Dr. Jerstad working in the Avera Heart Hospital Emergency Dept.
Medical Director of the Avera Heart Hospital Emergency Department Dr. John Jerstad says, "In 2004 we got our first accreditation to be certified Chest Pain Center by the Society of Chest Pain Centers and you have to get reaccreditated every two years which we just did and came through with flying colors. We are officially a certified cycle 3 chest pain centers. What we are trying to do is save as much time as we can when someone comes in with a heart attack and get them to the appropriate place and get the help they need. A big part of the accreditation is following the numbers, getting stats and sticking to the guidelines set at treating people appropriately. If people feel symptoms they need to get in right away. It's calculated this year more than a million Americans will have their first heart attack or recurrent heart attack. 38 % of those people will die, half of them in the first hour. Time is critical in saving lives and heart muscle. It's important to get in early."