Tag Archives: stroke


Two Valley Hospitals offer free stroke checks

In honor of Stroke Awareness Month in May,  Mountain Vista Medical Center and Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital are partnering with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to offer free stroke-risk assessments through the health initiative, StrokeCheck.

Hospitals will provide free screenings that may include blood pressure checks, cholesterol screenings, pulse checks for peripheral artery disease (PAD) and body mass index (BMI) calculations. Additionally, attendees can fill out stroke-risk assessment checklists, enjoy light heart healthy refreshments, and will have the opportunity to speak with medical professionals such as a cardiologist, nutritionist and pharmacist regarding screening results.

Screening events will take place on:

  • May 11, 9 a.m. – Noon at  Mountain Vista Medical Center, 1301 S. Crismon Road, Mesa
  • May 11, 9 a.m. – Noon at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital, 1500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe

In the U.S., stroke, or “brain attack,” is the fourth leading cause of death and the American Stroke Association estimates, on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds.  Fortunately, nearly 80 percent of strokes are preventable with proper education and awareness.


Appointments are required and are limited. To make an appointment at Mountain Vista Medical Center call 1-877-924-WELL (9355) and to make an appointment at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital call 1-877-351-WELL (9355).

To learn more about stroke care services at Mountain Vista Medical Center or Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital, visit www.mvmedicalcenter.com or www.tempestlukeshospital.com.


1st Arizona patients undergo stroke preventing implant

Two Arizona Heart Hospital patients today became the first in Arizona to receive an implant of a stroke-preventing device since it was approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration.

The Watchman Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device manufactured by Boston Scientific BostonSci_Watchman_Brochure_v12received FDA approval on March 13. It is used for patients with atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia, affecting more than 5 million patients in the United States. With atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart beat abnormally fast and people are five times more likely to develop a stroke.

Carol Burns, 78, of Tahuya, Wash., is one of two patients who had the device implanted this morning at Arizona Heart Hospital in Phoenix.

“I have been waiting for more than a year to get the Watchman. I am looking forward to not having to take blood thinners anymore,’’ said Burns who spends winters in El Mirage.

Heather Henderson, 73, of Phoenix, who also had the device implanted today, said she is no longer is worried about having a stroke.

“The Watchman will protect me and I will be able to live my life better,’’ she said.

Dr. Vijendra Swarup

Dr. Vijendra Swarup

Dr.  Vijay Swarup, who is Burns’ and Henderson’s physician, said the FDA’s approval means that more patients will have access to this Watchman device, an umbrella mesh-like device that is implanted in the heart via a catheter through a vein in a patient’s upper leg. The device has been commercially available internationally since 2009.

“The device is an alternative to traditional blood thinners which often cause significant bleeding complications,” Swarup said.

The Arizona Heart Hospital had been conducting clinical studies on the Watchman device for the past eight years. Swarup is the principal investigator for the clinical studies at Arizona Heart Hospital in partnership with Arizona Heart Rhythm Center.

Arizona Heart Hospital is the only Arizona hospital and among 48 sites nationally that have been conducting clinical studies on the Watchman device. Arizona Heart Hospital ranks among the top sites as far as the number of devices implanted during the clinical trials, according to Boston Scientific.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, stroke is the leading cause in the United States of serious long-term disability and the third leading cause of death.

The Watchman study is one of several clinical studies being conducted at Arizona Heart Hospital.

“Arizona Heart Hospital is an industry leader with a broad range of vascular research with multiple clinical trials underway, said Arizona Heart Hospital President Stephen Harris.

With skilled physicians, state-of-the-art equipment and innovative techniques, Arizona Heart is at the forefront of identifying innovative solutions and utilizing research to attack and overcome heart and vascular disease.  Areas of specialty include cardiac ablations treatment for arrhythmia disease, structural heart disease treatments such as valve replacement surgery; and a Vascular Surgery Fellowship.

Arizona Heart Hospital has received several awards including recognition as one of Truven Top 50 hospitals for Heart Care and it ranks among the top of Tenet’s 80 hospitals for quality and growth. 

NM Gold Plus Stroke Award

John C. Lincoln receives stroke award

John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital received the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

Get With The Guidelines Stroke helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital also received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for meeting stroke quality measures that reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the clot-buster tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. People who suffer a stroke who receive the drug within three hours of the onset of symptoms may recover quicker and are less likely to suffer severe disability.

“Our health care providers are dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care,” said Donna Sells, orthopedic/neurosciences service line administrator. “Patients can trust that they are receiving the highest quality care based on internationally-respected clinical guidelines.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

For more information on stroke, visit JCL.com/stroke.

Knowledge Of Heart Attack And Stroke Symptoms Can Help Save Lives

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often, people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

Chest discomfort — Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body — Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath — this can occur with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter. Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 911.

Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get life-saving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff also are trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.

If you can’t access emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the hospital right away. If you’re the one having symptoms, don’t drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option.

Stroke warning signs
If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don’t delay calling for help:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

Immediately call 911 or the EMS number so an ambulance — ideally with advanced life support — can be sent for you. Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. It’s very important to take immediate action.

If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogenactivator (tPA) can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. The drug is the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of stroke within three hours of stroke symptom onset.


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010