West Hills Hospital & Medical Center
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is your community resource for better health. We have the capability and expertise to perform emergency open heart procedures, perform brain and spine surgery.

Knowing When You Need to Go to the ER for Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath always has the propensity to be a medical emergency. As this West Hills Hospital & Medical Center provider explains in this video, because there are so many different potential causes of shortness of breath, getting care quickly is important. If you are experiencing shortness of breath and wondering what to do, here are some signs that you should consider emergency care.

Your shortness of breath is severe.

If you have severe shortness of breath, don’t delay seeking emergency care. Severe shortness of breath could indicate a serious health problem that requires urgent treatment. Don’t attempt to drive if you have severe shortness of breath. If no one is available to take you to the hospital, dial 911 for help.

You have chest pain.

Shortness of breath that is accompanied by chest pain could indicate a heart attack. During a heart attack, blood doesn’t flow from the lungs into the heart effectively, so oxygenated blood backs up. This causes congestion to occur in the lungs, making it harder to breathe. Chest pain and shortness of breath that happen together do not always indicate a heart attack—for instance, these symptoms can also happen during an anxiety attack—but getting an accurate diagnosis is crucial.

You have nausea.

Nausea combined with shortness of breath can also suggest a medical emergency. When these symptoms appear together, a heart attack or pulmonary embolism are possible. Getting a fast diagnosis and treatment could be life-saving. As with chest pain, nausea and shortness of breath can also be a sign of a less serious condition.

If you have symptoms that concern you, always err on the side of caution and seek emergency care in West Hills at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center. Visit our website to see our current ER wait times, or dial (818) 676-4321 for additional information about our hospital services.

How Much Exercise Do Women Need?

Most women know the importance of physical activity in maintaining good health, but how much is enough? Although everyone’s needs are different, there are some general guidelines that can help you determine how much exercise to aim for in your day for the best possible health. Be sure to review any new exercise plans with your doctor before beginning to make sure it is safe for you. Here is what you need to know about the exercise and women’s health.

Exercise for Good Health

To reap the maximum health benefits from exercise, do two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity per week or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. You can also choose to mix moderate and vigorous-intensity activities. Moderate-intensity activity refers to aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate but still allows you to speak comfortably, such as brisk walking. Vigorous-intensity activity is an aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate dramatically and makes you breathe so hard that talking is difficult. Jogging is an example of a vigorous-intensity activity. In addition to these aerobic activities, aim to do muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days per week. Achieving these exercise goals will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some kinds of cancer.

Exercise for Weight Loss

If you want to exercise for weight loss and not just for the health benefits, you may need to increase the amount of activity you do each week. Many people who exercise for weight loss aim for 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. You may also need to decrease your calorie intake, in addition, to exercise to achieve weight loss.

At West Hills Hospital, our surgical weight loss program helps patients reach healthy weights when diet and exercise alone are not enough. After surgery, our patients receive extensive follow-up care to help them lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. Find out more about bariatric weight loss and get answers to your other questions about our services, including emergency care and our burn center in West Hills, by calling (818) 676-4321.

What to Expect Just After You Give Birth

Maternity hospitals encourage soon-to-be parents to become informed about the labor and delivery process, along with what to expect immediately after childbirth. Knowing what will happen, which interventions may become necessary, and which choices are available can empower women to proactively make decisions for their wellness. Watch this featured video to hear an obstetrician at West Hills Hospital dispel some of the common misconceptions about labor and childbirth.

Baby Care

After your baby is born, the doctor will administer Apgar assessments, place antibiotic drops in his or her eyes, and collect a sample of cord blood. Your baby will be thoroughly and gently rubbed dry. The nurse will give an injection of vitamin K. Later on, more screenings and assessments may be performed. Once your baby’s temperature is stabilized, your baby can be bathed and given a full pediatric exam.

Maternal Care

Following childbirth, it’s time to deliver the placenta. You may be asked to try to urinate since a full bladder interferes with the contraction of the uterus. A maternity provider will massage the uterus several times to encourage its contraction. You may require stitches and you may have the epidural catheter removed. After a vaginal birth, most women stay in the maternity hospital for about two days.

