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National Heart Month event Feb. 20 at Salem Health CHEC (Photo) - 02/17/17

If you've ever raced up a flight of stairs or chased a tennis ball, you know what a racing heart feels like. For 2.6 million Americans, this feeling is a way of life. Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is the fastest-growing heart disease in our community, according to Salem Health Cardiology Services. That's the bad news. The good news? Local cardiologists are ready to treat this disease with the latest technology and expertise right here in Salem.

Salem Health Cardiology Services Director Brandon Schmidgall says thanks to a large donation by the Salem Health Foundation and collaboration with independent cardiologists, Salem Health has added the latest heart monitoring and treatment equipment, will soon add another surgery suite -- and more cardiologists to keep up with demand.

To learn more about how Salem Health is leading the way with A-fib treatment, attend I Got Rhythm, a presentation by Oregon Heart Center cardiologist Matthew Fedor, MD, on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Salem Health CHEC, 939 Oak St. SE. The free event starts at 4 p.m. and is open to all in recognition of National Heart Month -- and will include booths and displays, wellness information and a heart-healthy cooking demonstration. Register to attend by calling the CHEC at 503-814-2432.

The first option to curb A-fib is usually medication to control heart rate and/or rhythm. If that fails, a non-invasive procedure called an "ablation" is done by an electrophysiologist (a physician who specializes in these procedures) in a catheterization lab. Using a guided catheter, physicians destroy (ablate) the tissue that causes irregular rhythm, thus restoring the heart to a normal rhythm.

"A-fib treatment is among the most technically advanced and complicated procedures we perform in the cath lab," Schmidgall said, noting that physicians are precisely guided to the "misfiring" heart tissue sites by a digital map, where they can "burn" (with radio-frequency) or "freeze" tissue (with cryoablation), often a combination of both.

"If you have a procedure here, about 10 experts surround you, including two MDs, even reps from our equipment vendors," said Valli Brunken, Salem Health cath lab manager. She noted that technologists have on average 10 to 20 years' experience. "Rather than compete with each other, providers collaborate for the best outcomes, which results in the best care. You won't be in better hands."

Salem Health took a rare glimpse into A-fib from a personal point of view. Read the story of three staff members written by "survivor" Shannon Priem on Salem Health's Facebook page.

Salem Health -- an OHSU Partner -- offers exceptional care to people in and around Oregon's mid-Willamette Valley. It is comprised of hospitals in Salem and Dallas, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers, plus other affiliated services. Visit us at; "Like" us on; follow us on Twitter: @salemhealth; and view us at

Attached Media Files: Matthew_Fedor_MD.jpg
Salem Health West Valley Foundation announces scholarships - 02/16/17

NOTE TO EDITORS: The correct email address for submitting scholarship applications is The news release sent on Jan. 30 included an incorrect email address. Please repost with the updated email address. Thank you for your assistance.

The Salem Health West Valley Foundation announces that beginning Feb. 1, scholarship applications are available for students in medically-related fields of study. Applicants must have a permanent residence in Polk County or be a current employee or family member of a current employee at Salem Health West Valley -- and must have applied to a college in their field of study before applying for this scholarship.

To receive a scholarship application packet, please visit and click on the "Salem Health West Valley Foundation scholarship" link.

Completed applications packets must be received in the Salem Health West Valley administrative office (525 SE Washington St., Dallas) by 4 p.m. on March 24, or post-marked by March 22. Applications may also be emailed to Late applications will not be accepted.

Final selections will be announced by May 2. If you have questions, please contact the Salem Health West Valley Foundation office at 503-831-3456.

The Salem Health West Valley Foundation is committed to raising, managing and distributing funds to help the hospital achieve its mission of improving the health and well-being of the people and community it serves.

Free series open to cancer survivors - 01/23/17

The Salem Health Cancer Institute and NorthWest Senior & Disability Services will offer a free series to help cancer survivors lead active and fulfilling lives, starting Feb. 1.

Thriving and Surviving Cancer, a six-week course developed at Stanford University, is open to anyone with a cancer diagnosis who has completed their first series of treatments. Classes are led by two experts; one of whom is either a cancer survivor, or has been a caregiver of a survivor.

Leaders are NWSDS's health educator Lavinia Goto, RN, and dietitian Roberta Lippert.

Participants receive the book Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Conditions, 4th Edition, and the relaxation CD Relaxation for Mind and Body. Classes are highly participative, where mutual support builds confidence in living a healthier life.

The series does not conflict with existing programs or treatments. It enhances regular treatment because participants develop skills to manage their health.

WHEN: Wednesdays, Feb. 1 through March 8, from 5:15 to 7:45 p.m., including a light meal.

WHERE: Salem Health, Building A, 939 Oak St. SE, 7th floor conference room. Park in visitor structure.

* Make decisions about treatment and complementary therapies
* Exercise appropriately to regain and maintain endurance and flexibility
* Handle frustration, fatigue, pain, isolation, poor sleep and living with uncertainty
* Communicate well with family, friends and health professionals
* Eat for nutrition
* Set priorities and foster supportive relationships

Space is limited; call Elaine to register at 503-967-1834 or email

NorthWest Senior & Disability Services is a local intergovernmental agency serving seniors and people with disabilities in Clatsop, Marion, Polk, Tillamook, and Yamhill Counties. Contact them at 1-866-206-4799 or

Salem Health -- an OHSU Partner -- serves Oregon's mid-Willamette Valley. It includes hospitals in Salem and Dallas, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers, plus other affiliated services. Visit; "Like" us on; follow us on Twitter: @salemhealth; and view us at