Meet Two Teams Fighting the Battle Against Heart and Brain Attacks with the Only Two Comprehensive Programs in Osceola County
“Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.” This is the mission statement of Osceola Regional Medical Center, the 396 bed state-of-the-art hospital our county houses within the heart of Kissimmee. It is accredited by the Joint Commission, a not for profit private organization which evaluates and accredits over 16,000 health care organizations in the United States. Two of the components of Osceola Regional Medical Center which will be highlighted in this article are the Heart and Vascular Institute and the Comprehensive Stroke Center, which is a portion of the Neuroscience Department.
Osceola Regional Medical Center is the only full service cardiovascular hospital in the region. It boasts of a Chest Pain Center that is equipped with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), which provides the ability to emergently open a blood vessel within 90 minutes or less of an acute heart attack. In addition to having PCI services, Osceola Regional has the only heart surgery program in Osceola County.
Cardiovascular disease comes in a variety of forms, which sometimes cause a heart attack, congestive heart failure or a stroke. In the event of a heart attack, it is important to be familiar with the symptoms so you or your loved one can seek medical attention immediately. As they say, “time is muscle” in the event of a heart attack, meaning the sooner the blocked artery can be opened, the less heart muscle damage there is. The signs of a heart attack may include: pressure or pain in the chest, shortness of breath, cold sweats, lightheadedness, or pain in the arm, back, neck, stomach, or face. These may vary in women, who may also experience nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and discomfort in the lower chest, back pain, or abdominal pressure. Over 50% of patients experience the early symptoms of a heart attack.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the latest American Heart Association statistics. It claims more lives than all forms of cancer and chronic respiratory disease combined-nearly 800,000 people will die of it this year. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Dr. Mark Adkins, cardiovascular surgeon at the Heart and Vascular Institute gave Osceola Woman some insight into why heart disease might be overlooked by some as the leading cause of death in women. “Symptoms that women present can sometimes be different than men, and therefore may go unrecognized or are minimized”, he stated. In fact, heart disease kills six times as many women as breast cancer does.
“In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise, nutrition, refraining from smoking, and managing weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, women should see their primary care physicians on at least annual basis. The testing and monitoring that the primary care physician coordinates in the office may detect cardiac disease in the absence of specific symptoms.” said Dr. Adkins.
Dr. Adkins has 30 years of experience, and has been at Osceola Regional Medical Center Heart and Vascular Institute since June of 2017. He said he is very proud of his accomplishments he has made thus far in his career, and is especially proud of leading efforts at his prior position which resulted in receiving a 3-star STS rating for coronary artery bypass graft surgery. This is the highest possible quality rating in the nation for cardiac surgery, and it is his goal to achieve the same rating here at Osceola Regional. There is no need for patients to travel outside of the county when seeking cardiac surgery. With the high rates of satisfaction and growing reputation at Osceola Regional, our community hospital will soon become a regional referral center. “It is a team effort to provide high quality, cost effective, and innovative care.” said John Enright, Vice President of the Heart and Vascular Institute. It requires a coordinated effort amongst physicians, nurses, allied health professionals and administrative staff. All of these people share the same vision for the future as Dr. Adkins: “We want to continue to be viewed as the Heart and Vascular Institute of choice for residents and visitors alike who are in need of high quality, compassionate, and sophisticated heart care throughout our community and region.”.
Osceola Regional’s Neuroscience Department recently achieved a major accomplishment: they are now not only the first, but the ONLY certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in Osceola County. “As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, we are able to provide a full range of services for the prevention, detection, treatment, and rehabilitation of stroke and other neurological disorders”, stated Sarabpreet Khara, MBA, MHA, Vice President, Neuroscience & IR Lab. “We have specialty trained doctors, nurses, and staff on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to read diagnostic tests, monitor patients, and provide neurology and neurosurgery services.”. Having all of this on hand in once location within our community means less time to travel if you or a loved one is experiencing a stroke. “Time is of the essence when it comes to getting treated-nearly two million nerve cells in the brain die each minute during a stroke.”, said Mohammed I. Khan, RN, MSN, ARNP-BC, Director of Neuroscience.