Lactation Support

Did you know that August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month? Consider learning about the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby. If you choose to try to breastfeed, you’ll receive extensive lactation support while in the maternity hospital. As soon as possible after the birth, healthy, full-term infants are typically placed skin-to-skin on their mothers. Most babies who have the opportunity to do so will try to breastfeed within the first hour. The first milk that is produced is colostrum. It will take a few days for the regular breast milk to come in.

West Hills Hospital is a leading maternity hospital that provides specialized care for newborns and their parents. The New Beginnings Maternal and Newborn Care team in West Hills offers nurturing support within our pleasant and spacious labor and delivery suites. Expectant mothers can reach our maternity hospital at (818) 676-4321 or visit us online for current information about childbirth and newborn care classes.

Understanding How Hot Your Parked Car Can Get

Every year, dozens of children die because they were left in hot cars. Children are unable to regulate their body temperatures as well as adults and young children are unable to remove themselves from cars when temperatures become unbearable. The result of a parent’s forgetfulness can be the tragic loss of life. The emergency care team at West Hills Hospital encourages parents to become informed of the dangers of leaving kids in parked cars.

How Hot Your Car Can Get

When a child develops heatstroke, he or she can die within minutes. Death from heat stroke occurs when a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it doesn’t have to be extremely hot outdoors for the temperature within a car to reach deadly heights. Temperatures in the 60s and 70s can pose a risk of fatal accidents. When the temperature outdoors is in the low 80s, the temperature inside the car can become deadly within 10 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Parking the car in the shade or leaving the windows cracked open will not keep a child from dying from heatstroke.

Why Hot Car Deaths Occur

Hot car deaths are completely preventable, but they still affect dozens of families per year. These families are from all walks of life and all levels of education. Most hot car deaths occur not because parents think that it’s alright to leave a child alone in a car, but because the parents simply forget that their kids are there. Exhaustion and breaks from one’s usual routine can increase the risk.

How You Can Protect Kids

Some high-tech devices are currently available to serve as a warning system to parents. In addition to these devices, it’s recommended that all parents get into the habit of checking the backseat before walking away from the car. Leaving a purse, briefcase, or another important item in the backseat for every car trip can also serve as a reminder.

The emergency care team at West Hills Hospital is available 24/7 to administer life-saving interventions to children with heatstroke. If you see a child in a parked car, please do not hesitate to call 911; your actions could save a life. For general questions about the hospital services available in West Hills, including burn care, emergency care, and cancer care, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4321.

Knowing the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Driving while distracted can be just as deadly as driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Yet, despite public awareness campaigns and strict legislation, far too many people still lose their lives in car accidents caused by distracted drivers. Here at West Hills Hospital, our emergency care team stresses the importance of prevention and wishes our neighbors in the West Hills area a safe summer.


Distracted driving is broadly defined as engaging in any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. Anyone is at risk of distracted driving, but young drivers have the highest rates of engaging in distracted driving. Quite often, distracted driving takes the form of using cellphones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. According to the official U.S. government website for distracted driving, at any given moment, about 660,000 drivers around the U.S. are using electronic devices while driving. This shocking statistic has held steady for six years. During 2014, distracted driving killed 3,179 people and injured 431,000 others.


Experts recognize three main types of distraction. Visual distraction involves taking one’s eyes off the road and manual distraction involves taking one’s hands off the wheel. Cognitive distraction involves taking one’s mind off the task at hand. Within these categories, there are many activities that can cause distracted driving and many of these can cause more than one type of distraction. In addition to using cellphones and other electronic devices, distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in conversation with passengers, stares at billboards or other sights, eats or drinks, or allows his or her mind to wander.


Legislation that bans the use of cellphones while driving may help to curb some of this behavior. However, it’s still very important for parents to emphasize the dangers of distracted driving to their teens. Parents can also set a good example for their children by never engaging in distracted driving themselves.

When car accidents occur in the West Hills area, exceptional emergency care is available at West Hills Hospital. In addition to emergency care, our community hospital is a leading provider of compassionate cancer care and burn care. You can speak with a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321 to request general information.

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