Women’s Services

To Prevent Stroke, Start with the Heart

Posted on Feb 13, 2020 in Affiliates, Cardiac, Carousel, Expanding Access, Innovation, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Neuroscience, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, We're Awesome, Women's Services

BURLINGAME, Calif. – Does it sometimes feel like there are butterflies in your chest? Does your heart race or skip a beat? If it’s not your crush making your heart go pitter-pat, it could be a common heart condition called atrial fibrillation or AFib for short. This Valentine’s Day, take heart and consider seeing an expert if you are experiencing these symptoms. After all, AFib dramatically increases the odds of having a life-threatening stroke.

“Stroke occurs when arteries in the brain are either blocked by a blood clot or burst under high pressure,” said Ilana Spokoyny, M.D., neurologist who cares for patients at Sutter’s Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. “So when we talk about stroke prevention, it’s natural that we emphasize how to keep clots from forming or keep blood pressure regulated—and both start with the heart.”

Heart health and stroke prevention were the focus of a recent educational event, hosted by United Airlines, and led by Sutter Health. Attendees toured Northern California’s only Mobile Stroke Unit – a specialized ambulance that has the staff and equipment on-board to start stroke treatment while enroute to a hospital – and heard from the unit’s director, Dr. Spokoyny, about two common heart conditions that increase stroke risk.

Atrial fibrillation

AFib is caused when the upper part of your heart beats out of sync with the lower half. While not usually life-threatening by itself, AFib alters the normal function of the heart which leads to the formation of blood clots in the heart. Eventually these clots are pumped out of the heart and can travel to the brain where they causes a stroke.

According to Dr. Spokoyny, nearly one in every six strokes is the result of AFib, and these strokes are often more serious. “Not only are AFib patients nearly five times more likely to suffer a stroke than those without the condition, AFib-related strokes are nearly twice as fatal and twice as disabling as non-AFib-related strokes.”

“AFib may be asympomatic or symptoms show up intermittently, and because they come and go many people don’t take them seriously,” Dr. Spokoyny explained. “We need to spread the word that you shouldn’t ignore the butterfly feeling in your chest or dismiss the occasional fatigue or shortness of breath you experience.” When diagnosed, AFib is treatable with medication or medical procedures, including surgery, to reduce your risk of stroke.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure increases the strain on blood vessels transporting blood throughout your body. When blood is routinely pumped through arteries at a higher than optimal pressure, the arteries may become weakened or narrowed, creating conditions where they burst or clog more easily.

Dr. Spokoyny reminds patients that high blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke. “About three out of four people who have a stroke for the first time have high blood pressure.” High blood pressure often presents along with atrial fibrillation. The good news is that blood pressure can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications.

Expertise in action

Not-for-profit Sutter Health encourages doctors to work across specialties to ensure that patients receive high quality, coordinated care. Sutter includes sixteen Primary Stroke Centers across its integrated network.

Fourteen Sutter Hospitals Honored for Reducing C-Sections

Posted on Dec 13, 2019 in Pediatric Care, Quality, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Women's Services

Cal Hospital Compare award recognizes hospitals meeting national goal.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sutter hospitals, which have among the lowest cesarean section (C-section) rates in California, were recognized today by the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) for reducing cesarean births for first-time moms with low-risk pregnancies. Fourteen hospitals at the not-for-profit health care network were named to the state’s 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll, nine of which have been recognized on this honor roll for four consecutive years. Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of CHHS, announced the honor roll recognition on behalf of Cal Hospital Compare, a performance reporting initiative informed by representatives from hospitals, purchasers, health plans, and consumer groups. The following Sutter hospitals were named to the 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center – Alta Bates Campus 
  • California Pacific Medical Center – Mission Bernal Campus 
  • Eden Medical Center 
  • Memorial Medical Center 
  • Memorial Hospital Los Banos
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center 
  • Sutter Davis Hospital 
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center 
  • Sutter Lakeside Hospital 
  • Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz 
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento 
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center 
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital 
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center

“Improving the quality of patient care in hospitals is critically important,” said CHHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “These annual measurements through Cal Hospital Compare allow us to acknowledge hospitals doing excellent work.”

When complications arise during pregnancy, C-sections can save the lives of mothers and infants, but some women undergo the surgery for no medical reason, exposing both mother and baby to potentially avoidable risks. To respond to the rise in unnecessary C-sections, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adopted the Healthy People 2020 target of reducing nationwide C-section rates for low-risk, first-births to 23.9 percent. The Maternity Care Honor Roll acknowledges hospitals that have achieved—and in many cases gone beyond—that goal. The Sutter Health system NTSV C-section Rate for a rolling 12 months ending October 31, 2019 was 20.8 percent, well below the 23.9 national goal.

“Over the last decade, Sutter Health has developed and implemented many programs to improve the care and safety of mothers and babies through pregnancy, labor and delivery,” said Sutter Health Chief Medical Officer Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D.. “We’ve worked hard to enhance quality and safety at our hospitals to ensure we have among the lowest C-section rates in California, rates which are experienced equitably by mothers of all races and ethnicities—so it’s especially gratifying to receive recognition for leadership in this area.”

