April 30, 2013

Heart Shaped Pillows for Heart Patients

A volunteer member of the Valley Regional Medical Center Auxiliary makes heart-shaped pillows for our patients undergoing cardiac bypass surgery. Mrs. Dominga Tamayo, a volunteer for the past 5 years, has been cutting, sewing, and stuffing heart shaped pillows for over 2 years. She assumed the heart pillow project when a prior auxiliary member moved out of state.

Heart patients hold the pillow against the sternum while moving or coughing in bed, or even while walking, after surgery. And since patients must be deliberately encouraged to cough in order to clear their lungs of acquired fluids to prevent pneumonia, pillows become an essential part of their recuperative care. "By patients' holding the pillows against their chests, post-operatively, it helps the patient cough and move with the pillow acting as an extra support for the incision area,” says Maureen Rattray, Director of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). They later can be placed under a car's chest seat belt when riding home, to both protect and to defend from the often painful pressure of the chest strap of the seat belt upon a chest wall.

"These colorful heart-shaped pillows are a part of the recovery process for patients who have open-heart surgery," adds, Rattray. “While in the hospital and for a couple of weeks to months after surgery, your heart pillow will be your best friend.”

This project has been active at Valley Regional Medical Center since the early 1980's with over 12,000 pillows being provided to our patients. We are very grateful to Ms. Tamayo for all of the love and effort she puts into making these colorful heart -shaped pillows.

According to the American Heart Association, the signs and symptoms of a heart attack include;

  • Discomfort in the chest such as pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that comes and goes
  • Shortness of breath along with or before chest discomfort
  • Pain in the upper body in one or both of shoulders and arms, or in the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Sweating, lightheadness, and nausea

Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number.

When minutes matter, you can count on Valley Regional Medical Center to take care of your cardiac care.


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