Chest Pain Center

Under the leadership of Medical Director, Gerald Pytlewski, DO, cardiologist, St. Luke’s meets and exceeds critical measures set by the Center for Medicare Services and American College of Cardiology relating to “Door to Balloon Time.”

St. Luke's Chest Pain Center

St. Luke's Hospital-Allentown Campus and St. Luke’s University Hospital-Bethlehem Campus were the first hospitals in the Lehigh Valley to become accredited Chest Pain Centers. St. Luke's Hospital - Quakertown Campus and St. Luke's Hospital - Miners Campus also are recognized as Chest Pain Centers.

The accredited Chest Pain Centers provide fast, state-of-the-art treatment to prevent heart attacks. A highly skilled team with advanced knowledge in the management of heart attacks provides rapid therapy to all our chest pain patients. Being treated at an accredited chest pain center can make the difference between life and death.

Know the Symptoms and Dial 911

Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but it is important to call 911 if you have any symptoms associated with a heart attack so the accredited chest pain center’s highly skilled medical team may be able to minimize the risks associated with a heart attack.

Warning signs include:

  • Chest pain
  • Throat or jaw pain radiating to the left shoulder
  • Pain that radiates down the left arm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mid-back pain radiating to the chest
  • Chest tightness or pressure
  • Chest discomfort (severe heartburn unrelieved with antacids)

These symptoms also may be accompanied by:

  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

Note for women: Like men, women most commonly have chest pain or discomfort as a heart attack symptom. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting, back pain or jaw pain.

Don’t ever ignore a heart attack symptom because the longer you wait to get help, the greater the chance your heart will be permanently damaged.

Why Dial 911

If you experience these symptoms, do not drive yourself to the hospital or allow someone to drive you. Call 911. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) can start treating you upon arrival in communication with an Emergency Department physician. While waiting for EMS:

  • STOP what you are doing
  • Sit or lie down
  • Stay calm
  • Crush or chew a full-strength aspirin (swallow with a glass of water) to prevent further blood clotting

It is important to have a list of all the medicines (prescription and over-the-counter), vitamins and supplements you take.

St. Luke's Hospital evaluates more than 5,000 patients with chest pain every year at its hospital locations in Bethlehem and Allentown. The accredited St. Luke’s Chest Pain Center Program is distinguished by a scientific guideline-driven, systematic approach to patient management that allows physicians to streamline treatment time during the critical stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that a patient is neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted to the hospital.

Our hospitals in BethlehemAllentown, CoaldaleEaston and Quakertown offer:

Under the leadership of Medical Director, Gerald Pytlewski, DO, cardiologist, St. Luke’s meets and exceeds critical measures set by the Center for Medicare Services and American College of Cardiology relating to “Door to Balloon Time.” Door-to-Balloon Time encompasses the period from the point a patient experiencing heart attack warning signs makes first medical contact, whether arrival of EMS or arrival at Emergency Department, to the opening of a blocked coronary artery and restoration of blood flow to the heart muscle in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. The Chest Pain Team at St. Luke’s Hospital takes the term “time is muscle” very seriously.