For Immediate Release: May 1, 2012
Contact: Betsy Donnelly 913.236.7757

Pictured Above
The Swedish Stroke Team
Front row: (left to right) Katie Leonard, NP; Stacy Shine, NP;
Michelle Whaley, CNS; Rod Spencer, MD; Ira Chang MD;
Chris Fanale MD. Back row: Becky Urquhart, PA;
Marc Wasserman, MD; Bob Pratt, MD; Judd Jensen MD;
Jeff Wagner, MD


HealthONE Stroke Care Debuts Online Stroke Assessment During National Stroke Awareness Month

Denver Residents Urged to Be Aware of Signs and Symptoms  

(Denver, CO) Nearly 800,000 Americans will suffer a stroke this year, yet most people in the U.S. cannot identify stroke warning signs or risk factors. HealthONE Stroke Care hopes to change that during May's National Stroke Awareness Month with the introduction of its new Stroke Risk Profiler, an online assessment tool for adults of all ages.

Denver-area residents looking for more information about their risk of stroke, as well as what to look for, can visit: to take the short assessment. There, individuals can learn about the impact of strokes, explore their personal risk factors and learn how to mitigate the risks. Many strokes—some studies indicate that up to 80 percent—can be prevented through risk factor management, says Dr. Chris Fanale, HealthONE Stroke and CO-DOC Medical Director. Unfortunately, public awareness of stroke warning signs and risk factors continues to lag behind, but May is a time to change this startling statistic, he says.

"A stroke is an emergency! It's important to learn stroke warning signs and how to respond to them," Dr. Fanale says. "Emergency treatment may be available by acting FAST and calling 9-1-1."

HealthONE is asking all Denver residents to remember the FAST test as a method of recognizing warning signs:

F – Face: Ask the person to smile, does one side of the face drooping down?
A – Arm: Can the person raise both arms?
S – Speech: Is speech slurred or confusing? Is the person able to speak?
T – Time: Time is critical. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Every second counts in minimizing the damage a stroke can cause to the brain—quick assessment and personalized care are key, says Dr. Fanale. In fact, HealthOne recently introduced new technology that offers remote stroke care. Its InTouch Health Remote Presence® telemedicine technology includes a camera and microphone for live two-way audio and video, and a computer, on a sleek, wheeled cart that is placed in an ER room. A CO-DOC/HealthONE Stroke Care specialist can connect a computer and joystick to the Remote Presence® unit via the Internet, and appear instantly on screen at the bedside of patients, much like video conferencing, interacting with family members and clinical staff in the room. The stroke specialist can control and zoom the camera to get closer to the patient, while accessing remote medical devices like electronic stethoscopes, otoscopes and monitoring.

Dr. Fanale reminds Denver residents that stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people aged 65 years or older. However, the CDC reports that strokes are hitting younger individuals too, raising concerns about an entirely new group of the U.S. population. The chances of having a stroke double each decade after the age of 55. Nearly 25 percent of strokes occur in people younger than age 65. For decades, the southeastern United States has had the highest stroke mortality rates in the country, although it’s not completely clear what factors contribute to the higher incidence of and mortality from stroke in this region. People with a family history of stroke are more likely to have a stroke, and by 2030, it is estimated that 4 million people will have had a stroke. This is nearly 25 percent higher than 2010 estimates.

"Immediate medical care of stroke can mean the difference between life and death," Dr. Fanale says. "During a stroke, an estimated 30,000 brain cells die per second; a patient's outcomes and recovery are far better the quicker you can evaluate and treat the stroke."

HealthONE is the largest health care system in the metro Denver area with more than 9,000 employees and 3,000 affiliated physicians. HealthONE hospitals have a long and trusted legacy going back more than 130 years with St. Luke’s, more than 85 years with Presbyterian Denver, more than 105 years with Swedish and more than 60 years with Rose. The current health system was created in 1995 as a Colorado company and a joint venture between The Colorado Health Foundation and various affiliates of HCA. The Foundation grew to the second largest charitable foundation in the state and in October 2011 sold its share in HealthONE to HCA (NYSE: HCA).

HealthONE includes: The Medical Center of Aurora and Centennial Medical Plaza; North Suburban Medical Center and the NorthEast ER (opening April 2012); Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center & Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children; Rose Medical Center; Sky Ridge Medical Center; Swedish Medical Center and Swedish Southwest ER; Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital; 14 stand-alone ambulatory surgery centers; 8 occupational medicine & rehabilitation clinics; dozens of specialty clinics; two radiation oncology centers; and AIRLIFE-Denver, which provides critical care air and ground transportation across a 10-state region.