BODY WORLDS specimens on display at Sacred Heart during Stroke Awareness Month

​May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in Oregon and causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. On average, someone suffers a stroke in the U.S. every 40 seconds.


Most often, stroke occurs when a blood clot stops blood flow to the brain. The brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting the oxygen and nutrients they need. As part of its community outreach during Stroke Month, Sacred Heart Medical Center is displaying 10 specimens of the heart and brain from the touring BODY WORLDS exhibit.

“We hope this display will help our community understand more about the inner-workings of the heart and the brain, and what happens when someone has a stroke,” explained Dr. Raymond Englander, medical director of Sacred Heart’s Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

The team at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend treated 630 stroke patients last year, more than any other hospital in the state of Oregon.


“We feel fortunate that our team has the training, expertise and technology to take care of stroke patients right here at Sacred Heart Medical Center, close to their homes and their support system,” said Linda Brown, executive director of the Oregon Neurosciences Institute at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.


The ten items on display are real human specimens donated by people who bequeathed their bodies for educational purposes to the Institute for Plastination in Germany. Plastination is a unique process invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens to maintain specimens for medical education. The process replaces bodily fluids and soluble fat with plastics.

“As a physician, it’s exciting to share this type of educational display about the heart and brain with our community during Stroke Month,” said Dr. Englander. “It’s also a good time to remind people to call 911 and get to the hospital as quickly as possible if they suspect they may be having a stroke. With a stroke, time lost is brain lost,” he said.


The BODY WORLDS display at Sacred Heart is free and open to the public from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends, May 1-31, inside the health library on the first floor at Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute at RiverBend, 3311 RiverBend Drive, in Springfield.

On-site parking is available in the hospital’s south parking lot near Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute; visitors may also choose to use Lane Transit District’s EmX bus service, which has a convenient bus stop located outside Sacred Heart at RiverBend.

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​Ten specimens of the heart and brain will be on display May 1-31.