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    Understanding Angina: Causes and Symptoms

    Last updated 19 hours ago

    Angina refers to the chest pain you experience if your heart does not receive enough blood. It isn’t a cardiovascular disease in and of itself, but rather is a symptom of another problem. Whenever you experience angina, it’s important to see your doctor right away to diagnose the underlying cause and get treatment.

    What Causes Angina?

    Most cases of angina are caused by coronary heart disease, the most common form of heart disease in the U.S. In people with coronary heart disease, plaque builds up inside of the coronary arteries, which are responsible for bringing oxygenated blood to the heart. This buildup causes the arteries to narrow, which can disrupt the flow of blood. Plaque also increases the risk of blood clots. If a clot forms, it can stop the flow of blood completely, causing a heart attack. Some cases of angina are caused by a condition called coronary microvascular disease. This disease impacts the tiny coronary arteries. With coronary microvascular disease, the walls of the tiny arteries are diseased or damaged, but plaque does not build up in these arteries as it does with the large arteries involved in coronary heart disease.

    What Are the Symptoms?

    The most common symptom of angina is pain in the chest. This pain may feel like pressure, burning, squeezing, or tightness. Angina pain usually starts around the breastbone but can radiate to the arms and shoulders. It is sometimes confused with indigestion. Some people experience nausea, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness along with pain. The exact pattern of symptoms depends on the type of angina. Stable angina is predictable and usually occurs after physical activity. Unstable angina is unpredictable and may occur when you’re at rest. Unstable angina pain lasts longer and is more likely to signal an impending heart attack.

    Seek emergency care at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center if you experience chest pain. Fast emergency care during a heart attack can save lives. To learn more about our West Hills hospital services, including cancer care, our Burn Center, spine care, and maternity care, call (818) 676-4000.

    A Look at the Care Team in the ER

    Last updated 7 days ago

    When you are in need of emergency care in West Hills, an entire team of medical professionals will help you get the right treatment for you. Who exactly will you encounter in the ER when you seek treatment? Here is a look at some of the people involved in your emergency care.

    Triage Nurse

    After an administrative staff member checks you in for emergency care, you will see a triage nurse. The triage nurse will ask you questions about your symptoms and will take your vital signs. The role of the triage nurse is to determine the severity of your condition so he or she can determine in what order patients should be seen. The ER prioritizes care for patients with life-threatening emergencies. For instance, if you go to the ER with chest pain, you will usually be seen quickly in case you’re having a heart attack, while if you go to the ER for a minor injury, you may wait a little longer for treatment.

    Primary Nurse

    In the emergency room, the primary nurse performs several duties. He or she performs a wide range of emergency tasks, including cleaning wounds and administering IVs, communicating with patients’ families, and making arrangements for patients to be admitted into other floors of the hospital as needed. Primary ER nurses have specialty training in emergency medicine services.


    After being evaluated by a nurse, you will see an emergency room physician. The physician may diagnose your condition and offer treatment or he or she may call in a specialty physician, depending on the nature of your emergency. The physician will also determine what steps to take next, such as admitting you to the hospital or referring you for follow-up care.

    West Hills Hospital & Medical Center provides emergency care 24 hours a day backed by the full scope of our hospital services. You can find out more about our emergency care and our West Hills hospital by calling (818) 676-4000. 

    Prenatal Health Tips for Women's Health Week

    Last updated 14 days ago

    Prenatal care is essential for the good health of mother and baby alike. In the maternity department of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center, we provide childbirth and baby care classes to help moms-to-be understand how to care for themselves and their growing babies. In honor of Women’s Health Week, which runs from May 10 to 16, here are some prenatal care tips to protect moms and babies.

    Establish Prenatal Care

    As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, it’s important to establish prenatal care with an obstetrician. The earlier you get prenatal care, the healthier your pregnancy will be. Your doctor will help you stay well throughout your pregnancy by tracking your baby’s development, your weight gain, and your overall health. The doctor will also screen you for complications that may need special treatment during your pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes.

