HealthOne Stroke Care Debuts Online Stroke Assessment During National Stroke Awareness Month

Denver Residents Urged to Be Aware of Signs and Symptoms
(Denver, CO)  Nearly 800,000 Americans will suffer a stroke this year, yet most people in the U.S. cannot identify stroke warning signs or risk factors. HealthONE Stroke Care hopes to change that during May’s National Stroke Awareness Month with the introduction of its new Stroke Risk Profiler, an online assesment tool for adults of all ages.

Denver-area residents looking for more information about their risk of stroke, as well as what to look for, can visit to take the short assessment. There, individuals can learn about the impact of strokes, explore their personal risk factors and learn how to mitigate the risks. Many strokes – some studies indicate that up to 80 percent – can be prevented through risk factor management, says Dr. Chris Fanale, HealthONE Stroke and CO-DOC Medical Director. Unfortunately, public awareness of stroke warning signs and risk factors continues to lag behind, but May is a time to change this startling statistic, he says.

“A Stroke is an emergency! It’s important to learn stroke warning signs and how to respond to them,” Dr. Fanale says. “Emergency treatment may be available by acting FAST and calling 9-1-1.”

HealthONE is asking all Denver residents to remember the FAST test as a method of recognizing warning signs:

F – Face: Ask the person to smile, is one side of the face drooping down?
A – Arm: Can the person raise both arms?
S – Speech: Is speech slurred or confusing? Is the person able to speak?
T – Time: Time is critical. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Every second counts in minimizing the damage a stroke can cause to the brain – quick assessment and personalized care are key, says Dr. Fanale. In fact, HealthONE recently introduced new technology that offers remote stroke care. Its InTouch Health Remote Presence® telemedicine technology includes a camera and microphone for live two-way audio and video, and a computer, on a sleep, wheeled cart that is placed in an ER room. A CO-DOC/HealthONE Stroke Care specialist can connect a computer and joystick to the Remote Presence® unit via the Internet, and appear instantly on screen at the bedside of patients, much like video conferencing, interacting with family members and clinical staff in the room. The stroke specialist can control and zoom the camera to get closer to the patient, while accessing remote medical devices like electronic stethoscopes, otoscopes and monitoring.

Dr. Fanale reminds Denver residents that stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people aged 65 years or older. However, the CDC reports that strokes are hitting younger individuals too, raising concerns about an entirely new group of the U.S. population. The chances of having a stroke double each decade after the age of 55. Nearly 25 percent of strokes occur in people younger than age 65. For decades, the southeastern United States has had the highest stroke mortality rates in the country, although it’s not completely clear what factors contribute to the higher incidence of and mortality from stroke in this region. People with a family history of stroke are more likely to have a stroke, and by 2030, it is estimated that 4 million people will have had a stroke. This is nearly 25 percent higher than 2010 estimates.

“Immediate medical care of stroke can mean the different between life and death,” Dr. Fanale says. “During a stroke, an estimated 30,000 brain cells die per second; a patient’s outcomes and recovery are far better the quicker you can evaluate and treat the stroke.”

About HealthONE

HealthONE is the largest healthcare system in the metro Denver area with 8,700 employees and 3,000 affiliated physicians. The health system is a Colorado company created in 1995 as a 50/50 joint venture between non-profit The Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado’s second largest charitable foundation, and various affilites of HCA (NYSE: HCA).

HealthONE includes: The Medical Center of Aurora and Centennial Medical Plaza; North Suburban Medical Center; Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center (P/SL) and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children; Rose Medical Center; Sky Ridge Medical Center; Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital; Swedish Medical Center and Swedish Southwest ER; 13 ambulatory surgical centers; more than 30 occupational medicine/rehabilitation, specialty, and outpatient diagnostic imaging clinics; and AIRLIFE Denver, which provides critical care air and ground transportation for an eight-state region.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Help us raise awareness during National Stroke Awareness Month. Swedish Medical Center offers expert stroke treatment. In fact, on average we treat more patients quicker than any other hospital in Colorado.

  • What is a Stroke?

“A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain.  When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.”

Stroke Facts:

  • Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Approximately 795,000 strokes will occur this year.
  • Stroke can happen to anyone, regardless of age, sex or race.
  • More women than men have a stroke each year.
  • Two million brain cells die every minute during stroke.
  • Women are twice as likely to die from stroke verses breast cancer.

During a stroke, it’s important to act as quickly as possible. At Swedish, we act on the fact that TIME IS BRAIN. If you even think you or a loved one is having a stroke, you shouldn’t wait a second. Why? Because during a stroke, 30,000 brain cells die per second.

Learn more about Swedish’s Stroke Treatment Program, the ONLY Stroke Center in the Rocky Mountain region four-times certified by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. For more information, please call (303) 788-5000.

Meet our Stroke Team:

Front row: (left to right) Katie Leonard, NP; Stacy Shine, NP; Michelle Whaley, CNS; Rod Spencer, MD; Ira Chang MD; Chris Fanale MD

Back row: Becky Urquhart, PA; Marc Wasserman, MD; Bob Pratt, MD; Judd Jensen MD; Jeff Wagner, MD

Bariatric Patient’s Journey to Success

Patty Fredericks is no longer hiding behind the struggles of weight loss after turning 50-years old this past year she decided it was time to do something. “I want to tell people to come out of hiding. I did and it’s the best choice I’ve ever made in my life” explains Fredericks.

