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One Bay Area Hospital is preparing for a surge in heart attacks due to electoral tension



San Jose’s Regional Medical Center called in more staff on Tuesday to handle what doctors believe could increase patients with a range of heart problems caused by election day stress by 15% .

“These types of stress cause an increase in well-documented cardiovascular events,” said Dr. Paul Silka, emergency room director at the San Jose Regional Medical Center.

The 45-bed emergency room usually examines 185 patients a day. Because of the election, Silka hopes that number goes to 210 patients or more.

Not all of them will have a heart attack because of the vote. Some may experience fibrillation, a tachycardia or heart failure. Stroke is also a possibility.

“This election is likely to cause more reactions than the usual and conventional response to highly stressful events,” said Silka.

Medical research has demonstrated that events like elections, natural disasters and even major sporting events like the Super Bowl cause an increase in heart patients, Silka said.

Silka said an additional doctor, two additional nurses and three additional staff would be on duty at the Regional Medical Center’s emergency room while the ballots were being counted.

In a memo sent to staff about the “high stress environment caused by elections”, the hospital administrators asked everyone to stand and stand.

“We know (stress) can lead to acute illness, especially cardiovascular events,” the memo says. “We have also prepared for increased trauma in the event that civil unrest is triggered.”

Other strategies also worked, Silka advised voters tense.

“Take a deep breath,” said the doctor. “Concentrate. Don’t watch TV”.

Steve Rubenstein is a chronicle writer from San Francisco. Email: srubenstein@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @SteveRubeSF




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