Renown provides 24/7 emergent care for heart attack patients

Image made available through Shutterstock; provided by Renown.


The emergency room at Renown Regional Medical Center now has a cardiologist on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The 24/7 coverage will greatly reduce the time it takes from when a heart patient first arrives in the ER to when they receive life-saving care, usually a balloon angioplasty procedure to open blocked arteries.

“Having a cardiologist actually on-site at the hospital 24/7 will greatly reduce the ‘door to balloon’ time for heart patients coming through the ER, saving more lives,” said David Veillette, executive vice president of specialty hospitals for Renown Health. “When someone has a heart attack, time translates to (heart) muscle, and every minute counts.”

The time it takes to provide a life-saving angioplasty on a heart patient who arrives in the emergency department is known as “door to balloon” times. Studies have shown that when patients receive treatment within 90 minutes after having a heart attack, the ability to save damaged heart muscle is greatly increased. Renown Regional currently has an average “door to balloon” response rate of 60 minutes, which places it in the top 10 percent in the nation.

“This new enhancement in emergent care for heart conditions will reduce our already nationally recognized ‘door to balloon’ times even further,” Veillette said. “It will also increase the speed and quality of care we are able to deliver in an emergency.”

The 24/7 coverage is made possible due to the resources of Renown Institute for Heart and Vascular Health and its collaboration with outstanding and committed cardiologists who are constantly working together to provide quality of cardiac care for northern Nevadans. These cardiologists will rotate their time to be available, even spending the night in the hospital during their rotation. Additionally, Renown Regional has modified protocols to engage interventional vascular suites, equipment and teams immediately as needed.

Emergency teams like REMSA, the regional emergency medical services provider, are in constant contact with the hospital when they bring in patients with chest pain and who show signs of a heart attack, Veillette said. The second the ambulance arrives, Renown’s 24/7 cardiologist and its certified chest pain center is ready.

In conjunction with quality cardiac care and other accreditations, Renown Regional is designated as the region’s only Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care by Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The vascular lab at Renown Institute for Heart and Vascular Health is also accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories.

Renown Health has long been recognized as a pioneer in the diagnosis and treatment of heart-related illness. More cardiovascular procedures are done at Renown than anywhere else in the region. Renown has also introduced many of the community’s cardiovascular milestones including the first open-heart surgery, first cardiac angioplasty and first heart catheterization.

Renown receives re-accreditation for Neurodiagnostic Lab


RENO, Nev. — The neurodiagnostic laboratory at Renown Regional Medical Center has been re-accredited by ABRET (American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists). This means the Electroencephalogram  (EEG) Laboratory met strict standards and is recognized as a place where patients and physicians can have confidence they are receiving quality diagnostics. Renown Regional’s neurodiagnostic laboratory is the only accredited ABRET facility in northern Nevada.

The lab is a key part of the Epilepsy Center , headed by Mindy Schwartz, M.D. It offers the latest technology for diagnosing and treating epilepsy. It includes the area’s only dedicated epileptologist, a neurologist who specializes in the treatment of epilepsy, along with advanced video EEG testing by skilled, registered technologists. EEG testing is a safe and painless procedure to determine if there are any irregularities in the brain’s electrical activity, which may cause seizures.

“This award is based on evaluation of the technical quality of the EEGs performed in Renown Regional Medical Center’s lab,” said Jon Tippin, M.D., chairman of LAB-EEG. “We commend Renown’s desire to continue to promote excellence and competency among its staff technologists which has had a positive influence in their performance.”

The Neurodiagnostic Lab is also instrumental in the diagnosis and management of neuromuscular disorders including muscular dystrophy (MD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The lab plays an intricate role in the Neuromuscular Center, led by Tim Louie, M.D., in diagnosing the process of muscular dystrophy and amyotrophy lateral sclerosis disease.

“Re-accreditation is an excellent example of the hard work and dedication provided every day by the neurodiagnostic technologists at Renown Regional,” said Linda Ferris, vice president of clinical program development at Renown. “This award is another testament to the quality care Renown Health offers the community.”

ABRET accreditation is one of the honors that national magazine U.S. News and World Report considers when making its annual ranking of Best Hospitals in the nation.

Renown Children’s Hospital displays horse sculptures as part of John & Sue Dermody Children’s Healing Garden

BUNDLE horses


WHAT: Motorists driving down Mill Street are likely to notice three large colorful horse sculptures “grazing” outside Renown Regional Medical Center at the corner of Mill Street and Kirman Ave. While their appearance coincides with the start of the Reno Rodeo this week, the timing is a coincidence. The sculptures are waiting for completion of the John & Sue Dermody Children’s Healing Garden. Once the Children’s Healing Garden is complete, the horses will be hoisted by crane and placed in their permanent home.

