October 2011
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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...

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.

Surgical precision and painted pumpkins

Forget 'will it blend' - you should be asking, can my robot paint a pumpkin? (It can!)

Dr. Kristen Austin, OB/GYN (obstetrics and gynecology) physician at Swedish/Issaquah paints a Jack-O-Lantern on a miniature pumpkin using the da Vinci robot to demonstrate how this device gives surgeons greater surgical precision and dexterity over existing approaches.


If you've been wondering what the setup looks like in the OR, here are a few behind the scenes photo from our video shoot:

 

Swedish Introduces Specialty Dental Care for Low-Income Adults to Get Free Help from Volunteer Dentists and Community Contributors

SEATTLE, Oct. 21, 2011 – Swedish this month added adult specialty dental care to the extensive list of free services available to low-income uninsured and underinsured patients at the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic (SCSC). This is the only specialty clinic of it kind in the Puget Sound area.

Staffed by local volunteer dentists and oral surgeons from the Seattle-King County Dental Society, the dental clinic focuses on complex specialty care. The focus is starting first with difficult tooth extractions and plans to add root canals in the future. The clinic has three fully outfitted dental surgery and treatment rooms paid for by community grants and the Swedish Foundation.

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