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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 23, 2004

UI Hospitals And Clinics To Open Chest Pain Center

Specialists at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will begin caring for patients in a new Chest Pain Center on Monday, Jan. 26.

The Chest Pain Center will enhance the evaluation and management of chest pain for patients at UI Hospitals and Clinics. The Emergency Treatment Center (ETC) at UI Hospitals and Clinics, eastern Iowa's only designated Level I Trauma Center, will house the center.

" The Chest Pain Center will allow us to provide more efficient and thorough heart care," said Stephen Scheckel, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at UI Hospitals and Clinics. "By using an observation period of approximately 8 to 12 hours, we will be better able to determine which patients can safely go home and which patients will require hospital admission and further cardiac testing."

In the past, patients who came to emergency departments with chest pain were either admitted to the hospital for up to several days to have a heart attack ruled out, or sent home. Some of those patients who were sent home were at higher risk for complications. Studies have shown that making the diagnosis of a heart attack when some people are first seen in an emergency department can be very difficult. Certain groups of people, including women, diabetics and the elderly, can have atypical symptoms. Sorting out the patients who can safely go home versus those who need to be hospitalized for further evaluation has been a costly and risky diagnostic dilemma.

Chest pain centers address this dilemma by providing an observation period in the emergency department during which a standard set of tests are run to rule out heart attack in the patient with chest pain. In addition, a cardiac risk assessment, healthy heart education and counseling by a cardiac rehabilitation specialist is provided. Prior to discharge, most patients will undergo a form of provocative testing (for example, treadmill testing) to further assess their cardiac risk.

" Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the state of Iowa," said Neal Weintraub, M.D., interim head of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases in the UI Department of Internal Medicine. "Yet, patients often delay seeking evaluation for chest pain. Hopefully, the Chest Pain Center will increase awareness of this disease and prompt more patients to seek evaluation when chest pain develops.

" Patients will appreciate the convenience that the Chest Pain Center offers," Weintraub added. "It is easy to locate the facility, and convenient parking is available. Once their evaluation has been completed, most patients will walk out of the Chest Pain Center and return immediately to normal activities, including work, without having to undergo additional testing. Those patients who are determined to have underlying heart disease will promptly receive the cardiac treatment that they need."

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,