Expanding to Meet the Needs of Our Community

Pulmonary Vein Ablation

Reducing the Disabilities of Stroke

Less Pain, Fewer Infections

What Every Woman Should Know

Calendar of Educational
and Community Events
Winter 2010

Heart to Heart Talk:
Ask the Cardiologist

Fast Response Makes a Difference in Stroke Care
Reducing the Diabilities of Stroke

Level II Stroke Center
Gold Seal Stroke
Care Certification
Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has earned the prestigious Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers. This recognition identifies hospitals with best-practices and outcomes in their stroke centers. Our Stroke Center passed with a perfect score in September 2009 and was awarded certification as a Level II Stroke Center.
If you or a loved one is having a stroke, every second that passes can mean thousands of brain cells lost. According to the American Heart Association, during the course of a stroke the brain loses 1.2 billion neurons – approximately 1.9 million for every minute delayed. That’s why fast treatment is paramount, and why Methodist Willowbrook Hospital makes the most of every second during stroke emergencies.

Partnering with Emergency Medical Services
One of the primary reasons Methodist Willowbrook Hospital can routinely move stroke patients into treatment so quickly is that we have partnered with Northwest Houston’s emergency medical services (EMS ) community. We communicate closely with EMS as stroke patients are being transported to our Emergency Department for care. Paramedics begin drawing necessary labs during transport and then bring patients right into our Emergency Department.

"We began meeting with our public EMS providers in early 2009 to work on protocols for coordinating patient care during emergencies," says Malissa Aing, RN , BSN , CEN, Nursing Director of Emergency Services, Methodist Willowbrook. "The results have been outstanding in improving outcomes – especially for patients suffering from strokes."

The following EMS providers have partnered with Methodist Willowbrook Hospital by sharing best practices and working closely to help improve the emergency care of our community:
  • Cypress Creek EMS.
  • CY-Fair Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Harris County Emergency Services District 1.
  • Houston Fire Department.

"The strength of the relationship between local EMS providers and the Methodist Willowbrook Hospital Emergency Department is built on three key factors: 1) the pre-notification of emergency needs during the transporting of patients, 2) streamlining administration in the Emergency Department upon patient arrival through efficient triage of patients’ needs, and 3) expedited care, including diagnosis, treatment and emergency procedures," Aing says.

Providing Best Practices Stroke Care
Often a full-blown stroke is preceded by a transient ischemic attack (TIA) – basically, a less serious warning stroke displaying strokelike symptoms but with no permanent damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs helps to reduce the risk of a major stroke.

The first three hours following the onset of stroke symptoms are critical. A clot-busting drug called Tissue Plasminogen Activator helps reduce long-term disability when given within a three-hour timeframe of stroke symptom onset. Since valuable time may have lapsed by the time a patient reaches the Emergency Department door, it’s vital that stroke cases are identified immediately so life-saving care can be delivered.

"We track our door-to-doc and CAT scan times," Aing says. "It takes less than 10 minutes for patients to get scanned once they arrive in our ER. We page all departments involved in the care of the potential stroke patient to put everyone on high alert."

For more information on Methodist Willowbrook’s Stroke Care Program, please call 281-737-2500.

Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke

If you or a loved one is experiencing a stroke, every second counts. By knowing the warning signs of a stroke (and teaching them to others), you can save valuable time in seeking help for this life-threatening medical emergency.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body – often in the face, arm or leg.
  • Unexpected difficulty with speaking or understanding. Appearing confused for no reason.
  • Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes. Trouble walking, unexplained dizziness or loss of balance.
  • A sudden, severe headache with no apparent cause.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or a companion experiences one or more of these signs. Time is brain!