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Sparks Health System is continuing to put the care of its community first, more than 130 years after becoming Arkansas’s first hospital.

Using funds donated by area merchants, the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church established the hospital in 1887 to care for a stranger injured in a railroad accident. This compassion is still a foundation for physicians and associates at Sparks Regional Medical Center today.

From humble beginnings in a three-room rented building at North Fourth and G Streets in Fort Smith, to the 492-bed state-of-the-art medical center now located on Towson Avenue, Sparks Health System is dedicated to evolving to meet the ever-changing health care needs of the Arkansas River Valley region.

One of those needs is heart and stroke care. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in Arkansas, according to the department of health.

Sparks added two more interventional cardiologists to its team and broke ground on a 1,600-square-foot expansion to its cardiac catheterization laboratory in 2017. The lab took its first patient in 2018 and Sparks continues to thrive as an accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology.

Sparks is also recognized as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and is continually recognized year after year with Gold Plus seal from the American Heart and Stroke Associations for Stroke Performance Achievement. As a Primary Stroke Center, Sparks provides advanced imaging technology and protocols, 24/7 stroke team access and seamless integration with emergency department staff and emergency medical technicians in the field to treat stroke patients fast and effectively.

Another growing need in Fort Smith is orthopedic care. In 2017, Sparks Clinic Orthopedics opened with the addition of five physicians — Drs. Jeffrey K. Evans, MD, John H. Harp, MD, Eric Heim, MD, Stephen A. Heim, MD, and Michael Wolfe, MD. These well-known local physicians are helping residents get back to enjoying more of the city’s scenic trails and thriving shops without joint pain.

Many of these physicians provide minimally invasive surgical solutions for patients suffering from achy knees, hips, backs and shoulders at the Sparks Orthopedic and Spine Center inside the hospital.

Sparks Health System includes Sparks Regional Medical Center, Sparks Medical Center – Van Buren, Sparks Clinic, Sparks PremierCare and the fully hospital-integrated Marvin Altman Fitness Center, as well as Sparks Clinics in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

For more information on physicians and services provided at Sparks, visit SparksPhysicians.com or call 479-709-DOCS.