Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
Sunrise Hospital and Sunrise Children’s Hospital are committed to providing a healthier environment for members of our community, employees, physicians, patients, families, and visitors.

Which factors put your child at risk for congenital heart disease?

Any congenital defect is a medical problem that is present at birth, rather than acquired later in life. A congenital heart defect may affect the heart’s valves or interior walls. This sort of diagnosis is frightening for parents, but in many cases, congenital heart disease is minor and doesn’t cause any symptoms. Even when a heart defect is serious, treatment is available through our Heart Center at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Genetic risk factors of heart defects
In some cases, heart defects can run in families. It’s possible for a child to have a higher risk of congenital heart disease if a parent also has it, but it’s not a guarantee a parent with a heart defect will pass it along to their child.

Congenital heart disease is often caused by genetic conditions, especially Down syndrome. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, about half of all children who are born with Down syndrome are also born with congenital heart defects.

Because of the possibility of a genetic cause of heart defects, some couples may choose to undergo genetic counseling. Genetic counseling is best done before pregnancy and works best if both parents do it. It involves testing a sample of blood for genetic problems that might cause heart defects.

Maternal risk factors of heart defects
Smoking during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of heart defects. Alcohol use and the abuse of recreational drugs also increase the risk. More research is needed regarding other possible maternal risk factors, but the following may have some influence:

  • Diabetes or lupus
  • Obesity
  • Rubella infection (German measles)
  • Phenylketonuria

Unknown cause of heart defects
All too often, the cause of congenital heart disease is unknown. When the cause of a medical condition is unknown, it’s often referred to as “idiopathic.” Individuals who were born with heart defects may decide to participate in research studies later in life, in order to help scientists learn more about the causes and risk factors.

The cardiologists and nurses at Heart Center at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center care for patients as if they were family. Our state-of-the-art heart hospital in Las Vegas provides rapid medical interventions for emergency situations, as well as long-term, supportive care. You can request a physician referral by calling a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300.

Exploring new treatment options for seizures

Seizures occur when there is an abnormality in the activity of the brain. They can cause a variety of symptoms, including unusual behaviors, atypical sensations, loss of awareness and twitching. A seizure can affect anyone, no matter the background. A person who has two or more unprovoked seizures might be diagnosed with epilepsy. These patients need specialized care from a neurologist. In the Las Vegas region, the only dedicated neurosciences program is found at Nevada Neurosciences Institute at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

Inhibition of estrogens in the brain
Epilepsy specialists continually research new, more effective and safer ways of managing seizures. One of the emerging treatments is based on research on estrogens in the brain.

It’s thought that when seizures occur, the hippocampus in the brain is stimulated to generate estrogens. Estrogen is a female sex hormone, but both men and women produce it. Researchers have proposed that the use of medications that inhibit estrogen production may help control seizures.

This research is still in its infancy, and there haven’t been any human studies yet.

Gene therapy for seizure control
Some patients with seizures are found to have genetic mutations that cause the disorder. This discovery has given researchers a new direction to focus on: The use of personalized medicine based on genomics.

The idea behind precision medicine for epilepsy patients is that the specific gene mutation can be isolated and replicated in a laboratory setting. Then, the lab scientists can test different medications against the mutation to find out what will work best. This eliminates the need for the patient to try multiple medications, some of which may cause severe side effects or be ineffective.

MRI-guided laser ablation
When medications aren’t a good option for a patient, implantable devices or surgery may offer a solution. One new treatment option involves the use of real-time MRI-guided thermal imaging with the application of specialized laser technology. It allows neurosurgeons to precisely focus the laser on the diseased tissue of the brain.

Nevada Neurosciences Institute provides world-class care for patients with epilepsy. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas attracts top physicians and specialists because of our reputation for putting patients and their families first. Call (702) 233-5300 to request a physician referral.

When to go to the ER for flu symptoms

Influenza types A and B, plus subtypes of influenza A, are responsible for causing outbreaks of the flu each year. Sometimes, those outbreaks become deadly. Emergency care providers strongly recommend that all individuals who are medically able to get vaccinated do so at the start of each flu season. You should also know the warning signs of a serious case of influenza, which warrant a trip to the ER at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

Identifying serious flu symptoms
Serious flu symptoms that require emergency care include:

  • Relentless nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest or abdominal pain or pressure
  • Symptoms that improve, but then worsen

Infants need emergency care if they have any of these serious symptoms:

  • Inability to feed
  • Problems breathing
  • Few to no wet diapers
  • Lack of tears when crying

Older children who are seriously ill with influenza may have any of these health problems:

  • Bluish skin color
  • Inability to keep liquids down
  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inability to be awakened
  • Fever with a rash

Watch the accompanying video to hear about some of the other serious symptoms to watch out for. This emergency care doctor explains that a headache and fever, combined with neck pain and stiffness requires a prompt medical evaluation. These symptoms could actually indicate meningitis, which is often misinterpreted by patients as being flu.

