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A peek into the North Hills Hospital cardiac rehab department of the 80s.

A peek into the North Hills Hospital cardiac rehab department of the 80s.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

This week, we are loving the 1980s Cardiac Rehab department’s stylishly retro track suits (especially the nurse’s matching Adidas)!

Have you ever been a patron of one of our therapy departments here at North Hills? What changes have you seen over the years? How have our therapy services affected the rehabilitation experience for you or someone you know?

For more information about the therapy services available at North Hills Hospital and our state-of-the-art Outpatient Clinic, please visit us online or contact us at (817) 255-1672 and we will be happy to give you more information about our inpatient and outpatient services.

Learn more about Antay Parker, a PACU nurse at North Hills Hospital, who lives with a serious cardiac condition and recently completed the Cowtown Half Marathon.

At 18 years of age, Antay Parker suffered a cardiac arrest and was not expected to survive. But after a month in the ICU, Antay walked out of the hospital with a pacemaker and an entirely new perspective on life. Last month, Antay also completed the Cowtown Half Marathon. How did she do this? We spent some time talking to Antay about her heart condition, how it has changed her life and her decision to run the half marathon.

Antay did not expect that she would become a PACU nurse someday. In fact, she has her BA in History and Religion. But after she experienced her cardiac arrest and spent her difficult recovery with an exceptional nursing staff, she realized, "This is what I am supposed to do." In fact, the nurses who helped her recover have now become some of her closest friends and were important mentors during her years in nursing school.

Now a PACU nurse at North Hills Hospital, Antay aims to assist others the way her nurses helped her. Her heart condition has been challenging, but she is extraordinarily grateful for her second chance at life. In fact, she seeks out those suffering from conditions such as hers and aims to offer them hope during their recovery.

Running the Cowtown Half Marathon
Antay, 25, explained that she was challenged with a bet and told she couldn't run the Cowtown Half Marathon. "I am on the hard-headed side." she said, and decided to enter to prove to everyone else and herself that she could run it. While Antay was a runner and athlete before her heart condition, she knew this would be an extraordinary challenge for her.

Before the run, Antay spent time with her cardiologist and adjustments were made to her pacemaker, but they did not have much time to test it. "We didn't know what might happen." On the morning of the race, Antay admitted she was "absolutely terrified." But despite her fears and the extreme cold that morning, Antay raced anyway. "I always say, 'If someone says you can't do it, prove that you can until you can't.'" And that morning, Antay did it. She completed the race entirely pacemaker-dependent with no natural heartbeat of her own.

What's Next
How did she feel after the race? "It was so satisfying. I was on Cloud 9!" Antay hopes her story will inspire others who have suffered similar medical conditions. "Whether you are 8 or 80, don't let a cardiac device or event define who you are. I see it a lot with patients. But it isn't who you are. If I ever feel sorry for myself, I remember that I am upright and everyday is a gift. I got a second chance."

Antay's story stands to inspire many future cardiac patients and we are very proud to have Antay as a nurse here at North Hills Hospital. We asked Antay if she plans to run another race. "I hope to run a marathon next," she said. We expect that she will succeed at this goal and many others in the years to come.

Congratulations, Antay!

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Know the signs of heart attack and when to seek help.

Did you know that according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, heart disease is the number one killer of women? Make it a point to understand the warning signs for females. It could save your life or save the life of a loved one. Remember, heart disease doesn’t discriminate. Men and women should both be aware of the signs of heart attack.

What are universal symptoms of heart attack?
For the most part, women experience heart attack symptoms the same way that men do. Common symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness. These are obvious signs of heart attack and should always be a sign to seek emergency care immediately.

How do women experience heart attack symptoms?
While these symptoms aren’t exclusive to women, they are more frequently confused for other issues when experienced by women. Keep these symptoms and signs in mind so you know when to seek help:

  • Nausea. This is a symptom that is actually more common for women than for men. In fact, womenshealth.gov explains that women are two times as likely to experience nausea when having a heart attack.
  • Severe upper body pain. Women can experience heart attack pain in areas outside of the chest, such as pain in the jaw.
  • Unusual sweating. Women having signs of menopause may not recognize breaking out in a sweat as a possible heart attack symptom.
  • Extreme fatigue. Heart attack symptoms may manifest as severe fatigue. Women need to understand that this could be a sign of heart attack as well as other health concerns.

Be smart about heart attack symptoms
If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. It’s better to be cautious than ignore potential signs. Don’t wait for chest pain to occur if you think you might be having a heart attack.

Help prevent heart disease. North Hills Hospital is the first hospital in the United States to have a Cycle 4 Chest Pain Center. Visit North Hills Hospital's Heart Center online for more information on heart health and screenings, or call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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Learn how to give a miracle by registering as an organ donor.

