Jessica Zegre-Hemsey Joins Critical Interprofessional Cardiovascular Care Committee

UNC Health Care recognized assistant professor Jessica Zegre-Hemsey’s emerging leadership in cardiovascular care by inviting her to join their interprofessional committee overseeing acute coronary syndrome care.

The committee, led by Dr. Prashant Kaul, MD, of the UNC Heart and Vascular Center, meets once a month to evaluate and improve care procedures for patients who suffer from heart attacks. Dr. Zegre-Hemsey, PhD, RN will join representatives from emergency medical services, the Chest Pain Center, and the UNC Health Care emergency department (ED) on the committee.

“Dr. Kaul invited me to participate because my research, which is aimed at improving the early diagnosis of patients with acute coronary syndrome, fits nicely within their scope and aim,” said Dr. Zegre-Hemsey. “It is important for ED clinicians to be able to have quick, non-invasive, and reliable technologies to generate timely diagnoses. Nurses are in an important position because they often perform triage and risk stratification for all patients entering the ED.”

Through her research, Dr. Zegre-Hemsey has examined many aspects of cardiac emergency care. In one of her most recent studies, she investigated the characteristics of patients who have false arrhythmia alarms in intensive care units. In the ICU, patients heartbeats are monitored with a device called an electrocardiogram. When there is a drastic change in rhythm, the device sounds an alarm. Unfortunately, the alarm can also be triggered by malfunctions or low voltage signals, resulting in false alarms. If the rate of false alarms is high, staff don’t respond to the warnings as urgently as they should, potentially leading to detrimental outcomes for patients. Understanding common characteristics of patients who have false alarms could help medical professionals make better decisions while they monitor their patients’ heart health. In another recent study, Dr. Zegre-Hemsey investigated how mode of transportation to the ED can affect outcomes for patients with cardiac symptoms.

Dr. Zegre-Hemsey will present data from both studies at an upcoming American Heart Association meeting in Chicago. She has received a Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing Early Career Research Travel Stipend to support her travel to the meeting.