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Kelly Barbeau
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A Partnership with heart St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is now a member of Prairie Heart Institute

A Partnership with heart
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is now a member of
Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois’ Chest Pain Network

Belleville –St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, an accredited Chest Pain Center and an award-winning leader in cardiac care, continues to improve its cardiovascular services by joining the Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois’ (PHII) Chest Pain Network.

The benefit of a Chest Pain Network is a standardized approach to diagnosing and treating chest pain and heart attacks throughout the region. Patients who are brought to St. Elizabeth’s emergency department with a cardiac trauma or chest pain undergo rapid response treatment including:

  •  immediate triage
  • diagnostic testing and assessment to determine if an acute heart attack is occurring
  • electrocardiogram (EKG) testing while en route for cardiac patients arriving by ambulance

“We are proud to be associated with Prairie Heart Institute and the renown and successful cardiologists of Prairie Cardiovascular. This approach allows for immediate decision-making and treatments to provide the best possible heart care and better outcomes for patients,” said Jennifer Helbling, RN, Chest Pain Network Coordinator.

The Chest Pain Network relies on smaller, rural hospitals, local EMS, and emergency room physicians working together to provide seamless transfers to St. Elizabeth’s.

“Our ongoing goal is to ensure emergency responders and our sister facilities in Breese and Highland are well-trained for chest pain emergencies so residents can be confident in the care they will receive,” Helbling said.The whole community benefits from having a Chest Pain Network established. For patients, it provides a rapid determination, without fear or embarrassment, of the cause of chest pain using Prairie Heart protocols. All possible treatment and follow-up care is provided locally so patients and their families can be close to each other and coordinated with their personal physician. There is also a streamlined process to transfer to a specialized facility, if necessary.

Helbling serves as an RN Liaison from the Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois to assist with all coordinating education and implementation of protocols, and also provides community and professional education at public events. She reminds the public to become aware of heart attack warning signs:

  •  Pressure, burning, squeezing in the center of the chest
  •  Discomfort in one or both arms, shoulders neck, jaw, stomach or back
  •  Shortness of breath, fatigue, cold sweat, nausea, weak
  •  Feeling light headed

“I cannot stress how important it is for everyone to know these symptoms in order to identify heart attack symptoms and signs. Be sure to call 9-1-1 immediately and do not drive yourself,” Helbling says.  She also encourages the patient or a loved one to take note of the time symptoms started occurring. “When you choose St. Elizabeth’s Hospital you can be assured that a team of a Prairie Cardiovascular cardiologist and our colleagues will be there to provide appropriate treatment and diagnosis.”

The comprehensive services available to the region at St. Elizabeth’s also include a continuum of care through diagnostic testing such as stress tests, electrocardiograms, and diagnostic catheterization; emergency heart care; and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Prairie Heart comprehensive protocols that address all aspects of emergent cardiac care including STEMI, nSTEMI, Observation and Inpatient care.


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