Thousands of people every year are given a second chance at life thanks to donated organ and tissue transplants, according to OrganDonor.gov. At any given moment, there are thousands of adults and children waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. In honor of National Organ Donor Day, learn how to become an organ donor. By allowing for the possibility of organ and tissue donation, you are giving entire families hope for the future.

Begin by registering
The first step in becoming an organ donor is to register. Find your state’s registry and sign up. You should also have your status designated on your driver’s license. It may be painful or uncomfortable to consider your own passing, but know that a designation on your license can help medical staff proceed with timely organ or tissue harvesting.

Talk to your family
It’s important that your loved ones know that you would like to be an organ donor. Share the information with your friends and family, and also make sure it’s included in your will and advanced directives. Your organ donor status won’t change the medical treatment you receive or the quality of your care, but it’s important for medical staff and family to know.

Don’t assume you’re not a candidate
OrganDonor.gov shares that 18 people die each day waiting for transplants. Don’t rule yourself out if you’re elderly or have an existing medical condition. There are only a few exceptions that make donors ineligible. Keep in mind that there’s an increased need for minority donors.

Don't put it off
If you are considering organ donation and decide to be a donor, don’t put off registering. If you’re worried about upsetting your family, keep in mind that many loved ones have found comfort in knowing an organ or tissue donation helped to save another life.

Find out how to stay healthy and avoid chronic disease that can lead to the need for organ transplantation. Visit North Hills Hospital online or call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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Taking Good Care of Your Heart

One in three adults live with high blood pressure — and many don't even know it. Since this condition comes with very few symptoms but has dangerous consequences, we would like to share some important facts about high blood pressure.

Did you know?

  • High blood pressure dramatically increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
  • Only half of U.S. adults actually have their blood pressure condition under control.
  • There are very few obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it has been named "The Silent Killer."
  • According to the CDC, high blood pressure was listed as a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 347,000 Americans in 2008.
  • Blood pressure tends to rise with age.
  • For every 100,000 deaths in Tarrant County, 268 are caused by high blood pressure. The national rate is 200 per 100,000 deaths.
  • High blood pressure can be treated and prevented. Be sure to follow these steps to reduce your risk.
  • The North Hills Hospital Heart Center offers cardiac patients the most advanced preventative cardiac care available. Do you Know Your Numbers?
  • The DASH Diet is highly recommended for those aiming to lower their blood pressure. Please watch this video: The DASH Diet.

With high blood pressure statistics being as high as they are in the metroplex, we encourage everyone in the North Richland community to have an annual check-up, including a blood pressure screening. Please call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral, or you can visit us online here. North Hills Hospital is proud to be the first hospital in the United States to have a Cycle 4 Chest Pain Center with PCI.

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Imagine If It Were Your Child

How good are you to your heart? Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., so this vital organ of ours should be given top priority. February is American Heart Month so now is the perfect time to take steps in your life to help prevent heart disease. Here are ten ways you can do this:

1. Manage Existing Conditions
If you have diabetes or other health conditions, manage them appropriately. Take the medications prescribed to you by your doctor and always inform your doctor when you’re feeling new symptoms.

2. Get Moving
Exercise is a huge part of heart health and one of the best things you can do for yourself. Adopt a routine that includes some type of physical fitness for at least 30 minutes a day almost every day of the week. Balance this with light strength training and stretching.

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
According to the CDC, obesity can lead to a variety of health complications, including coronary heart disease. Even losing a little weight can help, so begin right away with a better diet. Instead of focusing on dieting, focus on eating fewer calories and more heart healthy foods like whole grains.

4. Eat Less Meat
Take a hint from the national campaign Meatless Monday and skip meat at least one day a week. Try new recipes that spotlight delicious grains and vegetables.

5. Be Prepared
In the event of a heart attack, know to seek help quickly. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, of the people who die from heart attacks, about half die before they reach the hospital. Have an action plan for yourself and loved ones.

6. Cut out Alcohol
According to the CDC, alcohol can increase risk of many health issues, including high blood pressure. Avoid alcohol to help avoid heart disease.

7. Work With Your Doctor
You and your health care provider are a team. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to prevent heart disease and about your personal risk factors, including family history. Keep appointments and work with your doctor to monitor your cholesterol.

8. Monitor Blood Pressure
Keep your blood pressure under control through regular monitoring and the help of your physician. If you’ve been prescribed medication, take it regularly.

9. Avoid Smoking and Secondhand Smoke
If you smoke, quit. If you don’t, be aware of the risk of secondhand smoke. The US Surgeon General has stated, “Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.”

