The importance of calling 911 during a heart attack

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States. It includes heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. As February is American Heart Month, Memorial’s Dennis Hoover and Tony Miller, Yakima County’s EMS Manager, talked about the importance of calling 911 during a heart attack on KIT 1280 on Feb. 24, 2015.

What should I do if I see that someone is having a heart attack?

A heart attack is when there is a loss of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle. The first thing people should do if they see someone is having a heart attack is call 911.

  • On average, data shows that calling 911 gives a 20-minute head start to the administration of treatment than if a patient arrives by private vehicle. In addition, there is the risk the patient could lose consciousness while driving him or herself or while being driven by a family member or friend, who would be unable to help them.
  • It’s not just about getting a ride to the hospital.
    • EMS can start intervention upon arrival to the patient – whether it’s CPR to keep blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs, or an AED.
    • The patient can be monitored while being transported to the hospital.
    • EMS can notify the hospital prior to arrival so the hospital staff prepare for the patient. If it’s the middle of the night, that means the heart team has already been notified and is already en route to the hospital to meet you there.
  • Every minute that passes from the time of on-set of chest pain, more heart muscle dies and the likelihood of long-term damage to the heart increases. This directly effects short- and long-term survival.


Why wouldn’t someone call 911?

  • Some people aren’t sure they’re having a heart attack or stroke. They don’t want to make a big deal about it. They don’t want to be viewed as weak, or they fear ridicule if it turns out to be less serious.
  • Some worry about the financial cost of the ambulance ride. Most insurance policies cover emergency treatment, but there is no guarantee. Out-of-pocket expenses vary greatly among insurance carriers. But the costs that can arise from medical complications from delaying treatment can be far higher, as can the cost of having a worse outcome.

How big a problem is heart disease in the Yakima Valley?

Major cardiovascular diseases – heart disease and stroke – are the leading cause of death in Yakima County.


Each year over 100 people in Yakima have a serious type of Heart Attack (called a STEMI) that requires treatment in a cath lab in less than 90 minutes.  Only a handful of these are a cardiac arrest, where CPR or an Automatic External Defibrillator (or AED) might be used.

  • Only a heart monitor, called an EKG,  can determine if the chest pain is this serious form of heart attack (STEMI)
  • Only about 1 in 3 (33 percent) people in Yakima with the STEMI type heart attack call 911 for EMS response. EMS start treatment and perform the EKG within a few minute of arrival and can help diagnose a Heart Attack before reaching the hospital.

Frequently asked questions:


What should I do if I have a heart attack in Yakima?

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is categorized as a Level 1 cardiac center and Level 2 stroke center by the Washington State Department of Health, which are the top categories in our region. The timely services for heart attack and stroke are unsurpassed by any other hospital in our area.

What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation (also called cardiac rehab) is a medically supervised program of exercise, education and support for people with heart disease to improve their health. People who can benefit include those who have had a heart attack within the past year, congestive heart failure, angina and heart surgery or a heart procedure.

Is cardiac rehabilitation available in Yakima?

The cardiac rehab team at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital includes doctors (such as your primary care doctor, your surgeon, and a cardiologist who will monitor your plan and progress), specially trained cardiac rehab nurses, and dietitians or nutritionists. This team also includes a care coordinator who will track your care and navigate insurance concerns.

The Importance of Cardiac Rehab

February is National Heart Month. Kristy Little, nurse manager at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, talks more about the importance of cardiac rehab following a heart attack during a Feb. 17, 2015 appearance on KIT 1280.

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program of exercise, education and support for people with heart disease to restore good health and improve their quality of life.  It is meant to reduce the chance of future cardiac problems and helps people live life to its fullest.  The work is done by the patient.

Who benefits?

According to the American Heart Association, cardiac rehab can help people who’ve had:

  • A heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Angina
  • A heart procedure, such as a balloon angioplasty or a pacemaker implant
  • Heart surgery, such as a bypass operation or valve replacement


Where do people get treated?

Cardiac rehab may take place at the hospital or in another location.

  • Memorial’s Cardiac Rehab program is located on South 30th Avenue across the street from the hospital in the West Pavilion Two building, on the second floor above the offices of the Yakima Heart Center.
  • The program may last a few weeks or up to a year, although three months is common
  • Medicare and health plans often cover the cost for the first two or three months
  • You must be referred by a health care provider.


What happens at rehab?

