October 2011

October 2011 posts

Change your clock this weekend: it may help your ticker

Here’s a great reason to remember to turn your clocks back and sleep in an extra hour this weekend: it may be good for your heart.

More than 1.5 billion people reset their clocks every year, turning clocks backward by an hour in the fall and forward by an hour in the spring. These transitions can disrupt internal biologic rhythms and influence the duration and quality of sleep. But does losing or gaining that one hour have health consequences? A 2008 report in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Janszky and colleagues suggests that it does. The authors showed that there is a significant increase in the daily rate of heart attack in the first few days after we “spring ahead” and get an hour less of sleep, but that in the first few days after we “fall back” and gain an hour of sleep, there are fewer heart attacks.

Sleep deprivation carries a high risk. Sleeping less than 5-6 hours per night is associated with significant increase in the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression. But 40% of Americans...

6 Simple Steps to Prevent Medication Errors

Our medical director for quality and patient safety, Mary Gregg, MD, MHA, blogged for the Washington State Medical Association about medication safety - what we as patients can do to help keep us safe:

Medications fight illnesses, prevent disease and help improve quality of life. But it’s important to take them safely and as directed.

Dr. Mary GreggAs a cardiac surgeon, I’ve seen the consequences of not taking medications properly. I once had a heart attack patient come to the hospital. After a successful surgery inserting a stent to prevent blockage in his artery, he was discharged with a prescription for a medication to prevent clots. For one reason or another, the patient didn’t fill his prescription as instructed for several days and he ended up in the ER for emergency heart surgery.

Some easy simple steps to prevent medication errors:

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

It’s a well known fact that when you bring a baby home, sleep becomes an issue of most importance. Most of us start making decisions about where baby will sleep once we find out we’re pregnant. We start looking at cribs and bassinets, and it can be overwhelming to make a decision, but we finally do, and then we wait. When baby finally shows up, however, those ideas don’t always go the way we had planned. Where baby sleeps is a personal choice but there are straightforward guidelines as to what the baby’s sleep environment should look like.

It is recommended to have baby sleep in the same room as you for the first 3 to 6 months. This is a SIDS risk reduction measure. By having the baby sleep in the same room as the parents, their risk for SIDS can be cut in half.

If the baby will sleep in a crib, bassinet, portable play yard, mini-crib, cradle, or co-sleeper, please make sure they are current in their safety design. If you’re planning on using a pre-owned infant sleep contraption (ISC), please check for recalls.

Regardless of which ISC you use, follow these guidelines...

Crustless Spinach Quiche

You know the saying, “real men don’t eat quiche?” Well, that’s crazy because every man we know goes for seconds. Maybe that’s because it’s got Popeye’s food as the chief ingredient. We serve it for brunch and luncheon meetings and it’s great for leftovers. Serves 4.


  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cups fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen spinach, well drained
  • 2 large eggs plus 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon each dried dill weed, oregano, thyme, and black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Lightly spray a large skillet with canola oil and sauté onions with mushrooms until translucent. Set aside.
  3. Wash, dry, and coarsely chop spinach. Add 1 tablespoon water and spinach to skillet, sauté until just wilted (about 2-3 minutes). Press any liquid out of spinach using strainer. Set aside.
  4. Beat eggs and whites until frothy. Gently mix in ricotta, herbs, and spices. Fold in wilted spinach, onions, and mushrooms. Stir until everything is well coated with egg mixture.
  5. Lightly spray canola oil into an 8" x 8" ovenproof dish or deep pie pan, pour in mixture, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake until browned and quiche is set in center (25-35 minutes). Let quiche cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 180 calories, 17 gm protein, 11 gm carbohydrate, 8 gm fat, 4 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono fat, 126 mg cholesterol, 2 gm fiber, 224 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Spice up this dish by serving your favorite mustard on the side. And, for more texture, add an extra cup of different mushrooms or another vegetable. Cremini or shiitake mushrooms are good alternatives and will provide added selenium.

Swedish Set to Fully Open New Hospital in Issaquah with Inpatients to be Cared for Starting Tuesday, Nov. 1


Early warning device for heart attacks

The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person, but what if you had an early warning system that would alert you to go to the hospital before the first sign of trouble? Doctors here at Swedish are testing out a new device they hope could do just that.

In early January 2010 Swedish became the first medical center in western Washington to begin participation in the ALERTS Pivotal U.S. Trial for the AngelMed Guardian implantable cardiac monitor and alert system. The system is designed to reduce the time it takes patients to get to an emergency room during an impending heart attack.

The AngelMed Guardian System ® is designed to track significant changes in the heart’s electrical signal and then alert patients to seek medical attention. The objective of the ALERTS Pivotal Study is to provide an assessment of the safety and effectiveness of the AngelMed Guardian System.

“If the Guardian system proves to be effective in the early detection and warning of potentially life-threatening heart conditions, we may be able to shift the paradigm for early treatment at the onset of heart attacks,” said Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute interventional cardiologist Mark Reisman, M.D., principle investigator for this study at Swedish.

According to the American Heart Association, one of every five deaths in the United States is attributable to coronary heart disease. Further, 50 percent of heart-attack fatalities occur within one hour of symptom onset and occur before the patient even reaches the hospital.

Citrus Bulgur

Pineapple and orange team to create a just-right sweet touch to the bulgur. This processed form of cracked wheat is an excellent source of fiber and easy to cook. Consider it as a pantry staple. Great with our Blackened Salmon.

Try this with: Blackened Salmon


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¾ cup bulgur
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • Grated rind and juice of one orange
  • ¼ cup raisins


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cooking until translucent, 3 minutes.
  2. Pour in water, pineapple juice, orange juice, rind, and bulgur. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cook covered for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered about 5 minutes more, until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Fluff with a fork, mix in raisins and serve.

Per serving: 168 calories, 4 gm protein, 32 gm carbohydrate, 4 gm fat, .5 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 gm fiber, 7 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Bulgur is a processed form of cracked wheat. It is an excellent source of fiber, easy to cook, and has a satisfying, nutty flavor. This delicious recipe is an excellent introduction to bulgur.

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