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'Heart & Vascular Institute' posts

Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Patient Featured in Fortune Magazine Article on Robotic-Assisted Surgery

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SEATTLE, Jan. 22, 2013 - Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute cardiothoracic surgeon Eric Lehr, M.D., and one of his patients were interviewed for an article on robotic-assisted surgery that appears in the Feb. 11 issue of Fortune magazine.

Patients who inspire

We are living and working in a dynamic time for healthcare. New and exciting therapies are being developed and technology allows us to successfully, safely and effectively treat patients who previously would have died. However, we also face many challenges – such as a significant number of our patients who remain uninsured or underinsured.

And yet, there are a lot of things about the delivery of healthcare that separate it from being just a job, a source of income or a place to which to go every day. We assist, treat and care for patients and often times, become inspired by the people with whom we have regular contact. The sources of that inspiration are many and often include colleagues, ancillary staff and our patients.

The source of inspiration can be subtle and come unexpectedly. Such an instance happened to me just last week. I was asked to see a gentleman to evaluate an arteriovenous fistula (AV fistula) on his left arm which he uses four or five times a week for hemodialysis.

For those who don’t know, kidney failure is a very difficult problem to manage. When one gets to end stage kidney failure, dialysis treatment is necessary to stay alive.. One of the more common forms of access to the bloodstream for hemodialysis is to surgically connect a patient’s artery to a vein. This connection is usually done in the arm, and, when it functions properly, provides a high flow, superficial access site for fairly large needles which allow for blood to be taken out of the body and then, once cleansed, returned safely back into the body.

As I frequently try to do, I scanned the patient’s problem list in his electronic medical record so I would have at least some idea about his overall medical condition before the appointment. With a mental picture of a chronically ill and obese patient in mind, I entered the exam room to find a very fit looking gentleman waiting for me. I thought I had the wrong room...

Swedish Foundation Raises $100 Million to Help Meet Increasing Demand for Regional Health-Care Services

SEATTLE, Oct. 26, 2012 – Swedish Medical Center's seven-year fund-raising initiative, called The Campaign for Swedish, has raised $103 million, exceeding its initial $100 million fund-raising goal in approximately five-and-a-half years. The Campaign, launched to help improve patient care and treatment options throughout the Swedish system, is the largest fund-raising effort undertaken by the private, non-profit health system to date.

Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute Begins Offering a New, Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement Procedure

SEATTLE, Sept. 11, 2012 - For patients too sick to undergo open-heart surgery, a new, FDA-approved, minimally invasive aortic valve replacement procedure - now being performed by Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute (SHVI) providers - is offering new hope to patients whose life-threatening heart condition was previously inoperable.

Dodging A Bullet (Spike's Ordeal)

This post is reposted with permission from Spike O’Neill – see his original post here.

Some of you may have heard of my recent health scare. For those of you who heard and sent along your well wishes, I thank you. For anyone who hasn't, please allow me to share a scary story of ignorance and arrogance that almost cost me big time.

About a month ago, I was carrying my 8 year old daughter on my shoulders. We were leaving a family outing and she was griping about being tired. I didn't have to carry her very far, but when I put her down I noticed a weird ache in my jaw and in both arms, as well as a dull thick ache and a kind of puffiness in my hands. It went away pretty quickly and I blew it off as a pinched nerve or something. But when I felt the same thing a week later after lifting a few boxes in my garage I was a bit more concerned.

I tried again to dismiss the incident, but I have to give it up for my family, who INSISTED that I go see my family doctor just to be sure. I saw my Doc, who had just given me a complete physical a couple months ago, He checked me over, gave me an EKG and suggested a stress test just to be sure. I figured what the hell? Better to be safe than sorry right?

I had no idea how good that advice really was.

I took my stress test 4 days later at Swedish Hospital's Cherry Hill facility. A stress test is just you on a treadmill, wired to a bunch of stuff that measures heart function, pulse and blood pressure. Well, the normal EKG they gave me before the test started went completely sideways a few minutes later when they fired up the speed and incline of the treadmill. That's when they brought in Dr. Peter Demopulos, cardiologist.

Dr. Demopulos said that...

Exercising in the heat

Even though regular exercise is important for cardiovascular health, exercising in hot weather can lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. These conditions result from the production of excess body heat, overwhelming the body’s capacity for heat release and raising the core body temperature.

What you should know:

The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • heavy sweating
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • pale and clammy skin
  • thirst
  • increased heart rate
  • dizziness or fainting
  • nausea and vomiting
  • muscle and abdominal cramps
  • elevated temperature.

What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke occurs when the core body temperature exceeds 104 degrees F, accompanied by seizure or coma. The primary cause of heat exhaustion and stroke is dehydration with inadequate fluid and electrolyte repletion. Those with the following risk factors are particularly prone to heat exhaustion and stroke: extreme young or old, pregnancy, chronic illness (in particular cardiac or respiratory diseases), alcohol consumption, extreme physical exertion, and certain medications.

So how do I exercise in the heat?

Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute Electrophysiologist Interviewed for KING 5 TV Story on LifeVest

SEATTLE, March 30, 2012 - Seattle NBC affiliate KING Television (Channel 5) aired a story during their 5 p.m. PT newscast tonight about a relatively new, FDA-approved medical device called LifeVest ®. The wearable defibrillator is a treatment option for sudden cardiac arrest that offers patients advanced protection and monitoring as well as improved quality of life.

LifeVest is the first wearable defibrillator. Unlike an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), the LifeVest is worn outside the body rather than implanted in the chest. This device continuously monitors the patient's heart with dry, non-adhesive sensing electrodes to detect life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms. If a life-threatening rhythm is detected, the device alerts the patient prior to delivering a treatment shock, and thus allows a conscious patient to delay the treatment shock. If the patient becomes unconscious, the device releases a Blue™ gel over the therapy electrodes and delivers an electrical shock to restore normal rhythm.

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