• Can a blockage form after a stent has been placed?

    Cardiac catheterization is a common procedure used to check for areas of blockages in blood vessels. During this procedure, cardiologists may perform a balloon angioplasty to reopen a narrowed portion of the blood vessel, and they may place a stent at that site to keep the vessel open. A stent is a tiny tube made of wire mesh. You can hear an explanation of this procedure when you watch the accompanying video. It features a cardiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital.

    Post-operative blood vessel blockages
    After this procedure, it’s possible for a blood vessel to become narrow again, which is the reason why surgeons often place stents at the blockage site . It’s uncommon for another narrowing to occur at the stent site.

    However, as the cardiologist in the accompanying video explains, it’s still possible for the patient to have a narrowing in a different, previously untreated part of the blood vessel.

    Coronary artery blockages
    When a coronary artery can’t transport enough blood to the heart, the patient can experience shortness of breath and angina, or chest pain. If the blood vessel is completely blocked, the patient suffers a life-threatening heart attack.

    Patients suffering from possible heart attack symptoms should call 911 immediately. Emergency care can save lives and improve outcomes. The symptoms of a heart attack can include:

    • Chest pain or pressure
    • Pain that extends to the shoulders, upper back, upper abdomen or jaw
    • Dizziness
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Cold sweats
    • Lightheadedness

    Post-operative lifestyle modifications
    Patients who have had a stent placed are referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program. This is a comprehensive, patient-focused program that takes a collaborative approach toward managing heart disease to prevent blockages from affecting other areas of the coronary artery. In a cardiac rehab program, a patient may receive:

    • Smoking cessation counseling
    • Medication management assistance
    • Nutritional guidance
    • Exercise guidance
    • Stress management guidance

    Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital is the cardiology program of choice in San Jose and throughout Santa Clara County. Our commitment to healthcare excellence and our investment in state-of-the-art medical technology give our heart patients the best possible outcome. Call 911 if you require emergency care, or call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362 for general healthcare questions.

  • Assess your risk for pneumonia

    Each time you take a breath, the air is carried through your trachea, to your lungs, and down “branches” called bronchioles. Air sacs, called alveoli, are found at the end of the bronchioles. The alveoli allow oxygen to enter the bloodstream. These air sacs look like very tiny bunches of grapes, and your lungs have millions of them. If an emergency care physician at Good Samaritan Hospital diagnoses you with pneumonia , it means that an infection has inflamed these air sacs, causing them to fill with fluid or pus. Some people may only have mild symptoms of pneumonia, but for others, this infection may become life-threatening.

    Your age
    Your age can influence your risk of contracting pneumonia and suffering severe symptoms. Individuals who are age 65 or older are at a higher risk due to changes of the immune system associated with the aging process.

    If your household includes a child age two or younger, that child is also at an increased risk of serious illness. At this young age, a child’s immune system is still immature.

    Your environment
    Your environment can refer to your home, workplace and the community as a whole. You may be at a higher risk of pneumonia if you’re often exposed to toxic fumes, pollutants and chemicals.

    Living in a dormitory, retirement home or long-term care community exposes you to all sorts of germs from many people. Similarly, people who work in hospitals, libraries, schools and daycare centers are exposed to plenty of germs that might cause pneumonia.

    Your lifestyle habits
    Some risk factors for contracting pneumonia are manageable with lifestyle modifications. To reduce your risk of pneumonia , your physician may recommend:

    • Quitting smoking
    • Limiting or abstaining from alcohol
    • Improving your nutrition

    Lifestyle changes aren’t always easy to make, but your doctor can provide the personalized guidance you need.

    Your medical conditions
    People with certain underlying medical conditions are at an elevated risk of pneumonia. Managing these medical issues with your doctor’s help may help reduce your risk. These health problems include:

    • Suppressed immune system
    • History of lung disease
    • Problems swallowing or coughing
    • Mobility impairment
    • Diabetes
    • Heart failure
    • Sickle cell disease

    The emergency care team at Good Samaritan Hospital is here around the clock, every day of the year to take care of your family. Our highly trained healthcare providers in San Jose understand that a visit to the ER is stressful, which is why we go the extra mile to make your time with us as pleasant and hassle-free as possible. Our nurse referral line is available at (888) 724-2362.