The rehab team will evaluate your overall health, lifestyle, medical conditions and limitations. Then they’ll tailor a program just for you. In rehab you may:

  • Work with a nutritionist to set up a heart-healthy eating plan
  • Learn how to exercise safely, possibly using a treadmill, bike, rowing machine, track or weight machines
  • Learn how to control chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Learn ways to reduce stress
  • Learn about your medications and how to take them
  • Get tips for quitting smoking and losing weight
  • Get counseling about returning to work and to activities you enjoy
  • You’ll meet others who’ve been through a similar life event. That camaraderie can help you stick with your program and make the transition back to an active life.
  • Rehab also is a place to find help for the emotional upheaval that is common after heart surgery or heart problems. Depression, anxiety and anger shouldn’t be ignored. They can affect you physically and keep you from recovering.

For more information, visit  call 576-7650.

Kick the Can-the soda can that is-to the Curb!

Kim McCorquodale RD, CSO at North Star Lodge

Oh, why I should not drink soda, let me count the reasons. There are all those empty calories if you drink soda with sugar, or all those artificial sweeteners if you drink the diet stuff like I do. Plus a lot of other stuff we don’t need in our bodies, such as caffeine and high levels of phosphorus that can leach the calcium from our bones (not good). And think of all the money you’d save if you stopped! The expense of soda when eating out can rival the food! So, there are lots of great reasons to stop, but how do we get started?

Some tips to help you kick that habit are:

  1. Make a plan and write it down. Don’t try to quit cold-turkey if you are drinking several a day. We generally are more successful when committing to small changes, so start with cutting back to one can each day, then two cans, etc.
  2. Check out all the drink alternatives out there. If you crave that carbonation, try adding a splash of juice to sparkling water. Or add citrus fruit, mint, or cucumber slices to water to jazz it up (see a previous blog on flavored water).
  3. Keep these alternatives around so making a better choice is easier. Just a little pre-planning will really help increase your success.
  4. Adopt a no-soda at home policy, or a no-soda at work policy, or wherever you are most tempted. If it’s not there, you will have to make a bigger effort to drink it.

Please join with me as I try these tips now before the summer months arrive and drinking a cold soda is even more tempting. You, and I, will be well on our way to improving our overall health if we do.

Learn at Lunch at NSL – Healthy Habits for Life Starts February 18


NSL Nutrition Services wants to let you know of an opportunity to learn and apply lifelong habits to increase your health and fitness. We are hosting a Learn at Lunch and will discuss Healthy Habits for Life. The first in the 4-part series starts tomorrow, February 18th, from 12-1PM at NSL. The program was developed by the WA State Dairy Council and is designed to help you make gradual, but permanent, changes that will improve your overall health. Isn’t that what we all want?

Please call our department to register 509- 574-3408. There is no charge (donations always appreciated), and a light lunch will be provided.

Technology works for tracking fitness

walkingFeb. 16, 2015—There’s a new reason to embrace technology: It can track our fitness, and it can track it—at least our steps—accurately, according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania.

Researchers found that many fitness tracking tools, such as wearable devices and smartphones, can count our steps with little fault. The research helps solidify technology’s role in fitness—and may encourage some people to start adding tracking devices to their exercise arsenals.

About the study

Researchers recruited 14 people to test top-selling smartphone applications and wearable devices designed to track physical activity. Each person:

  • Wore a Digi-Walker SW-200 pedometer as well as 2 accelerometers, the Fitbit Zip and Fitbit One, on his or her waistband.
  • Wore 3 wearable devices—a Fitbit Flex, a Jawbone UP24 and a Nike Fuelband—on his or her wrist.
  • Carried an Apple iPhone 5S running 3 iOS apps—Fitbit, Health Mate and Moves—at the same time in a pants pocket.
  • Carried a Samsung Galaxy S4 running the Moves Android app in the other pants pocket.

The participants had all the devices on them at the same time while walking 3 miles per hour on a treadmill for tests of 500 and 1500 steps. An observer counted each person’s steps using a tally counter.

Compared with the observer’s counts, many of the apps and devices were largely accurate.

The most accurate were the pedometer and accelerometers worn on the waistband. These recorded a relative difference in either direction of 1 percent or less. Smartphone applications also did very well, showing a difference of about 6.5 percent.

Wearable wrist devices showed a wider range, with some being quite accurate. Their relative difference was 22.7 percent to 1.5 percent lower than actual step counts. However, only the Nike Fuelband reported that steps were more than 20 percent less than the actual count.

