• Playing It Safe with Fireworks This Summer


    Fireworks are a quintessential element of summer fun, but they can be extremely dangerous when they are not handled with care and used correctly. Injuries caused by fireworks tend to affect the face, hands, and eyes primarily, and these injuries account for more than 200 ER visits every day in the United States in the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July holiday. To steer clear of fireworks injuries and ensure safe summer fun, follow these guidelines for appropriate fireworks safety.

    Always utilize adult supervision

    Young children should only be spectators when it comes to fireworks. Never let a child light or handle fireworks, and always supervise when kids play with sparklers. Because fireworks and sparklers can burn at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees , injuries can happen quickly, so close supervision is a necessity.

    Only light fireworks in open areas

    Clear, open spaces are the only safe environment to light fireworks. You should have a clear path to get out of the way once fireworks are lit, and remember to avoid trying to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited, since there is a higher chance for injuries caused by projectile materials.

    Keep a bucket of water or hose close by

    Any firework that has been lit should be doused with water to be sure that it has fully gone out before being put in the trash. Keeping plenty of water nearby will help you remember to douse any burned fireworks and allow for a quick response in the event of a fire.

    Never carry fireworks in your pocket

    Fireworks can leave a combustible residue on clothing, so you won’t want to hold them in your pocket.

    If accidents do happen with seasonal fireworks, Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital offers comprehensive burn care with inpatient and outpatient services including intensive care and hyperbaric therapy. To connect with West Hills Hospital for a closer look at our emergency care and burn services, visit our website or call us at (818) 676-4321.

  • What to Expect with Total Joint Replacement Surgeries

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    The body’s major joints in the hips, knees, and shoulders can become worn out through the years, and this degenerative pattern can lead to pain that limits regular activities and reduces a patient’s quality of life. Total joint replacement surgery can offer a solution, which will provide more freedom and mobility than you might expect thanks to the modern technologies available for joint replacement procedures. West Hills Hospital offers a comprehensive joint replacement program, incorporating every aspect of care into one convenient center. Read on to explore what you can expect with our joint replacement program.

    A team approach to care

    In the video above, you can hear Dr. Nirav Shah discuss how total joint replacement at West Hills Hospital utilizes a diverse staff of orthopedic experts who work together to coordinate care with a comprehensive approach. Because surgery, follow-up, and rehabilitation all take place in the same center, patients can expect that every member of the care team has had clear communication to ensure optimal success in surgery and long-term recovery.

    Extensive planning and recovery

    Before having joint replacement surgery, patients will attend a pre-surgical education class to create clearer expectations for this elective procedure. Patients also work one-on-one with physicians to plan their care and share their post-surgical goals. Recovery following joint replacement will include physical therapy led by licensed and certified specialists in the Fitness & Rehabilitation Center.

    Improved technology for a broader range of patients

    In the past, the typical joint replacement candidate was an older patient with limited goals in mobility and a primary focus on pain management. While joint replacement is still valuable as a method to relieve chronic pain in the affected joint, it is also now more widely accessible with artificial joint technologies that can facilitate more active lifestyles.

    Are you considering joint replacement surgery to improve your quality of life and restore your independence? West Hills Hospital can walk you through the process with our exceptional patient education, so call us at (818) 676-4321 to get started with a physician referral. 

  • What Is a STEMI Heart Attack?


    While any type of heart attack is an emergency situation, not all heart attacks are alike. STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, is a more serious type of heart attack that requires the specialized care of a dedicated STEMI Receiving Center like West Hills Hospital. This article will offer a more detailed look at what happens in the ER when patients are experiencing STEMI heart attacks.

    STEMI Diagnosis

    ST segment elevation refers to a pattern that shows up on an electrocardiogram (ECG), a test measuring the electrical activity of the heart given when a patient arrives in the hospital with heart attack symptoms. Along with a clear pattern on the ECG, STEMI heart attacks may be distinct with gradual symptoms that may begin to manifest well before the actual heart attack takes place.

    Immediate Treatment Options

    The goal of treating a STEMI heart attack is to restore blood flow either through medication or mechanical procedures like angioplasty. Medication will consist of clot-busting drugs given through an IV, and angioplasty will involve the placement of a catheter at the site of the blockage to remove the clot. With angioplasty, a stent may be placed to keep the artery clear and open, which may promote improved heart health in years to come.

    Long-Term Effects

    STEMI heart attacks are more damaging because they are caused by complete blockages in the arteries that will not go away on their own. Less severe heart attacks may be related to temporary or partial blockages that might cause less damage to the heart muscle. Because of the more extensive effects of a STEMI heart attack, patients may require more significant lifestyle changes facilitated by cardiac rehabilitation, which begins in the hospital following critical care.

    Only about 25% of hospitals are equipped to treat STEMI heart attacks, and West Hills Hospital is among these facilities. Our Heart & Vascular Center is further distinguished with accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers and official designation for specialized emergency care from Los Angeles County. You can learn more about why you should rely on us for your complete cardiovascular care by visiting our website or calling us at (818) 676-4321. 

  • Spotlight on the Technology in the West Hills Heart & Vascular Institute


    The technology available for cardiovascular care has evolved greatly over the past decade, and West Hills Hospital has worked to invest in the most advanced technologies available so that patients have immediate access to the right care. Our Heart & Vascular Institute is a chest pain receiving center and official STEMI receiving center, though our primary specialty is in treating arrhythmias, or malfunctioning of the heart’s electrical system. You can watch this video clip to hear from Dr. James Ong, who is a cardiac electrophysiologist on our cardiovascular team. Below, you’ll get a closer look at some of the technologies he discusses in this short clip.


    The field of electrophysiology focuses on regulating the heartbeat of patients suffering from arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation. In this area, there are two primary goals for treatment. The first is to relieve symptoms and regulate the heart’s rhythm. This is often achieved through device placement, which may include remote monitoring for direct communication with your electrophysiologist. The second goal in treatment is minimizing stroke risk, and this may be accomplished either through the use of medication or with radiofrequency ablation.

    Radiofrequency ablation

    During radiofrequency ablation, your doctor will use a catheter to find areas of the heart that are fibrillating, or beating too fast, and burn those areas away with radio energy. This type of minimally invasive procedure can be life-changing, since it can permanently improve the function of the heart and significantly reduce stroke risk.

    3-D computer modeling

    In any procedure performed at West Hills Hospital, physicians have the benefit of 3-D imaging to produce a clear model of the heart, which will pinpoint areas with abnormalities resulting in arrhythmias. Dr. Ong likens this technology to the GPS system in a car, since it allows for the accurate navigation of a catheter through the heart for precise treatment.

    If you are in need of cardiovascular care in West Hills, there is no need to travel for your care with West Hills Hospital in your neighborhood. You can discover more information about the services of our Heart & Vascular Institute online or by calling us directly at (818) 676-4321.