Construction of the Children’s Healing Garden is scheduled for this fall. The sculptures range in height from five to almost 11 feet and the head on the tallest horse articulates up and down in the wind. They were created by artist Frederick Prescott who lives in Santa Fe, N.M., and is known in the art community for using graphically bold and colorful pieces that look perfectly at ease in a natural setting.

WHEN: The red, yellow and blue sculptures will be on display at their current location for the summer.

DETAILS: The John & Sue Dermody Children’s Healing Garden has been generously funded through private donations. Once complete, it will provide a sanctuary for children and their families outside of a traditional hospital setting. The garden will feature low allergen plants and trees; an indoor garden family room with a “teen area;” artwork including a bean-shaped corral that will showcase the movement of the horse sculptures; picnic tables and more.

“Everyone who walks by these horses will undoubtedly stop and smile,” said Turkey Stremmel, arts project advisor for the John & Sue Dermody Children’s Healing Garden. “This temporary home allows people to see first hand the wonderful art work being represented at Renown. There’s no doubt these sculptures will really make a difference with children… they light up the area.”

Since 1974, artist Frederick Prescott has exhibited his work all over the world and created special pieces on commission for both private and corporate collectors, including Walt Disney Co., Porsche and the Chicago Bulls, among others. Prescott’s larger-than-life sculptures have frequently been installed in public parks and venues where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy them.

WHERE: Renown Regional Medical Center – the corner of Mill Street and Kirman Avenue

CONTACT: All media must be escorted on hospital property. Media interested in  learning more or photographing the sculptures should contact Nicole Shearer, Public Relations Business Partner at (775) 772-5191.

Renown to host preventive health screening event during Stroke Month


RENO, Nev. – Four out of five people who have a stroke have no apparent warning signs prior to their attack. The good news is that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. One way to prevent a stroke is by identifying the underlying causes of stroke before a stroke happens.

To help raise awareness of these causes and to highlight Stroke Awareness Month, Renown Regional Medical Center is hosting a Life Line Screening event Thursday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1155 Mill Street., in the Mack Auditorium. To pre-register for a screening contact Life Line Screening at, or call 1-800-690-0295 to make an appointment. For directions, please dial 775-982-4100.

There are three common causes of stroke, all of which can be identified with proper screening. The screening tests look for these main causes of stroke:

1. Carotid Artery Blockage – The carotid arteries are the main arteries that bring vital oxygenated blood to the brain. Located on both sides of the neck, plaque blockage in these arteries is a leading cause of stroke. Through the use of ultrasound technology, the stroke screening visualizes fatty plaque buildup and measures the velocity of blood flow to the brain.

2. Heart Rhythm (Atrial Fibrillation) – Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of irregular heartbeat. The condition occurs when the heart’s upper chambers beat irregularly and out-of-sync with the heart’s ventricles. This out-of-sync beating hinders the heart from efficiently pumping blood through the heart which can lead to clotting. These blood clots can then travel out of the heart and to the brain, causing a stroke. Atrial fibrillation increases risk of stroke 5 times. We use a painless 4 limb-lead ECG (Electrocardiogram) that can detect this irregular heart rhythm.

3. Systolic hypertension -Systolic hypertension is the top number on a blood pressure reading, and an elevation in this reading indicates a significant risk factor for stroke.

Without preventive procedures, the first sign that something is wrong may be the stroke itself. Preventive screenings can help individuals with no symptoms who are 50 or older (often with significant risk factors such as family history, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol) be proactive about their health and wellness and protect their independence and vitality.

Other screenings are available including tests for abdominal aortic aneurysms, peripheral arterial disease bone-density, and finger-stick blood tests for cholesterol and glucose.

Life Line Screening was established in 1993, and has since become the nation’s leading provider of preventive screenings, screening about 1 million people each year.

IHOP butters up northern Nevada by serving free pancakes February 23


The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) of Reno, Sparks, Carson City and South Lake Tahoe are teaming up with Renown Children’s Hospital to raise money and awareness for theChildren’s Miracle Network (CMN), a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children’s hospitals throughout the United States.