The findings suggest that technology may be better at monitoring fitness than people might expect. With smartphone use widespread in the United States, apps or devices that connect to our phones offer an easy way for Americans to track—and possibly increase—our activity levels, researchers say.

Read the study in The Journal of the American Medical Association .

The take-home message
Devices and smartphone apps may offer an easy way to become more engaged with physical activity. And walking is an inexpensive, low-risk way to start putting this tech to use. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 150 weekly minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, can:

  • Improve cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase energy
  • Strengthen bones
  • Prevent weight gain

Best of all, starting a walking program is easy. The AHA says all you need are comfortable, loose-fitting clothes; supportive sneakers; and socks made from synthetic materials to help wick away moisture and prevent blisters.

It’s best to start by walking for short periods of time, such as 10 minutes, and gradually add a few more minutes each week.

If you begin walking, keep these tips from the AHA in mind:

  • Warm up at an easy tempo before picking up the pace
  • Add variety with brisk intervals
  • Walk up hills to tone your legs and burn more calories
  • Stretch your hamstrings; calves; and chest, shoulders and back at the end of your walk

Finally, always remember to walk safely. Bring along a partner when you can, or keep your phone handy for emergencies. If you choose to wear headphones, keep the volume low so you can hear your surroundings. Walk on sidewalks rather than the street, and wear light colors or reflective clothing to help drivers know you’re there.


Kohl’s, Memorial Hospital Partner on Health and Wellness Programs

YAKIMA, Wash. — Kohl’s Department Stores and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital are partnering to bring health and wellness programs to Yakima, including fitness and cooking classes.

Beginning in February and through fall 2015, Memorial will be offering weekly yoga and Zumba classes, a fitness boot camp and cooking classes to help improve the health of the Yakima community. The program is being made possible through a $28,494 donation to Memorial by Kohl’s.

The Healthy for Life Program includes the following classes provided at no charge to participants, which have already started and are currently available unless otherwise noted:

  • Gentle Yoga

Tuesdays, 7:15 p.m.-8:15 p.m.

Yoga Collective, 2600 W. Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima

  • Bilingual Zumba

Wednesdays, 7 p.m.-8 p.m. (starting Feb. 18)

Adams Elementary School, 723 S. 8th St., Yakima

  • Bilingual Yoga

Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Yoga Collective, 2600 W. Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima

  • Boot Camp

Fridays, 5:30 p.m.-6:15 p.m.

Rock Solid Fitness, 1109 S. 22nd Ave., Unit B, Yakima

  • Cooking classes (Spanish)

April 9, April 16, April 23, April 30, 6 p.m-7 p.m.

Memorial Education Center, 2506 W. Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima


  • Cooking classes (English)

Thursday, June 18, June 25, July 2, July 9, 6 p.m.-7 p.m.

Memorial Education Center, 2506 W. Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima

The Kohl’s donation also allows once again for the purchase of 1,000 bike helmets for area children, which will be distributed at Memorial’s annual Fiesta de Salud Health Fair in July and at other community events.

Since 2012, Kohl’s has donated more than $45,000 to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and The Memorial Foundation. Other Memorial initiatives supported through Kohl’s include Children’s Village, YouthWorks and other child safety programs through community education

Kohl’s commitment to Memorial is made possible through the Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program. Through this initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and plush toys, where 100 percent of net profit benefits children’s health and education programs nationwide, including hospital partnerships like this one. Kohl’s has raised more than $257 million through this merchandise program. In addition to the merchandise program, Kohl’s Cares features the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program, which last year recognized more than 2,500 young volunteers with more than $400,000 in scholarships and prizes. Through the Kohl’s Associates in Action volunteer program, more than 834,000 associates have donated more than 2.7 million hours of their time since 2001, and Kohl’s has donated more than $79 million to youth-focused nonprofit organizations. Kohl’s also offers fundraising gift cards for schools and youth-serving organizations. For more information, visit

About Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is a 226-bed, acute-care, community hospital serving Central Washington’s Yakima Valley. Memorial Family of Services includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, hospice care and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Visit Memorial online at or on Facebook (, Twitter ( or Pinterest (

About Kohl’s

Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is a leading specialty department store with 1,163 stores in 49 states. With a commitment to inspiring and empowering families to lead fulfilled lives, the company offers amazing national and exclusive brands, incredible savings and inspiring shopping experiences in-store, online at and via mobile devices. Committed to our communities, Kohl’s has raised more than $257 million for children’s initiatives nationwide through its Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, which operates under Kohl’s Cares, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc. For additional information about Kohl’s philanthropic and environmental initiatives, visit For a list of store locations and information, or for the added convenience of shopping online, visit


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February is American Heart Month


February is American Heart Month – a time to learn about your risks for heart disease and stroke and learn tips for staying “heart healthy.” Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States. It includes heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Dr. Dave Krueger of the Yakima Heart Center talked about heart health on KIT 1280 on Feb. 10, 2015.

