December 2013
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December 2013 posts

Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute Earns Highest National Ranking

Three-star rating awarded for exceptional cardiac surgery by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            

Media Contacts

Clay Holtzman, 206-386-2748, clay.holtzman@swedish.org

SEATTLE — Dec. 17, 2013 — Swedish announced today that its Cardiac Surgery Program has been awarded a “three-star” rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). A longstanding surgical leader in the Pacific Northwest, Swedish earned the top honor in coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), aortic valve replacement surgery (AVR), as well as simultaneous surgery involving both procedures (AVR/CABG). 

Swedish is among only 23 hospitals (or the top 2 percent of hospitals) across the country to achieve these quality metrics. Results are based on clinical outcomes of nearly 1,000 cardiac surgery programs, representing approximately 90 percent of all cardiac surgery centers in the United States.

“We are pleased to receive the STS three-star ratings for our CABG, AVR and AVR/CABG programs. This places Swedish in the top two percent of cardiac surgery programs in the U.S.,” says Glenn R. Barnhart, M.D., chief and executive director for Cardiac Surgical Services at the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute. “The STS’s comprehensive rating system allows individuals and medical practices to compare the quality of cardiac surgery at hospitals across the country. Most importantly, it allows centers to objectively evaluate how they can improve patient care in the future. Our entire team of cardiologists, cardiac anesthesiologists, physician assistants, intensive care nurses and physician specialists, and operating room staff has earned this achievement.”

Hearing loss and holiday gatherings

Holidays are known for gathering with friends and family to celebrate the season and the passing of another year.  For those with hearing loss, these gatherings can be more stressful than enjoyable. Small groups of people around the room all talking at once about how best to serve the cranberries or the beautiful lights that are decorating homes in the neighborhood can be difficult to hear even with a mild hearing loss.  Working to understand what is being said takes a lot of energy and focus and can result in the feeling of isolation, tiredness and depression.

There are things you can do to help improve your communication during these otherwise festive times.  No matter your hearing abilities, good communication strategies are always helpful when you are talking to others while cooking in a busy kitchen, gathered around the warm fireplace or sitting across the dinner table.  The Better Hearing Institute has some great suggestions to share with your loved ones.

Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may benefit from the use of hearing aids or even a cochlear implant.  Many people think that hearing aids are only for the elderly and cochlear implants are only for young children.  This is not the case.  Your hearing loss and speech understanding abilities determines what technology is right for you with no regard to your age.  [Finally!  Something doesn’t care how old I am!!] There are ...

9 tips for avoiding holiday weight gain

Amongst the cheer and merriment, parties and soirées, often come unwanted extra pounds that sneak their way around our waistlines. The span between Thanksgiving and New Years are filled with traditions and an extra average weight gain of 1-2 pounds. It may not sound like much, but consider over the course of a decade that can lead to an extra 10-20 pounds.  That extra luggage then leads to another tradition - the New Year’s resolution to lose weight!

Stop the insanity and start eating smart. Simple lifestyle changes will put an end to the cycle of overindulging, weight gain, and feeling miserable once the season is over. It is said the best offense is a good defense. By practicing these time-honored tips, you’ll likely feel fulfillment without getting overfilled.

1. Plan ahead.

If you know the party you are headed to will lack healthy options (hello, cookie exchange!) have a low-calorie, high protein snack prior to attending a party. This will keep your appetite in check and you will be less likely to arrive ravenous and overeat.  Hummus with vegetables, whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese, a piece of fruit with natural peanut butter, or Greek Yogurt with high fiber cereal are a few great choices to tide you over. Pair foods that are high in protein and rich in fiber to keep you satiated longer. At the party, keep to light appetizers.

2. Host a healthy holiday.

Control the nutritional content of the meal by throwing the party yourself. Plan the dinner menu with lean meats and seafood, fresh vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, beans, and low-fat dairy. Use the opportunity to try healthy recipes from sites such as www.cooklinglight.com and www.eatingright.com (Ed. Note – check out our healthy recipe collection here or on Pinterest.) In lieu of a potluck, have party guests bring non-perishable foods to donate to the food bank.

3. Lighten up your menu.

Revamp your recipes by ...