From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, guests can enjoy a free short stack of pancakes at any local IHOP. In return IHOP asks that guests donate what they would have spent on the pancakes to CMN. Also, while at IHOP, guests can buy a CMN paper balloon for an additional dollar that will be placed on the wall with a name.Children’s Miracle Network “Miracle Balloons” will be sold for $1 and $5 each from Feb. 1 through Feb. 23, 2010. Miracle Balloon sales offer guests another way to show their support of Children’s Miracle Network and contribute to the fundraising effort.

The Children’s Miracle Network mission is to generate funds and awareness programs for the benefit of children served by its associated hospitals, such as Renown Children’s Hospital. In northern Nevada, Renown Children’s Hospital is the only hospital associated with CMN. Every penny raised locally stays in the community to help children in northern Nevada and northeastern California.

This is IHOP’s fifth National Pancake Day. The money raised will help benefit many children including Katy and Paige DuPriest, Nevada’s 2010 Miracle Children. The twins were diagnosed in utero with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (a complication of disproportionate blood supply where two or more fetuses share a chorion and hence a single placenta). As a result, both girls endured a variety of complications after birth.

Today, Katy and Paige are healthy 7-year-old girls. They are in the first grade, full of energy and curiosity, like normal children in their age group.

“Katy and Paige are remarkable examples of how Children’s Miracle Network works its magic,” said Rob DuPriest, the girls’ father. “While in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) I never realized how so much of the equipment around us was provided by Children’s Miracle Network. It truly is an important program to support because of what it provides local children.”

IHOP hopes to raise $1.75 million this year on Pancake Day. For more information about IHOP’s National Pancake Day, or to learn more about Children’s Miracle Network and make an online donation,

Renown health offers save your heart event


To celebrate American Heart Month, Renown Health invites individuals to hear local physicians and other healthcare professionals talk about heart attack symptoms, heart-healthy nutrition and reducing risk factors for heart disease at its Save Your Heart luncheon. The event will be held Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, 3800 South Virginia Street, Reno. Cost for the event is $10, which includes a heart healthy lunch. To register, call 775-982-5757.

Featured speakers for this event include:

  • Devang M. Desai, MD – interventional cardiologist with Sierra Nevada Cardiology Associates
  • Lynice Anderson – Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetic Educator
  • Rob Judd – Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner

In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an estimated 16 million people in the United States were living with coronary heart disease. That same year nearly 8.1 million people reported having had a heart attack.

Cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, is actually a collection of diseases and conditions, not one particular affliction. They include primarily heart disease and stroke. There are also diseases of the blood vessels, which include high blood pressure (hypertension) and aneurysm.

To urge Americans to join the battle against these diseases, since 1963 Congress has required the president to proclaim February “American Heart Month.”

Renown Health hospitals now accepting Beech Street insurance


Renown Health is pleased to announce Renown Regional Medical Center, Renown South Meadows Medical Center, Renown Rehabilitation Hospital and Renown Skilled Nursing  are now accepting Beech Street, A Viant Network, insurance. Beech Street members now have access to all four hospitals and the services they offer including the region’s only Level II trauma center, Renown Children’s Hospital including the only designated Children’s ER in the region, X-ray and imaging, lab services and more.

Beech Street patients interested in finding out more about each Renown Health hospital can visit or call 775-982-4100.

About Viant

Viant, Inc. (through its subsidiaries including Texas True Choice and national PPO network, Beech Street) provides healthcare payment solutions through primary and complementary networks, integrated network and contract management, non-network cost management services and post payment audit and recovery services to the U.S. commercial and public health insurance sectors. Viant’s comprehensive and effective cost management strategies focus on timely, accurate and fair payment for providers, payers and patients.

Renown Regional Medical Center’s “Hospital Career Days” gives students a look into real-life medicine


Approximately 800 students from Washoe County School District high schools will participate in Renown Regional Medical Center’s Hospital Career Days spanning for three days – Feb. 17, 18 and 19.

The 10th annual event, partnered with Education Alliance of Washoe County, Inc, offers high school students the opportunity to learn about healthcare occupations within the hospital setting and see firsthand the skills needed to pursue those careers in areas including nursing, imaging, rehabilitation therapies, dietary services, laboratory analysis, etc.

In addition to a videotape of a surgery with the di Vinci surgical procedure, professionals from numerous medical specialties and allied medical fields will be on hand to provide information and answer questions. The event will also feature tours of various healthcare fields and a medical career fair with exhibits and hands-on demonstrations including one that allows students to use surgical instruments to simulate an operation.

“Renown believes that community-based initiatives such as Hospital Career Days contribute to our ability to provide quality patient care well into the future,” said Michelle Sanchez-Bickley, vice president of human resources, Renown Health. “This program introduces young people to a wealth of information about various challenging and very rewarding healthcare career opportunities.”