After years of spending money on diets and trainers, nothing seemed to work.  “I’ve tried it all and as the years went by my weight continued to go up along with my blood pressure,” says Fredericks. Feeling hopeless towards getting her health and life back, Fredericks turned to medical help and was referred to Dr. Richard Tillquist at Swedish.  “I had a family member who did a lap-band surgery and she lost a lot of weight. I figured if it worked for her than it could work for me too,” explains Fredericks.

After meeting with Tillquist, Fredericks was excited and ready to make the choice. “Dr. Tillquist was great. He really explained everything to me and made sure I understood it all,” Fredericks says. She was the perfect candidate for the lap-band surgery and she was would receive it robotically. “I thought how cool a robot! It looked like a bionicle or something,” explains Fredericks.

Tillquist is the first surgeon in Colorado to perform the lap-band surgery using the da Vinci robot. “Doing a lap-band surgery with the da Vinci allows me to more easily work on sections in the abdomen because of the motion of the robot,” explains Tillquist.

During surgery Tillquist has full control of the robot and uses 3D imaging and magnification for more precise placement of the lap-band.  He says it’s also safer and allows the patient to recover quicker with less pain. Fredericks was back to work in just days and on vacation within a week. “Everything with the surgery went really well and I can remember waking up afterwards and it felt like Christmas. It was the best present I could’ve gotten,” says Fredericks.

She is down 30 pounds since her surgery and continues to do monthly check-ups with Tillquist. “It’s great to see Patty doing so well. She’s so motivated now,” says Tillquist. She is on a portion controlled diet and exercises daily. Her goal is to lose another 100 pounds and run the Bolder Boulder race in May which she is currently training for. “I can’t wait to run across that finish line and meet all the goals I have, “says Fredericks.

Restoring Health Robotically

Ramona Olson has always chosen the healthier route in life. She exercises often, eats balanced and nutritious meals, never smokes and rarely drinks. So, when the 56-year old administrative assistant was told by the doctor that she had cancer, it just didn’t make sense. “I felt let down by my body and good habits,” explains Olson.

In October 2011, Olson was diagnosed with stage 2 endometrial cancer. Women over the age of 50 who haven’t gone through menopause can be at a higher risk of getting this form of cancer. Weeks before her diagnosis, Olson was having abnormal stomach pains and started hemorrhaging. A quick trip to the ER changed her life forever. “I was petrified, I had a complete meltdown, I thought I was going to die,” says Olson. Both of Olson’s parents had passed away from the disease and she wasn’t going to let it take her own.

Dr. Kevin Davis, Olson’s oncologist helped calm her fears and anxieties about the diagnosis and recommended that surgery be the immediate option to get rid of her cancer.  “I felt so comfortable and so reassured that I was going be ok,” says Olson. Davis suggested a full hysterectomy and Olson was the perfect candidate to receive her surgery robotically because her cancer was in its early stages. “Having robotic surgery is less invasive and gives the patient a quicker recovery time and better results,” explains Davis.

The procedure Olson underwent is called, da Vinci Hysterectomy.  This state-of-the-art surgery is designed to give the patient less pain, less risk of infection and minimal scarring.  The 3D technology allows a doctor to control the tiny instruments with a magnified view giving them ultimate control of movement inside the body.

Olson was amazed at the outcome of her surgery after returning to work only a week and half after surgery. “I don’t know if I would have done this well if I didn’t have this technology and hadn’t seen Dr. Davis. I feel pretty darn good,” says Olson.  After recently completing radiation her cancer is now in remission. Olson says she has a new appreciation for life and is glad she came to Swedish. “I feel very blessed. From the moment we walked in there, it was just a great experience and now my cancer is gone.”

Heart Care at Swedish

What makes The Heart Center at Swedish the right choice for your cardiac care?

As Seen on Denver’s 9News
Heart attack patient James Sanwick, 61, is rushed from the ambulance to the cardiac cath lab through Swedish’s new Cardiac AlertSM program.

Whether you have unexplained chest pain, need cardiac testing or are experiencing a heart attack, The Heart Center at Swedish Medical Center offers comprehensive cardiac care that includes coordination between the EMS responders, the Emergency Department, and the experienced team of healthcare professionals to ensure you receive appropriate care for your condition.

Chest Pain Program

  • Our progressive Chest Pain Program can be completed in under six hours and does not require patients to be admitted beyond the Emergency Department. At other hospitals, this process typically takes 18-24 hours and involves an overnight stay. Learn when to call 9-1-1 due to Chest Pain>>
  • Chest Pain Nurse Practitioners at Swedish are on staff more hours per day than any other facility in the Denver

Cardiac Alert

  • When EMS call a “Cardiac Alert” on the way to Swedish, patients are met on arrival by an Emergency Department physician
  • Two Cath Labs provide comprehensive emergent services
  • Advanced Electrophysiology lab performs AICD insertions, atrial fibrillation ablations and other complicated ablations
  • Swedish’s median door-to-balloon times for Cardiac Alert patients are one of the best in the region

Cardiac Thoracic Surgery

  • The Operating Room is available 24/7 for emergent heart and thoracic surgery
  • The CCU staff provides a designated team of nurses for open-heart surgery patients

The Heart Center Staff

  • Some of the most highly credentialed nurses in the state.
  • Use a multi-disciplinary approach to working with our cardiovascular surgeons to provide excellent care for our CV surgical patients resulting in positive outcomes with shorter lengths of stay than the national average.