Sutter hospitals consistently outperform state and national averages for many measures of quality, and Sutter Health is committed to accurately and transparently sharing quality data with patients. The Sutter Hospital Quality Dashboard allows patients to learn more about the care provided throughout Sutter’s integrated network. In addition, patients are encouraged to talk with their doctors and nurses about any questions or specific outcomes related to their care.

Expectant Mom Suffers Massive Stroke: How a Health Network Saved Her and Her Baby

Posted on Oct 25, 2019 in Affiliates, Carousel, Expanding Access, Innovation, Neuroscience, Pediatric Care, People, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Davis Hospital, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Women's Services

Just two days from delivering her third child, Vivian Dos Santos suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage – a life-threatening stroke. Watch her amazing story, with details on how an integrated health network saves and blesses lives, by viewing the following video. You may want some tissues handy just in case …

For more on her story, and to view an infographic on Sutter’s integrated system, go to www.sutterhealth.org/newsroom/can-expect-integrated-network.

Sutter Research: Advancing Care for Patients with Breast Cancer

Posted on Oct 21, 2019 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center, Expanding Access, Innovation, Memorial Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Transformation, Women's Services

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Breast cancer research has the potential to improve cancer care for the 3.8 million American women living with the illness. Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re highlighting the bold science and game-changing breast cancer research at Sutter. This work can help advance knowledge of how to detect and treat the illness.

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Baby Basics: Sutter’s Smart Start Program Expands with Funding from First 5 Lake County

Posted on Jul 9, 2019 in Community Benefit, Expanding Access, Innovation, Pediatric Care, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Women's Services

LAKEPORT, Calif. – New babies come with new worries. “Parents leave the hospital, head home, and suddenly realize they’re solely responsible for caring for an infant” said Jackie Rad, R.N.C., M.S.N., nurse manager of the Sutter Lakeside Family Birth Center. “On top of sleep deprivation and recovery from childbirth, many families in our area experience income and housing instability, which can result in unsafe conditions for newborns.” Read More

Sutter Delivers the Best Mother’s Day Gifts: New Babies

Posted on May 12, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Uncategorized, Women's Services

SACRAMENTO and SAN FRANCISCO — While looking down lovingly at her brand-spanking-new little baby boy, Cody, a tired yet glowingly beautiful Leah Strange of Sacramento pondered how grateful she felt to have given birth on Mother’s Day.

Leah Strange gave birth to baby Cody on Mother’s Day at Sutter Medical Center. Looking at his baby girl is Dad Adam Strange.

“He was overdue,” Leah said, “but I had a feeling he was going to wait it out and make it an extra-special day.”

By Sunday afternoon, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento already made it an extra-special day for 11 women by delivering the best Mother’s Day gift ever – 11 new babies. By the end of the day, it was expected that 15 bundles of joy would be born at what is known by the locals as “Sacramento’s baby hospital,” which has delivered a city worth of babies – nearly 400,000 – in its 95-year history. More than 6,000 babies are born there every year.

Ninety miles west, it was the first Mother’s Day at Sutter CPMC Mission Bernal campus, one of the newest hospitals in Northern California, having replaced the venerable St. Luke’s campus. As extra-special treats, Mission Bernal serenaded new moms with a musical duo from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to go along with their new, spacious rooms and penthouse views of the City by the Bay.

Janelle McCarthy was born at St. Luke’s, but gave birth to her second daughter, Evelyn, at the new CPMC Mission Bernal hospital campus. With them is Dad Sean McCarthy and their first daughter, Alexandria.

Janelle McCarthy, with her baby, Evelyn, was getting ready to go home, but she and her little family stopped long enough to appreciate the calming classical sounds of the flute-and-guitar duo.

“I am really happy to be at this hospital,” she said. “I was born at St. Luke’s, my first child was born at St. Luke’s, and now my second child was born here at Mission Bernal. They really take care of you here. It’s great.”

In Northern California, more babies are born at Sutter Health hospitals than anywhere else. The CPMC campuses at Mission Bernal and Van Ness deliver half of all babies born in San Francisco, and Mission Bernal is on target for more than 1,000 newborns in its first year. Throughout Northern California, an average of about 85 babies – or almost four kindergarten classes worth – are born at Sutter Health hospitals every single day … and some, like Cody Strange, hold out to be born on Mother’s Day.

“I feel super lucky and fortunate to have the opportunity to carry him and deliver him, and then be healthy and here,” said Leah Strange as she fought back tears. “So, I’m super grateful.”

Charisse Francis and Kalin Green are all smiles with Kalin’s “Mother’s Day gift,” baby Marley-Rose.

Down the hall, though, it sounded more like the Mother’s Day present was for Dad, not Mom.

Charisse Francis of Sacramento looked stunning as she prepared to go home with her third child, a beautiful, little girl named Marley-Rose. Waiting at home are Marley-Rose’s two brothers, who are just 3 and 2 years old.

“I have two boys who really, really love Mom a lot,” said proud papa Kalin Green as he held Marley-Rose. “I understand. I’m a Mama’s boy, and they are too, so I need a Daddy’s girl.” As Charisse laughed, Kalin looked down at his little sweetheart and said, “So this is mine.”