Sheikh Khalifa Medical City recognised as one of world's top cardiovascular disease institutions

Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) has revealed it is recognised as one of the world's foremost institutions for cardiovascular patient care.

SKMC, managed by the Cleveland Clinic, is now one of just a handful of institutions in the world - and the only such institute outside of the US - to receive accreditation as a Cycle IV Chest Pain Centre. SKMC is part of the Seha Health System and is owned and operated by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC (Seha), which is responsible for the curative activities of all the public hospitals and clinics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

To become an Accredited Chest Pain Centre, SKMC was rigorously evaluated by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) - a US-based international, not-for-profit organization - for its ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

Dr. Abdulmajeed Al Zubaidi, Chief Medical Officer of SKMC, said, "Becoming an Accredited Chest Pain Centre is a landmark moment for SKMC, and has demonstrably enhanced the quality of our care for cardiac patients, as well as highlighted our commitment to high standards that few medical institutions anywhere in the world can match." Receiving the accreditation means that SKMC has achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients with heart attack symptoms. It also emphasises the importance of standardised diagnostic and treatment programs for more effective evaluations, as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment.

"SKMC's stated vision is to be recognized as a preeminent medical center that strives to achieve superior clinical outcomes," said Fred DeGrandis, CEO, SKMC "The hospital was awarded Cycle III Chest Pain Centre accreditation in 2009 and this latest acknowledgement is a an affirmation of our on-going commitment to maintaining the highest healthcare standards," he added.

SKMC's doctors warn of heart risks of hypertension and high cholesterol "Many people experience several preventable risks to the heart, such as hypertension and high cholesterol. This makes them more susceptible to heart diseases at an early stage in their lives," said Dr. Wael Al-Mahmeed, Chief of Cardiology and Medical Director of the Chest Pain Centre at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

"It is worrying that many people do not realise that they suffer from heart diseases until after they experience a heart attack. Obtaining this accreditation means that patients showing symptoms of heart attack, like chest pain, can now receive special intensive care. Until now, this was offered only by a handful of prestigious medical institutions in the world," Dr. Al-Mahmeed continued.

Dr. Murray Van Dyke, Chief of Emergency Department, SKMC, added, "People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that's a mistake. The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don't realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient." According to a recent local arm of an international study, 41% of the UAE population aged 30 years and older has high blood pressure (hypertension), a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. This number is significantly higher than the global average of 25 to 30%, according to latest data from the World Health Organisation, which has also warned that prevalence will double to 50 to 60% by 2025.

The UAE is already seeing a rise in cases of hypertension, especially among a growing number of younger people (under 35), as a result of unhealthy lifestyles including poor diet and lack of exercise. However, because the disease is symptomless, many people are unaware they have high blood pressure and go undiagnosed.

Cardiovascular disease is also a major complication of diabetes, and the leading cause of early death among sufferers of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 65% of people with diabetes die from heart disease and stroke. UAE statistics show that as many as 20% of the local population is affected by diabetes, with no signs that this number is decreasing.

"Our accreditation means that processes are in place to meet strict criteria aimed at reducing the time from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment. This approach means patients receive treatment during the critical window of time while the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved," added Dr. Almahmeed.

SKMC's state-of-the-art facilities encompasses the entire range of care for heart patients and includes the only 24-hour Primary PCI service, advanced cath lab, non-invasive testing, a newly opened Emergency Department, quality improvement program, and a community outreach program.