How big a problem is heart disease in the Yakima Valley?

Major cardiovascular diseases – heart disease and stroke – are the leading cause of death in Yakima County.

There are many risk factors associated with coronary heart disease and stroke. Some risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age, cannot be changed.

Other risk factors that can be treated or changed include:

  • Smoking
  • high blood pressure or hypertension
  • high cholesterol
  • obesity
  • physical inactivity or lack of exercise
  • diabetes
  • unhealthy diets
  • harmful use of alcohol

High cholesterol, obesity and high blood pressure are the three leading diseases we see here in Yakima County, and they increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease.

What steps should I take to prevent a heart attack or cardiovascular disease?

  • Get a checkup at least once a year, even if you feel healthy. Know your numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. That means exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, high-fiber foods and foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. For more information on eating a healthy diet, visit the Center for Disease Control’s tip page at
  • Take your medicine. Follow instructions carefully if you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or any other condition.
  • Limit alcohol use and don’t smoke!

What should I do if I see that someone is having a heart attack?

If cardiopulmonary resuscitation is performed in the first moments after cardiac arrest, it doubles a person’s chance of survival. CPR keeps blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until emergency help arrives.

For untrained rescuers, the American Heart Association advises to begin CPR with chest compressions. Studies have shown that using chest compressions only is just as effective in re-starting a failing heart as doing the full version of CPR.

What about automated external defibrillators, or AEDs?

  • An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a computerized medical device.
  • It checks a person’s heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock. And it can advise the rescuer when a shock is needed.
  • The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take.
  • AEDs are very accurate and easy to use.

Why are they useful?

During sudden cardiac arrest, the heart is often in a state of ventricular fibrillation (VF).  The ventricles are “fluttering” rather than pumping blood. CPR can help circulate oxygen-rich blood to the brain. However, according to the American Heart Association, to get the heart back into rhythm requires a shock from a defibrillator.

Simply put, AEDs can more than double the chance of survival for people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest.

Where can I find an AED?

AEDs are widely considered a public health tool and can be found in office buildings, malls, schools and sports stadiums.

What about an emergency where I don’t have assistance nearby?

There’s a downloadable app for mobile phones – the Pocket First Aid & CPR Smartphone App – available on iTunes. It’s been updated to reflect the latest guidelines for first aid, CPR and AED use by the American Heart Association and provides quick, clear first aid and CPR instructions from a user’s smartphone.

These instructions can help a user save a life in the event of an emergency.




A daily avocado may be the secret to healthy cholesterol

Feb. 8, 2015—An avocado a day could help keep high cholesterol at bay—particularly if you’re overweight—new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests.

About the study

Researchers put 45 healthy, overweight adults on an average American diet—high in carbohydrates and fat—for 2 weeks. They were then randomly assigned to 1 of 3 different diets:

  • A low-fat diet.
  • A moderate-fat diet that contained heart-healthy monounsaturated fats from sources like canola and sunflower oil.
  • A moderate-fat diet that contained monounsaturated fats from a whole Hass avocado each day.

Forty participants rotated through all 3 diets, following each for 5 weeks with 2-week breaks in between. Three people completed 2 of the diets, and 2 completed only 1.

After 5 weeks, all 3 diets resulted in lower levels of both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol , the bad kind of cholesterol that causes plaque in the arteries. But the avocado diet provided the best results, with the most significant decreases in LDL and total cholesterol.

The moderate-fat diets also did not lower HDL cholesterol—this is the good type of cholesterol that helps sweep LDL cholesterol out of the arteries—as much as the low-fat diet did.

The study, which was funded by the Hass Avocado Board, suggests that while all foods rich in monounsaturated fats contain fatty acids that are good for cholesterol, avocados may have an extra edge, thanks to their nutrient-dense nature.

Even so, the study supports the benefits of replacing saturated fats with any foods that contain healthier, unsaturated fats. Doing so may improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for heart disease.

