Baylor Grapevine first in state to receive atrial fibrillation certification

Posted Monday, Sep. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Atrial fibrillation is a rapid, irregular heartbeat or fluttering with potentially dangerous consequences.

According to the American Heart Association, atrial fibrillation, also called A-fib or AF, can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine recently became the first hospital in Texas to receive full atrial fibrillation certification status from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.

“This means a team of outside clinicians reviewed the entire Baylor Grapevine program from initial contact with EMS bringing the patient to the emergency department through hospital care, discharge and follow-education,” said Steve Newton, Baylor Health Care System’s western region president. “This is another clear signal of attention to detail and surpassing the national standards for excellent cardiac care.”

Mark Wallinger, a spokesman for the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, said 15 medical facilities in the nation have received this recognition.

The nonprofit’s goal is to “drive process improvement through accreditation for facilities and certification for hospital professionals, as well as help facilities manage the heart failure patient more efficiently and improve patient outcomes.”

Wallinger said the recognition is important because “atrial fibrillation has become recognized as a cardiac health concern that in many cases can lead to stroke and death. There are currently nearly 5 million cases in the U.S. and, by 2030, it is projected that over 12 million people will have a-fib.”

Michelle Speicher, director of cardiovascular services for Baylor Grapevine, said the hospital sees approximately 400 patients with atrial fibrillation annually.

Warning signs can include racing or irregular heartbeat, fluttering in the chest, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, weakness, fainting and sweating.

But “sometimes the disease process has no symptoms,” Speicher said.

More people are developing heart failure because of increasing life spans, survival of heart attacks, and other medical conditions that put them at risk for heart failure, according to the American Heart Association.

The organization says that people 40 and older have a one in five chance of developing heart failure in their lifetime. More than 5 million people in the United States — mostly older adults — already have heart failure.

Baylor Grapevine has earned other recognitions in the field.

In January 2012, the hospital was tapped with Cycle III Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. It acknowledges the hospital’s ability to administer care for patients with heart attack symptoms.

In November 2010, they earned the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers.

The national standard of care for heart attack patients is a door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes.

“This refers to the time a patient arrives at the emergency department to intervention in the cath lab,” Speicher said. “Baylor Grapevine averaged 35 minutes in July and 49 minutes in August, significantly better than national guidelines.”

Baylor Grapevine’s Cardiovascular Unit is designed to adapt to the individual needs of heart and vascular patients, eliminating the need to move rooms as care requirements change, she said.

The 16-bed unit is the first of its kind in Tarrant County and features the universal bed concept where patients stay in one room during their hospitalization with the appropriate level of care brought to them.

The recent accreditation was accompanied by a plaque. The staff also received Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care pins.

But Newton said the best recognition is knowledge of a job well done.

“We help people get on with their lives,” he said. “It’s great to provide that kind of life sustaining care.”

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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