How to give safe gifts to children during the holidays

As the holidays approach, parents often wonder what toys are safe for their little ones.  When making your list and checking it twice, here are some tips to ensure that toys are appropriate for the age and developmental stage of your giftees.

For younger children/infants:

  • Make sure all parts are larger than the child’s mouth.  Most children age 3 and under consistently put toys in their mouth, and some older children do as well.  A small-parts tester, or “no-choke tube” is about the size of a small child’s airway and can be purchased to test parts if you are unsure.  If a part or toy fits inside the tube, it’s too small to be safe.
  • When buying stuffed toys, look for embroidered or secured parts rather than pieces (such as eyes or noses) that could be removed and swallowed.  Remove all loose strings and ribbons.  Avoid animals with stuffing made of small pellets or material that could cause choking. Be aware that stuffed toys given away at carnivals, fairs, or in vending machines are not required to meet safety standards, so be especially careful with these!
  • When buying hanging toys for cribs, ensure that the child cannot grab any portion, and that strings or wires are short.  These types of toys should be removed when the infant can push up onto his or her hands and knees.
  • Keep plush toys and loose, soft bedding out of the cribs of infants and young children as these can cause suffocation.

For all children:

  • Look for labeling on the package that indicates what ages the toy is appropriate for.  Remember that this doesn’t have to do with how smart your child is, it is based on physical and developmental skills for his or her age group and should be followed.
  • Ensure that batteries are  ....

Taking the Mystery Out of Robotic Surgery

Robots? Surgery?
 
The da Vinci® Surgical System is not an R2-D2™ or C-3PO™ robot. It is technology that helps surgeons perform delicate operations. Robotic surgery got its name because the surgeon does not directly hold the surgical instruments.
 
Robotic surgery is minimally invasive. It allows a surgeon to operate through several tiny incisions, rather than one large incision.
 
“Robotic surgery instruments are flexible. They mimic the surgeon’s hands and wrists,” says ...

Swedish, Project Access Northwest collaboration featured on New Day Northwest

King 5’s New Day Northwest program yesterday profiled the collaboration between the Swedish Orthopedic Institute, Project Access Northwest and others to support the nationwide campaign Operation Walk.

Operation Walk provides uninsured or underinsured patients with access to free, life-changing orthopedic surgeries such as hip and knee replacements. The Operation Walk collaboration was the first of its kind in Seattle and provided services for 11 patients last week.

In the program, Swedish Orthopedic Institute Medical Director Dr. James Crutcher, and Project Access Northwest Executive Director Sallie Neillie, discuss the collaboration, surgical details and how much patients have benefited from their surgeries.

The segment also featured a health panel featuring Dr. Crutcher that took audience questions. You can view the panel video here.

Swedish and Project Access Northwest would like to thank Orthopedic Physician Associates, Physicians Anesthesia Services, Proliance Surgeons and everyone else who played a critical role in helping make this collaboration possible.

Nicotine addiction and quitting smoking

The presence of tobacco dates back at least 8,000 years in the world’s history.  Throughout time, this plant was central to religious ceremonies, thought to have healing powers, delivered as gifts, traded for goods, and smoked by many.  As early as the mid 1700s tobacco was formally manufactured and distributed in the form of cigarettes.  Interestingly doctors were featured in promotional cigarette ads in the 1930s.  However, the ill effects of tobacco were identified long before this and Massachusetts state law banned smoking in public in 1632.

Nicotine is a stimulant and a very addictive substance contained in tobacco.  It is extremely easy to become addicted to nicotine.  With repeated exposure to the chemical, the brain’s nicotinic receptors crave more and drive the need to smoke at higher levels.  Nicotine is well known for its pleasurable physiological and psychological side effects.  These pleasurable side effects result in addiction to the substance and make it difficult to quit smoking, even when an individual is highly motivated to stop.  Tobacco companies have complicated this addiction by adding numerous other addictive chemicals that strengthen the difficulty in quitting, making cigarettes the most common form of chemical dependency in this country.

Use of cigarettes in the United States (U.S.) has dropped considerably since an all-time consumption high of 640 billion cigarettes in 1981.  Currently the U.S. consumption is about half that volume but smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illnesses and death in this country; attributing....

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