Learn more about this study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The take-home message
Replacing the saturated fats in your diet with avocados may help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. But eating more of the green stuff is just 1 dietary step you can take toward a healthier ticker .

Knowing the difference between the types of fats and kinds of cholesterol can help you choose foods that are healthier.

Eating foods that are high in saturated fats raises cholesterol levels in your blood and increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke, which is why experts recommend limiting your intake of them.

Saturated fats are found in such foods as:

  • Fatty beef
  • Lamb
  • Poultry with skin
  • Lard
  • Dairy products, such as butter, cream and cheese, made with whole or 2 percent milk
  • Baked goods and fried foods

The majority of the fat you consume should come from monounsaturated or polyunsaturated sources, which can help lower levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke.

In addition to avocados, good sources of these fats include:

  • Olive or canola oil
  • Nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring or trout
  • Tofu and soybeans

Remember, all fats contain 9 calories per gram, and eating too much fat can contribute to weight gain. To maintain a healthy weight, even healthy fats should be eaten in moderation.


Ob Hospitalist Group names Dr. George Bailey Physician of the Year

(GREENVILLE, S.C.) – Dr. George Bailey, an OB/GYN hospitalist who works at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, has been named the 2014 Physician of the Year by the Ob Hospitalist Group.

Ob Hospitalist Group develops and manages on-site OB/GYN hospitalist programs for hospitals across the country, providing board certified physicians 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Bailey, who is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, is employed by Ob Hospitalist Group and provides OB/GYN services at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.

“From the very first day of the program at YVMH in July 2013, Dr. George Bailey established a standard of close collaboration with nurses, physicians, colleagues and hospital administration,” says OBHG Regional Vice President of Operations Elizabeth Yanko. “In addition to being recognized for his excellent clinical and leadership skills at the hospital, he is a true champion of the patients he cares for.”

A hospitalist is a physician who specializes in the care of hospitalized patients. OB/GYN hospitalists specialize in caring for mothers and infants while in the hospital.

Dr. Roger Rowles of Generations OB/GYN in Yakima says Bailey has done a superb job as the lead OB/GYN hospitalist at Memorial.

“He has emphasized safety and effective communication and has served as a mentor and educator for nurses, students and residents. He is unflappable in the busiest of times and maintains his good humor throughout,” Rowles says. “We all have significant improvement in our quality of life and sleep patterns, knowing he or one of his colleagues is taking care of our patients.”

Bailey earned his medical degree and completed his residency at Oregon Health Sciences University.

With measles on the rise, unvaccinated are vulnerable, reports CDC

Feb. 5, 2015—As the number of measles cases continues to rise, health officials are urging people to vaccinate their children—and themselves, if necessary—against the disease. Doing so helps to prevent complications of the disease, including brain damage, deafness, pneumonia and death.

The number of U.S. measles cases in 2015 is already as high as those seen in a typical year during the past decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of Jan. 30, a total 102 cases had been reported. Most of the cases are linked to an outbreak at 2 Disneyland theme parks in California.

Why the worry about this outbreak?

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes—and the droplets remain contagious for up to 2 hours afterward. Because the signature rash of the virus doesn’t appear for several days, people often don’t realize they are ill until after they’ve contaminated others.

Widespread vaccination led to measles being declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. Cases did continue to occur, but they usually started overseas and were limited.

What’s changed, reports CDC, is the number of people in this country who are opting out of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination:

  • 1 in 12 children are not getting their first dose of MMR at the recommended time
  • 17 states report less than a 90 percent vaccination rate of at least one dose among their children

The risk that a small outbreak can grow into a big one increases as vaccination rates decrease.

The take-home message
In addition to the classic rash of tiny red spots, symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. The rash and fever usually disappear in a few days, but the disease isn’t without complications: As many as 20 percent of those who get measles will also develop an ear infection, diarrhea or pneumonia. One out of every 1,000 infected people will die, according to CDC.

A single person with measles can infect 90 percent of people nearby, according to CDC—unless the people are protected against the disease by vaccination or a previous measles infection.

CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics are calling for people—especially children—to get vaccinated.

The MMR shot is highly recommended and has been shown to be safe and effective for children and adults. Anyone who isn’t sure of their immunization status should check with their doctor: An extra dose isn’t harmful, according to CDC.

If you think your child has the measles, keep him or her home and call your doctor.