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In this issue
Up Front: Reliable information for your COVID-19 questions
Keeping up with the changes for COVID-19 isn’t easy! Find the most accurate information here. The omicron variant caused a rise in cases. Our hospitals and health providers are asking you to follow these guidelines.
Prevent the spread
- Please get fully vaccinated, including your booster, if you’re eligible. Vaccines are available for people ages 5 years and older. Find vaccine information here or call 833-647-8222.
- Wash your hands often and give other people lots of space.
- Stay home when you are sick, even if it feels like a mild cold.
- If you are at higher risk or live in a high-risk area, wear a mask indoors and in public spaces.
If you get sick
Most people have mild or moderate symptoms and can recover at home.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Take over-the-counter medicines, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to reduce fever.
- Stay away from others in your home as much as possible. If you must be near others, wear a mask.
- Monitor your symptoms. If they get worse, call your primary care provider for advice.
- Please do not come to the hospital unless you have an emergency warning sign, such as:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to awaken or to stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
- Other severe symptoms
Find answers to questions about COVID-19 symptoms, treatments, testing and more.
A. Check for fever with a home thermometer of any kind. If your baby is less than 3 months old, go to an emergency room for temperatures above 100 degrees. If your baby is 4 months old or older, give a dose of acetaminophen, following the directions on the bottle. Offer fluids and comfort. If the fever improves, call your child’s provider in the morning. But you know your child. If you feel something is wrong and needs care urgently, you shouldn’t hesitate to come to an emergency room. At Hillsboro Medical Center, we can provide inpatient care for children with common conditions and diseases. If needed, we can transfer children to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
A. Don’t wait. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. There can be many reasons for chest pain or pressure, and not all are related to your heart. Time can be important, so the sooner you are treated, the better. When you arrive, you will get an ECG, chest X-ray and bloodwork to help us understand what is causing the pain. If it is related to your heart, our cardiac specialists can intervene quickly. Even if your symptoms are mild, it’s best to get to emergency care as soon as possible.
Four locations, one emergency team
OHSU Emergency Medicine providers staff the emergency rooms at Adventist Health Portland, Hillsboro Medical Center, OHSU Hospital and OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. That means you receive the same high quality of care at the location nearest you. For health issues that need attention soon but aren’t an emergency, OHSU Health has multiple urgent and immediate care locations in the Portland metro.
Sleep headband may offer a good night’s rest
Research is proving that if you’re short on sleep, your nightly brain cleanup gets behind. A sleep scientist at OHSU is working with researchers across the country to develop a wireless headband to promote better sleep.
Stem cell therapy in search for a glaucoma cure
One-time change in period length after COVID-19 vaccine possible
An OHSU research team compared menstrual cycle differences among 4,000 people to see if receiving a COVID-19 vaccination had an impact.
Innovations: Bringing the newest treatments to Oregon
Incisionless brain surgery for tremor is now possible
Using ultrasonic sound, the latest technology at OHSU offers life-changing relief to people with essential tremor and tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease. Sound waves pass through the skull without cutting.
This method, called focused ultrasound, has instant results.
A surgeon uses MRI to identify the tiny spot in the brain that needs to be changed to improve the tremor. Then, the surgeon uses converging beams of sound energy to create a lesion.
There is no blood loss, no pain and little risk of infection. Patients go home the same day or the next day.
“This is an exciting step forward,” says Ahmed Raslan, M.D., an OHSU neurosurgeon. “We’re taking a very complex surgery and making it easier on the patient to get great results with much less risk and fast recovery.”
OHSU is the only location in Oregon to offer this method for treating tremor.
Heart Smart: Managing heart disease
A. Yes, there is a big role for devices to help heart failure symptoms and prolong life. There are three types we often use: pacemakers, defibrillators and biventricular pacemakers. A pacemaker helps protect your heart from slowing down. A defibrillator is a backup if your heart suddenly goes into a risky rhythm. It will shock the heart back into normal rhythm. A biventricular pacemaker helps sync the electrical system of the heart and improve the heart muscle. There have been many advances in this technology. We can closely monitor the devices and patients remotely. If there is a problem with the device or an alert of an abnormal rhythm, we call and check on the patient. We can step in early to help before the problem worsens.
About one in two people have high blood pressure
Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.
“It’s far more common than people think, and it’s not well-controlled in most people,” says Dr. Nandita Gupta, a cardiologist and associate chief medical officer at Hillsboro Medical Center. “In the long term, high blood pressure can lead to heart failure.”
People of all races have about the same risk of developing high blood pressure as they age.
“However, people of color are about 30% less likely to have good control of it,” Gupta says.
Most people don’t have symptoms of high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 and lower. Above 130/80 is considered hypertension.
“Know your numbers,” Gupta says. “If your blood pressure is high, discuss your options with your provider. Blood pressure can improve with a healthy diet and regular exercise, but you may also need other treatment.”
Tips for controlling high blood pressure
- Take medication as prescribed. If needed, set an alarm to make sure you don’t miss a dose.
- Follow the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) with foods rich in nutrients that help control blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
- Sodium, like table salt, can increase blood pressure. Processed foods often contain high amounts of sodium, so be sure to read labels.