  • How the holidays can affect problems with addiction

    For people who have never experienced chemical dependency , addiction can be difficult to understand. Addiction is recognized as a disease. It involves changes of the brain, which means that willpower alone isn’t enough to overcome it. Addiction is difficult for families to deal with at any time of the year, but the holiday season presents unique challenges. In the accompanying video, a psychiatrist at Good Samaritan Hospital recommends that families of addicts and recovering addicts seek help for themselves in order to better help their loved ones.

    Understanding holiday-related stressors
    The holidays are supposed to be a merry time of year, when families can relax and enjoy each other’s company. For recovering addicts, however, the holidays may only bring more pressure to stay sober. Try to put yourself in your loved one’s shoes to understand what he or she is dealing with.

    The holiday season can induce worsening stress, anxiety and depression in some individuals, which can trigger a chemical dependency relapse . Holiday gift-giving can highlight financial problems—another possible trigger for relapse.

    Additionally, there are societal pressures to enjoy alcoholic beverages at holiday parties. Get-togethers may put recovering addicts in contact with family members and friends, with whom they previously drank or did drugs.

    Providing opportunities for substance abuse
    Families often travel for the holiday season, which can expose the recovering addict to substances of abuse. Even if the host of the gathering is forewarned to not serve alcohol, it’s possible that the recovering addict will find prescription medications in the bathroom cabinet. Relapse is very common, but families can help prevent it by controlling the environment.

    Before traveling with a loved one with addiction, call the host and ask that all alcohol and medications be kept under lock and key. If your family will be staying at a hotel, call the front desk ahead of time to request that all alcohol be removed from the mini bar before your loved one checks in.

    Having a backup plan
    Since relapse is common, families should have a backup plan that they can use to help their loved one get through an urge to drink or take drugs. Designate someone whom the recovering addict trusts to stay close to your loved one during holiday get-togethers. The buddy system gives the recovering addict someone to talk to if problems occur, and the designated buddy can get your loved one out of challenging environments if the need arises.

    Behavioral Health Services are available at Good Samaritan Hospital throughout the year. Our compassionate providers are committed to improving quality of life for families throughout our San Jose community. Talk to a trusted, friendly member of our nursing staff by calling (888) 724-2362.

  • Why is hand washing so much more important during flu season?

    Flu viruses cause many of the same symptoms as colds, but influenza can be much more serious. Some patients are more susceptible to severe symptoms and potentially life-threatening complications. At Good Samaritan Hospital, we emphasize the value of preventive care for our neighbors in San Jose, and that includes reducing the spread of disease-causing germs with thorough hand washing.

    The flu vaccine is effective, but not foolproof

    To get ready for every flu season, virus experts identify the strains of flu virus that are most likely to be widespread in the U.S. Seasonal flu shots are developed and manufactured to protect families from these flu viruses.

    Doctors recommend an annual flu shot because it’s the most effective way to avoid this serious illness. However, because the shot can’t protect patients from every possible strain of flu virus, it isn’t 100 percent foolproof. This is why emergency care doctors encourage families to continue to protect themselves in other ways, such as by washing their hands frequently.

    Viruses can live outside the human body

    If a person sneezes into his or her hand, you probably wouldn’t shake that hand. This is a smart way to protect yourself, but it’s still possible to contract the flu even if you avoid direct contact with sick individuals.

    Flu viruses can remain active and infectious on surfaces for up to 24 hours. If an infected person opens a door and you touch the doorknob afterward, you could get these germs on your hand. In addition to washing your hands regularly, consider routinely disinfecting commonly touched surfaces in your home and workstation, such as the following:

    • Phones
    • Doorknobs
    • Refrigerator handles
    • TV remotes
    • Light switches
    • Computer devices

    Hand washing protects yourself and others

    When you choose to wash your hands frequently during flu season, you’re protecting your family and the community as a whole, as well as yourself. This is significant because some people are unable to safely get the flu shot, such as infants under six months of age and individuals with life-threatening egg allergies. Doing your part to reduce germ transmission is one way you can keep your neighbors safe.

    Good Samaritan Hospital delivers patient-centered emergency care around the clock, every day of the year. Our compassionate doctors and nurses are committed to maintaining the highest standards of infection control in our hospital in San Jose. For information about our healthcare services, you can speak with a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362.