The most noteworthy technological addition is the biplane imaging system, housed in the brand new Neuro and Vascular Interventional Center. This state-of-the-art machine provides incredibly detailed three-dimensional views of blood vessels deep within the brain, allowing the doctor to see exactly where the block or the bleed in the brain is. The doctor inserts a scope in the patient’s leg and travels through the vascular system up into the brain.
“Osceola Regional Medical Center is the only hospital in Osceola County to have the biplane angiography technology. This latest technology is crucial in treating complex stroke and brain aneurysm patients. This technology allows the physician to create an accurate road map of blood vessels in the brain which is then utilized to navigate sophisticated devices to open a blocked blood vessel in brain or to seal a bleeding brain aneurysm.”, said Dr. Ankur Garg, Comprehensive Stroke Center Medical Director. Being a Comprehensive Stroke Center means Osceola Regional has the capability to treat complex stroke and brain hemorrhage patients, and that now the stroke patients at Osceola Regional never have to be transferred out to another hospital for further care.
There are two main types of strokes. The first is an ischemic stroke, or “blockage stroke”, which occurs when a blockage (often caused by a clot) occurs in an artery and prevents the transportation of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. These account for approximately 85% of strokes. The other is a hemorrhagic stroke, or a “bleeding stroke”, which occurs when an artery begins to rupture or leak and the buildup of blood places increasing pressure on the brain cells.
Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke, and every 4 minutes someone dies because of one. This adds up to 795,000 cases a year of either a new or recurrent stroke, and 130,000 deaths. Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability in adults in our nation, and the 5th leading cause of death.
It is vital to know the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke. An easy way to remember what to check for if you suspect a loved one is having a stroke is by thinking “FAST”. This stands for:
Face-does one side of it droop when asked to smile?
Arms-does one arm drift downward when asked to raise both arms?
Speech-are their words slurred?
Time-if you observe any or all of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
In the event of a stroke, it is crucial to call 9-1-1 instead of driving your loved one to the hospital yourself. Aside from the fact you probably will not be in the right state of mind to drive in that situation, by calling 9-1-1 the hospital will be expecting your arrival and will have all the medical staff ready to receive your loved one and begin treating them right away. Those precious minutes that will be saved will have a major impact on the recovery process. In fact, the American Heart and Stroke Association recommends traveling 15 to 20 minute farther to reach a Comprehensive Stroke Center and bypass primary stroke centers for better outcomes
Mohammed Khan and Dr. Garg both elaborated on the risk factors of a stroke. These factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, uncontrolled diabetes, lack of exercise, smoking, and a poor diet. These risk factors can-and should-be controlled, and by doing so you will reduce your risk of not only a stroke but also a heart attack and a multitude of other medical problems.
“The Comprehensive Stroke Center here at Osceola Regional was opened on August 21st, 2017. In this relatively short time period, we have had a great impact on the treatment options and outcomes of stroke patients in the Osceola county. Our patients are no longer required to be transferred to distant hospitals for treatment. In addition, we have been very active in providing stroke education to our EMS personnel as well the community. In future, we will continue to provide outstanding and most updated care to stroke patients in this community.”, expressed Dr. Garg, “I am committed to providing outstanding and the most up to date neuroendovascular treatments to our stroke patients.”.
“Our efforts have led to recognition and awards by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA). Our facility has received the Get With The Guidelines Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award and Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite Quality Achievement Award. More than just accolades, these awards show our commitment to improving stroke care. Our stroke team truly understands the meaning of “Time Is Brain” and we are continually working with our EMS partners’ rapid recognition and transportation for acute stroke management.”, said Sarabpreet Khara.
Osceola Regional Medical Center is truly a state-of-the-art facility and is continually improving all aspects of the hospital. The medical staff is friendly, compassionate, and dedicated to the well being of not only individual patients but the community as a whole. The hospital is striving each day to achieve new and greater things than the day before, and is transforming from an Osceola County landmark to a landmark in our regions medical community as well.