Thursday, July 19, 2007

Good news, bad news

Interesting article appeared on a Web site called MedPage Today (more on that later) recently about poor advice from hospital "healthline" operators concerning stroke symptoms.

The article, titled "Stroke Patients May Get Faulty Advice from Hospital Healthlines," details how investigators called various hospitals, described stroke symptoms, and too often received bad advice such as:
  • Call your own doctor
  • Wait to see if your symptoms improve
  • Drive the patient for medical care
The correct answer, of course, is to call 911 for an ambulance. Don't wait.

Here's a good description of stroke symptoms, plus other great advice, from the American Stroke Association:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
The good news is the source of the article cited, which seems to be a good resource for other medical information. MedPage Today is described as a "medical news service" for physicians, but this article is a pretty easy read even for a non-doctor. It works with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for some of its content, including the article linked. Click here for its entire Stroke section.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Heart of the matter

This video, obtained from the incredibly nice people at Barnes-Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, is an actual series of images showing part of the procedure described in the previous two posts.

The post-procedure posting shows an animated version of this device. The previous one described the procedure, which is designed to close a hole between the upper chambers of the heart, a common birth defect called a patent foramen ovale.

The image is fairly faint, but it does show the outlines of two connected metal mesh discs and the two catheters, one for imaging and the other for deploying the device.

Again, I hope it might become helpful for anyone who is researching this procedure. It was not that painful and after three weeks (as of Monday, July 16), so far so good. Thanks be to God.