Understanding your risk factors
If you have a high risk of flu-related complications, your doctor may ask that you go to the ER soon after realizing you have the flu, rather than waiting for serious symptoms to develop. Patients at a high risk include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Women who gave birth within the previous two weeks
  • Children younger than five
  • Seniors ages 65 and older

Patients with certain medical conditions may also need early antiviral treatment for the flu, including the following:

  • Asthma
  • Kidney or liver disorders
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Endocrine disorders (including diabetes)
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Morbid obesity

The emergency care doctors at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are available 24/7 to provide rapid medical interventions. Las Vegas residents are urged to call 911 if they are experiencing a true medical emergency. Otherwise, a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300 can provide a physician referral.

When do you need dedicated trauma care?

Dedicated trauma care is different from emergency care. Emergency care doctors can treat all sorts of medical problems, such as broken bones and heart attacks, but trauma surgeons have specialized training and expertise to treat patients who are at imminent risk of losing their lives due to severe injuries. There are designated levels of trauma centers, depending on the level of care they offer. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas features a Level II Trauma Center.

When you’ve been involved in a serious vehicular accident
After a minor fender bender, you might seek emergency care for problems like whiplash. But if you’ve been critically injured in a serious accident, you’ll be taken to a Trauma Center. Trauma care teams are trained to respond immediately, around the clock, to patients with these types of car accident injuries:

  • Internal bleeding

  • Broken neck

  • Skull fracture

  • Traumatic amputation

  • Punctured lung

  • Complex facial trauma

When you’ve sustained severe, penetrating wounds
Trauma care surgeons are on call around the clock to save the lives of patients who have been shot, stabbed or otherwise assaulted. When a patient arrives at the hospital with a life-threatening, penetrating wound, the trauma care team will rapidly assess the following:

  • Location of entry and exit wound

  • Damage to internal organs

  • Damage to major blood vessels

Trauma care teams initially focus on opening the airway to manage respiratory distress, and preventing fatal blood loss by setting up an IV.

When you’ve sustained spinal cord or brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries can be fatal or result in permanent, extensive disabilities. For these patients, the trauma team focuses on stabilization to prevent further injury, as well as:

  • Airway management

  • Assessment and treatment of shock, hemorrhage and hypotension

  • Neurological assessment

All of these medical interventions require specialized medical knowledge and advanced technical skills. If you do require trauma care someday, you can rest assured the trauma care team will do everything possible to achieve the best possible outcome.

When you watch the accompanying video, you can hear about Level II Trauma Center at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. Around the clock, our emergency care team and trauma specialists are here to save the lives of Las Vegas residents and visitors. Call 911 for emergency care, or, for non-emergent inquiries, call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300.

Are there side effects from the seasonal flu shot?

Some people hesitate to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza, because they worry the flu shot isn’t safe, or they’re concerned that it’s ineffective. Fortunately, neither is true. Each year, research scientists spend long hours identifying the most threatening flu strains for the upcoming season, and producing vaccines to protect the population from outbreaks. Before any vaccine is made available to patients, it is exhaustively tested for safety and effectiveness. If you still have concerns about getting vaccinated, you can put your trust in the compassionate physicians and nurses at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

Minor side effects
Most people who receive the flu shot don’t experience any problems, and they enjoy protection from potentially serious flu viruses all season long. When side effects do occur, they are almost always mild, and they resolve quickly. These side effects can include:

  • Minor soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea
  • Aches

Rare, but serious side effects
It’s possible, although rare, for a patient to experience a more serious side effect after getting a flu shot. These uncommon side effects can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High-grade fever
  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing

Patients are advised to seek emergency care if any of these problems develop.

High-risk patients
Certain people might not be able to get vaccinated, due to medical reasons. Talk to your doctor about whether the flu shot is safe for you if any of the following apply:

  • Life-threatening allergy to chicken eggs
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Current, severe illness with a fever
  • Past severe reaction to the flu shot

If the nasal spray is being offered during a flu season, certain people are advised to get the shot instead. These include children who are 24 months of age or younger. Children with asthma or a history of wheezing should also receive the injection instead of the nasal mist.

Your doctor will likely advise you to get the injection instead of the spray if you:

  • Have a suppressed immune system
  • Have received any other vaccines in the past month
  • Are pregnant
  • Are aged 50 or older
  • Have a chronic medical condition
  • Frequently come into contact with people with weakened immune systems

The doctors and nurses at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are your partners in health. We always welcome questions from our patients in Las Vegas about vaccinations, because preventive care matters to us. For general healthcare information, or to request a physician referral, call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300.

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