    Take a Prenatal Vitamin

    Prenatal vitamins are designed to help pregnant mothers meet their unique nutritional needs. Look for a vitamin with 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid. Be sure to start these vitamins early in the pregnancy, as folic acid is essential for the early development of the baby. Take these vitamins throughout your pregnancy. Some women find that prenatal vitamins make them queasy, especially early in the pregnancy, so talk to your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.

    Avoid Smoking and Drinking

    Remember that when you’re pregnant, your baby is exposed to everything that goes into your body. Smoking and drinking can cause long-term complications for your baby. There is no safe amount of tobacco or alcohol for your baby, so avoid these substances completely. Talk to your doctor if you are struggling to quit.

    Choose the maternity team at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center for your growing family. We offer large birthing suites, postpartum care, and a NICU for emergencies. For a referral to one of our maternity physicians or answers to your questions about our other services, including emergency care, cancer care, and spine care, call (818) 676-4000. 

    Types of Rehabilitation to Aid in Stroke Recovery

    Last updated 21 days ago

    When a stroke occurs, emergency care focuses on restoring blood flow to the brain to prevent the loss of brain tissue. After this emergency care, the focus then turns to recovery. The road to recovery for stroke patients can be lengthy and involves many different kinds of rehabilitation. The exact nature of rehabilitation required depends on the nature of the brain injury caused by the stroke. Here is a look at some of the types of rehabilitative care that can be helpful after a stroke.

    Physical Therapy

    If a person’s mobility is impacted during a stroke, then physical therapy can help. Physical therapists can help treat motor and sensory impairments. After a stroke, patients usually avoid using the limbs that were injured. However, with physical therapy, patients work to use those limbs, which promotes brain plasticity and reduces the disability. In addition to helping people regain mobility, physical therapy can also help people with pain after a stroke.

    Occupational Therapy

    After a stroke, patients may have to relearn how to do everyday activities, including grooming and meal preparation. An occupational therapist helps patients regain these skills. They can also teach patients new ways to perform activities when the stroke has caused permanent damage. Occupational therapists may also help stroke survivors re-learn how to drive.

    Speech-Language Therapy

    Speech is often affected after a stroke. This is called aphasia. Speech-language pathologists help patients regain their language skill and develop new ways of communicating as needed. This kind of therapy involves conversational coaching, writing exercises, and practicing following directions.

    Emergency care at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is available around the clock for patients experiencing the symptoms of a stroke. Our neurology team and Center for Fitness and Rehabilitation are here to help stroke survivors regain their lives. Get more information about all of our hospital services, including maternity care, spine care, cancer care, and our burn center, by calling (818) 676-4000.  

    The Patient's Glossary to Common Heart Attack Terms

    Last updated 28 days ago

    Chest pain is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits in the U.S., and it is the most identifiable symptom associated with heart attacks. To better understand the care needed when a heart attack is suspected, take a look at the heart attack terms defined below. When you are familiar with this terminology, you may have a more complete understanding of the care you can expect for a heart attack at West Hills Hospital.


    Angina, more specifically angina pectoris, is a descriptive term for the chest pain that may be present when a heart attack occurs. There are many possible causes for angina, but angina pectoris is specific to restricted blood flow in the heart.


    There are different types of heart attacks, and the most serious is known as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI. When you explore cardiac care in your community, you may notice that hospital will advertise their STEMI time, which is the time it takes to reestablish blood flow from the time the patient arrives at the hospital. The national guideline for STEMI time is 90 minutes, though West Hills Hospital strives to keep our STEMI receiving times even lower for improved outcomes.


    A heart attack can occur as the result of untreated atherosclerosis, which is a condition that cases the artery walls to harden and lose elasticity. This results in restricted blood flow, which can deprive the heart of oxygen.


    Ischemia describes the loss of blood flow, and subsequent loss of oxygen, to an organ. The cause is usually constriction of the arteries or physical blockages such as blood clots or plaque along the artery walls.

    At West Hills Hospital, you can rest assured knowing that you will have access to complete cardiovascular care 24/7 at the Heart & Vascular Institute. We are an official STEMI Receiving Center and nationally-accredited Chest Pain Center, which means that we are fully equipped to handle cardiac emergencies at a moment’s notice. To learn more about our services or get a physician referral for your heart care, call us at (818) 676-4321. 

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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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