Hospital Career Days is sponsored in part by a grant from the Nevada Public Education Foundation, which receives funds from USA Funds and Nell J. Redfield Foundation. These funds subsidize bus transportation for the participants to the event and pays for the substitute teachers needed so that classroom teachers can attend.

“Our students love Hospital Career Days and eagerly anticipate attending this event,” said Denise Hedrick, executive director of the Education Alliance of Washoe County, Inc. “It really does give them a taste of the excitement and rewards of working in healthcare. Our partnership with Renown Regional Medical Center provides an ideal situation in which students can learn firsthand what working in a hospital environment is all about.”

Students from nearly all Reno and Sparks high schools will participate in the activities, as well as students from the Academy of Arts.

Senior Care Plus earns top scores in national patient survey

Senior Care Plus, a Medicare Advantage Plan offered by Hometown Health, recently received top scores in an annual survey evaluating Nevada Medicare advantage plans. The Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey (CAHPS) survey, conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), evaluated Medicare Advantage Plans in Nevada from Feb. through June 2009 by interviewing health plan members.

In the survey, Senior Care Plus scored above the national average on “Customer Service” and on “Getting Care Quickly” indicators. Senior Care Plus also scored as the leading plan in Nevada under the following composite questions: Getting Care Quickly; Doctors Who Communicate Well; Health Plan Customer Service and Overall Rating as a Health Plan.

“Senior Care Plus has earned its position as the largest and most experienced Medicare Advantage Plan in our community by delivering comprehensive benefits and quality customer experience to Medicare beneficiaries,” said Matt Ladich, government programs director for Senior Care Plus. “We are committed to providing our members with outstanding local service.”

Senior Care Plus, a product of Hometown Health Plan, Inc. is contracted with the Federal Government to offer a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage, available to anyone with both Medicare Parts A and B. A member must be a resident of Washoe County and continue to pay his or her Medicare Part B premium.

The results of the Medicare CAHPS survey are published in the “Medicare & You” handbook and on the Medicare web site: These publicly reported results help beneficiaries choose a Medicare health or prescription drug plan, and allow the public and research community to assess Medicare program performance.

Renown to host preventive health screening event during Heart Month


Since 1963, to urge Americans to join the battle against heart and vascular diseases, Congress has advised the president to proclaim February “American Heart Month.” To celebrate American Heart Month this year, Renown Health invites individuals to attend its Life Line Screening event to ensure heart and vascular health.

Renown Health is pleased to host the life-saving services of Life Line Screening, the nation’s largest provider of preventive screenings, to help local residents identify their risk of stroke, vascular disease and osteoporosis before the catastrophic effects of these conditions can occur.

The event is open to local residents and will be held Wednesday Feb. 10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Renown Regional Medical Center, 1155 Mill Street., in the Mack Auditorium. To pre-register for a screening contact Life Line Screening at, or call 1-800-690-0295 to make an appointment. For directions, please dial 775-982-4100. Cost for the screenings is $129.

Offering these preventive services can help save lives and are painless and affordable. Symptoms are rarely present and if they are, they are generally subtle, almost unnoticeable. In fact, half of all stroke victims are asymptomatic prior to their attacks. A simple screening may be life saving.

Screenings provided will include:

  • Carotid Artery Screening – painless, non-invasive Doppler ultrasound used to visualize the carotid arteries, the arteries that bring blood to the brain. The majority of strokes are caused by plaque build up in these arteries.
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening – Ultrasound is used to visualize the abdominal aorta, the largest artery in the body, to measure the diameter of the aorta. This measurement can indicate if there is a weakening in the aortic wall which can cause a ballooning effect known as an aneurysm. Abdominal aortic aneurysms can burst. When they do, it is usually fatal.
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease Screening – PAD is also known as “hardening of the arteries.” Individuals with PAD have a 4 to 6 fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Risk is evaluated through a measurement called the “Ankle-Brachial Index,” which is obtained by reading the systolic pressure in the ankle and arm.
  • Osteoporosis Screening – Ultrasound is used to estimate the bone density of the heel. This can indicate if there is a reduction in bone density, which may indicate the presence of osteoporosis. The heel is used because it is similar in composition to the hip, where disabling fractures often occur.
  • Atrial Fibrillation is an abnormal heart beat (arrhythmia) that affects the atria – the upper chambers of the heart – and is the most common form of sustained arrhythmia. 2.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, and for those over age 40, there is a one in four chance of developing the condition.