardial infarction." ACS requires immediate medical attention, since current treatments can often limit or reverse possible damage to the heart muscle.

What is acute coronary syndrome (ACS)?

Chest pain/discomfort at rest or during mild exertion is the most common and major symptom of ACS.

Other common symptoms: shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, palpitations, anxiety or sense of impending doom, a feeling of being acutely ill, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, shoulders, the back, the neck, the jaw or stomach.

Many patients do not describe their symptoms as chest "pain" but rather as "discomfort," which may include, chest pressure, heaviness, a squeezing sensation or tightness in the chest, or even a burning sensation in the pit of the stomach that persist for 15 minutes or longer.

Risk Factors for ACS

  • Age greater than 45 years (men) or 55 years (women)
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Being overweight or obese

How is ACS diagnosed and treated?

When patients arrive at the Buffalo General Medical Center Emergency Department, they are rapidly assessed by emergency personnel and heart specialists. "Rapid Assessment" involves blood tests to check for heart muscle damage, a physical examination, and discussion about symptoms and medical history. An ECG (electrocardiogram) is performed to help determine diagnoses, while appropriate pain management is started immediately. Such prompt treatment can relieve symptoms and reduce possible damage to the heart. These treatments may involve painkillers, oxygen, aspirin, and nitroglycerin to ease chest pain. (Depending on test results, patients may require more intensive procedures.)

What should I do if I have chest pain or discomfort?

Chest pain or discomfort should never be ignored, especially if you have coronary heart disease. If chest pain or discomfort lasts longer than 15 minutes and doesn’t go away when at rest, call 9-1-1 and go to the Emergency Department at Buffalo General Medical Center.

Women & Heart Disease

One of the most common mistakes people make about heart disease is in thinking that it primarily affects men. Believe it or not, heart disease kills more women than men every year. In fact, it is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States.

Unfortunately, women across the nation don't always take their risk of heart disease seriously—or personally. They often fail to make the connection between risk factors and their own chance of developing heart disease.

Experts of the Chest Pain Center have provided the following information to encourage women to talk to their doctors about their risk of developing heart disease – but more importantly – to do something to lower that risk.

Symptoms of Heart Disease — For Women

Women may experience early symptoms of heart disease differently than men. The symptoms in women can be far subtler, which means it is even more important to pay close attention to the signs and seek medical attention right away.

  • Shortness of breath, often without chest pain of any kind
  • Flu-like symptoms — specifically nausea, clamminess or cold sweats
  • Unexplained fatigue, weakness or dizziness
  • Pain in the chest, upper back, shoulders, neck, or jaw
  • Feelings of anxiety, loss of appetite, discomfort

If these symptoms are present, call 9-1-1 and go to the Emergency Doom at Buffalo General Medical Center for the highly specialized care provided by the Chest Pain Center

Note: Individual symptoms, situations, and circumstances may vary. The information provided is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Risk Factors of Heart Disease – For Women

Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse.

Unfortunately, most women fail to make the connection between risk factors and their personal risk of developing heart disease. Below are risk factors we hope you’ll pay attention to and talk to your doctor about.

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • A family history of heart disease
  • Not physically active
  • Under stress
  • Are postmenopausal or over the age of 55

Changing Habits To Lower Risk of Heart Disease – For Women

Some risk factors, such as age and family history of early heart disease, can't be changed. Fortunately, there are many risk factors that can be changed.

Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because they have had a hysterectomy, are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not yet gone through menopause. If an immediate family member had a heart attack before age 55, an individual is more likely to get heart disease.

Regardless of age, background, or health status, lowering heart disease is attainable and can be as simple as taking a walk, eating healthier, stopping smoking or reducing stress. Reducing heart disease risk means reducing risk factors.


For further information about the prevention of heart attacks and heart disease contact:

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Phone: (301) 592-8573

American Heart Association
www.americanheart.org
Phone: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)