10. Beat Stress
Try to limit stress in your life. This isn’t easy, but it’s something you can try to be aware of. Don’t over-extend yourself when it comes to commitments and focus on doing things that make you feel good.

North Hills Hospital’s Chest Pain Center is the first in Texas to achieve Cycle I, II, and III accreditation for chest pain care. Please visit our website to learn when to worry about chest pain. To find a cardiologist, please call 1-855-5NHILLS.

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Imagine you’re at one of your child’s sporting events, and suddenly, amid all the action and commotion, your child collapses to the ground. He is not breathing and lies motionless. His heart has stopped due to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Indeed, one of the most perplexing aspects of SCA is that it often occurs among children and young athletes who appear healthy and have no symptoms. Sudden cardiac arrest may be the first sign of an undetected heart problem. 

More than 350,000 Americans die each year from SCA. Thousands are children. Sudden cardiac death claims a young athlete every three days in the United States. In the past five years, at least 50 children and young athletes have died from probable sudden cardiac arrest in Texas. It can strike anyone, anywhere, and when it does, a victim’s chance of survival depends on the people around them. 

When Sudden Cardiac Arrest Strikes …

Bystanders must be able to recognize cardiac arrest, phone 911, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to get oxygen-rich blood circulating through the victim’s body, and use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Applying the AED will only help the victim. You cannot hurt someone with an AED because it will only apply shock if needed. The AED works with voice prompts and is very easy to use. A sudden cardiac arrest may look like a seizure in the beginning. But remember that anyone who is unresponsive and not breathing normally needs CPR and the AED. 

What Can You Do?

· Register for a CPR/AED class, held here at North Hills Hospital on Saturday mornings. The course is designed to build confidence, as well as skills. It uses a lot of hands-on practice in simulated emergency situations. Anyone over the age of 14 who expresses an interest should take the course.

· Know the warning signs that might indicate a need for a pediatric cardiac evaluation: fainting or near-fainting during or after exercise; excessive, unexplained fatigue associated with exercise; unusual chest pain or discomfort with exercise; dizziness and lightheadedness; skipping or racing heartbeats; unexplained heart murmur; or high blood pressure.

· Know your family history. At least 50 percent of the diagnoses that cause sudden cardiac death are genetic.

· Find out if your child’s recreation league has AEDs and trained staff at their practices and games.

Texas State Law requires all public schools and certain athletic events to have an AED and trained staff; unfortunately state law does not require our children’s recreational leagues to have AEDs and trained staff at practice and games. 

Our Tragedy

Sarah Friend lived life with purpose. She was a beautiful girl who was loved by her friends, teachers, and her family. On July 14, 2004, Sarah set off to NRH20 Water Park and never returned home. She was three weeks short of her 13th birthday when she collapsed climbing the stairs of a water coaster and was not resuscitated. In the dark hours that followed, the cause of her untimely death was announced as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)—a thickening of the heart muscle. But as more details surfaced, the actual cause of death was diagnosed as sudden cardiac arrest.

Sarah’s passing made apparent the serious need for proper training of staff members in public places and schools so they can recognize and respond to the treatment of all emergencies, including cardiac ones. When someone suffers a cardiac arrest and his or her heart goes into ventricular fibrillation, the only lifesaving remedy is an AED.

The aftermath of this tragic event left many unanswered questions, the largest of which we know would have come from Sarah. As a result, we launched the Sarah Friend Heart Foundation.

Sarah’s Legacy

The annual Run for Sarah 5K and 1Mile Run/Walk is the Sarah Friend Heart Foundation’s way of raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest in kids. We are very honored and humbled to have North Hills Hospital support our mission these past six years. Our annual fundraiser has donated 25 AEDs to Northeast Tarrant Schools alone and has assisted with their CPR programs.

On Saturday, May 14, 2011, join us and thousands of walkers, joggers and runners as we Run for Sarah!

Sarah’s life and death are a daily part of my life. She was a student, a sister, and a daughter, and now she is an inspiration to save lives and to prevent other families from having to endure such a loss. We strongly believe that if an emergency action plan is in place, lives will be saved. We have fire evacuation plans and fire drills to save lives, but ask any firefighters, and they’ll tell you that AEDs are used more than fire extinguishers. We need to implement emergency action plans and AED mock drills. 

The Future … Heart-Safe Schools and Communities

We are excited to help launch Project ADAM Texas, led by Cook Children’s, in Northeast Tarrant County. Project ADAM will assist our schools with their existing public access defibrillation program and increase awareness and understanding of sudden cardiac arrest and how to properly respond to it. Working together, we will be able to save more lives by promoting the awareness of and response to sudden cardiac emergencies. This development will clearly benefit all our communities, since both children and adults are affected by sudden cardiac arrest. 

—Laura Friend