- Regular exercise can lower blood pressure. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days. It’s OK to break those total minutes into shorter sessions.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Find ways to release stress, such as meditation, breathing exercises, hobbies and play.
Living with heart failure
When your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be, you can become tired, have shortness of breath and other symptoms of heart failure. This is a chronic condition, but you can learn ways to adapt your lifestyle to help.
OHSU and the American Heart Association have created the Oregon Heart Failure Guide with videos and information for leading a healthier life with heart failure.
727 heart transplants performed
Since 1988, OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute continues to be the largest and longest-running cardiac transplant program in Oregon.
Living Well: Are you due for a cancer screening?
Early detection key for more treatment options
By catching cancer early, we give people the best chance of treatment and cure.
Every person is unique, so there can be different risk factors that affect when you should start screening for some cancers.
Talk to your provider about which screenings are right for you and the right age for you to begin regular screening.
We always encourage self-awareness. If you notice something that doesn’t seem right — a lump, new discomfort, a mole that is changing shape — don’t delay seeking advice from your provider. The way we find and treat cancer is changing all the time!
The best way to catch cancer early is to get screened on schedule.
Though the risk increases with age, skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in people younger than 30.
Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, but has a high survival rate if found and treated early.
Skin cancers can look different, but generally watch for new or changing moles.
Take a quiz about your risk for melanoma and find additional information.
More than 3.7 million U.S. women are living with or have survived breast cancer, but men can also get breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
Screening mammograms are very helpful for detecting breast cancer. Guidelines differ about when and how often to get mammograms.
Before age 50, women should discuss their risk factors with their providers to decide the right screening plan.
After age 50 and until age 74, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women get a mammogram every other year.
After age 74, women should discuss whether continued screening is helpful.
Learn more about the OHSU Breast Center.
If found early, there are good treatments and survival rates for prostate cancer.
Men ages 55-69 should discuss with their primary care provider whether a prostate screening is worthwhile, based on their risk factors. The screening method is a blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.
Smokers and former smokers age 50 and over should discuss with their OHSU provider whether they should consider testing.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends you get a low-dose CT scan of the chest every year if:
- You are 50-80 years old.
- You have a 20 pack-year smoking history (example: someone who smoked two packs a day for 10 years, or smoked one pack a day for 20 years).
- You still smoke or quit in the last 15 years.
Colorectal cancers in younger adults have increased by 51% since 1994. As a result, the latest guidelines recommend a screening colonoscopy at age 45 for everyone at average risk.
People with family history of colorectal cancers or syndromes may be screened earlier.
A colonoscopy is the gold standard for finding and preventing colorectal cancers. There are also home tests that can detect blood in the stool as a sign of cancer.
Getting hospital care from home
OHSU Health Hospital at Home makes it possible for some patients to get individualized, hospital-level care delivered where they feel most comfortable: their own homes.
For more than 10 years, thousands of patients in the U.S. have found hospital at home to be a safe, tested and trusted option. OHSU Health’s Hospital at Home patients can expect the same level of compassionate care at home as they receive in our hospitals.
OHSU Health partner, Adventist Health Portland, began offering hospital at home in 2020. Located on Adventist Health Portland medical center campus, the virtual unit recently expanded across the OHSU Health system.
Patients say they enjoy having more control over their space, meals and activities at home. They also prefer being with their loved ones and pets and sleeping in their own beds.
Studies show this home-based model can reduce recovery time with fewer readmissions to the hospital.
How hospital at home works
Getting started: The care team screens hospital patients interested in hospital at home. If their needs are a fit, patients can leave the hospital when they’re stable. A care team visits their homes the same day to set up a virtual unit. They bring all the supplies patients may need. Then they provide all the medical care patients need, individualized for each patient.
Daily communication: Patients have daily video visits with a provider or nurse. They can also reach a team member 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hospital at home provides a tablet for video visits and a direct-line phone. Patients can always talk to their care team if needed.
All equipment: Hospital at home provides FDA-approved medical devices to monitor patients’ health. This allows the care team to check temperature, breathing and pulse regularly. The team brings any other equipment patients may need, like an oxygen machine.
Daily home visits: In addition to video and phone calls, care team members visit patients’ homes at least once a day or more as needed. The team can provide services such as IV fluids, labs, mobile imaging, medications or physical therapy.
Delivered meals: Patients have the option to have all their meals and snacks brought to their home.
Discharge: When patients are ready, the care team releases patients to their primary care providers with a full report.
Check your child’s symptoms day or night
What should you do if your child has a fever, cough, vomiting, rash, sore throat or head injury?
The OHSU Doernbecher MD 4KIDS mobile app makes it easy to manage your child’s health from the palm of your hand with Apple or Android devices. It’s available 24/7, so you can turn to the app at any time — nights, weekends, or when you’re working or traveling.
The app can help you decide whether to get emergency care, see a provider within 24 hours, or wait for office hours. With the app, you can:
- Find symptoms of common conditions, including colds, flu and COVID-19.
- Check medication dosage charts for your child.
- Get expert advice for common parenting concerns.
- Make an appointment with your child’s primary care provider.
- Log on to your family’s MyChart account to connect with your provider.
Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away if your child is having a medical emergency.