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Swedish MS Center design recognized

James D. Bowen, MD

Less than two years old, the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center has already received an overwhelming amount of praise from patients and physicians alike for its holistic approach to world class care.

Now we can add one more accolade to the list.

Healthcare Design magazine recently recognized the MS Center’s patient and family waiting area as a finalist in the Family Spaces category of its Healthcare Design Remodel Renovation Competition.The entire piece beautifully encapsulates the approach, design and ultimately the quality of care that the MS Center strives to deliver. Here is an excerpt of one of the judge’s comments:

“The entire design is a phenomenal reflection of a deep understanding of the unique needs of patients with multiple sclerosis. It is apparent the design team did their research, listened to the voice of the patient and caregivers, and integrated evidence-based design principles….”

That’s high praise, and it is rewarding to know that the attention we paid to every detail — from furniture and flooring to treatment and waiting areas — was noticed. But it is even more rewarding to know that the center has become an incredible resource in treating those diagnosed with MS, a degenerative disease that strikes the central nervous system.

Updates on LINX - GERD reflux management system

Brian E. Louie, MD

Brian E. Louie, MD
Director of Thoracic Research and Education

Since my initial LINX blog post 20 months ago, we have been engaged in a dialogue with patients from around the world who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.  Despite my initial trepidation to “blogging”, this has been a rewarding experience to hear about patient’s problems, their concerns about the current treatments (PPI’s and Nissen fundoplication) and simply interacting with them.  I thank the patients who have taken time to share their thoughts on the blog.

 

When our social media manager asked me to provide an update on LINX, I realized that I have been simply responding to patient’s questions and I haven’t posted any of my thoughts or updates on what is happening with the LINX device.

There are some exciting developments for patients who are interesting in having a LINX implanted.

 
Use of MRI and LINX
  • Torax, the company who designed and manufactures the LINX device, has received FDA support for the use of MRI with the LINX device.  This conditional approval allows for patients to undergo and MRI that is 0.7 Tesla or less.   I am trying to clarify with our radiologists what a 0.7 Tesla MRI will cover.
Medicare coverage
 
  • For medicare patients, LINX now has a dedicated procedure code that allows for payment to cover the cost of the hospital portion of implanting the LINX device.  The surgeon’s fee is a separate code and fee and is usually covered.
Insurance update
 
  • For patients with non-medicare insurance, the ...

Jaundice in newborn babies

Deborah Worthington, RN, CPN

Deborah Worthington, RN, CPN
Registered Nurse, Swedish Pediatric Specialty Care

As a new parent, you’re understandably eager and excited to leave the hospital and settle into your new routine with your baby. Sometimes, that routine is delayed due to the baby’s blood test confirming hyperbilirubinemia, also known as jaundice.

Jaundice in newborns is caused by an excess of red blood cells. Jaundice is seen as a yellow color to the skin, appearing first at the head (skin and sclera – or “whites of the eyes”) then progressing to the feet. As it decreases, it lessens in reverse. Before birth, the placenta removes bilirubin from the baby’s system; after birth, the baby’s liver takes over. In breast-fed babies, an imbalance between mother’s milk supply and baby’s feeding can lead to a higher-than-expected bili level. In addition to ensuring the baby is feeding well and having enough wet/stool diapers, phototherapy or “bili lights” may be needed. Bili lights help speed up the process by breaking down the bilirubin in the skin.

For phototherapy, your baby will be ...

Easy tips to change the way we eat

Brett Daniel, MD

Brett Daniel, MD
Family Physician, Swedish/Ballard

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight and obese. With this trend, diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gout, arthritis and sleep apnea have become commonplace with my patients.

While there are key steps that we can all take to be healthier – don’t use tobacco, limit or abstain from alcohol, make exercise a part of our daily routine – I want to focus on a few simple ways to change the way we eat.

I think Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and other books on food, said it best: “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

So how can you get started and make it permanent?

1. Eat real food
Foods that can sit on a shelf for years are usually loaded with salt, genetically modified ingredients, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives. This is not the food our body was meant to eat.  Instead ....

Cyberknife for spine patients

Rod Oskouian, MD

Rod Oskouian, MD
Neurosurgeon

Cyberknife is a type of radiosurgery used to deliver radiation to a specific part of the body.  This high-energy x-ray system utilizes a robotic arm to deliver focused beam radiation.  While the focused radiation can destroy tumor cells and halt tumor growth, the surrounding tissues have minimal exposure to the radiation, thus sparing them from damage.

When is it used?

CyberKnife is useful for both cancerous and noncancerous tumors.  While it has been used to treat tumors of the head, neck, breast, lung, pancreas, kidney, liver, and prostate, it can be extremely effective for the treatment of  spinal tumors.  

How does CyberKnife work?

Patients who undergo CyberKnife have a specialized treatment plan created for them by their neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, and a medical physicist.  These personalized plans take into account the specific location of the tumor in the body, including the tumor type, shape, size, surrounding tissues and organs (to minimize radiation exposure) and the exact quantity of radiation the tumor cells are receiving,

Why not just have surgery?

Any ....

Information on multiple sclerosis and flu

James D. Bowen, MD
Now that flu season is upon us, we are getting a lot of questions about the relationship between MS and infections, including influenza. MS does not impair the ability to fight off infections. Likewise, most of the treatments for MS do not impair the ability to fight infections, though there are a few exceptions to this. Most people with MS will therefore not be at any higher risk of colds or flu than the general population. However, infections may affect the MS. People with MS have an increased risk of having an MS attack at the time of infections, including colds, flu, pneumonia, bladder infections, etc. Some have estimated that about 1 out of 10 infections will be accompanied by an MS attack. Likewise, for every MS attack about 1 in 10 will be preceded by an infection. This means that about 90% of MS attacks occur in the absence of an infection.
 
Another important question is the role of vaccination in MS. In general, vaccinations do not seem to cause MS attacks. Because the vaccinations do not usually cause MS attacks, but the flu can cause an MS attack about 1 in 10 times, most neurologists recommend that MS patients receive the influenza vaccine. It is ...

Why pregnant women should receive flu vaccine and pertussis booster

Kelley A. Hanrahan
Why do we recommend that pregnant women receive both the flu vaccine and the pertussis booster during pregnancy? Here are a few reasons:
 
The influenza virus, better known as the flu, has been proven over and over to have the potential to cause serious disease in pregnancy.  That includes an increased risk that when pregnant women “catch” the flu, they may require admission to the intensive care unit, require a ventilator and, less commonly, even death.  It’s serious.   Babies of women who are infected with the flu during pregnancy are more likely to be born prematurely and are at increased risk for stillbirth.

We recommend the flu vaccine at any point in pregnancy and offer the single dose, preservative free vaccine in our office to all pregnant women (with the exception of those who have a medical reason not to get it.)  A common misconception is that the vaccine causes the flu - it does not.  Another misconception is that it is not safe for the developing baby to be exposed to the vaccine itself or the immune response it generates.  There is no evidence to support this fear in almost 50 years of administrating this vaccine and close follow up of those receiving it.

We recommend the flu shot, which is an inactivated virus. The Flumist is a live attenuated virus that is not recommended in pregnancy.

Your family members should also receive the vaccine as they can pass the flu on to a newborn who has not yet gotten the vaccine.  Babies can suffer severe complications if they are infected with the virus before they can receive the vaccine.
 
The other vaccine we recommend during pregnancy is the Tdap booster.  The benefit of the pertussis booster outweighs any perceived risk.  Pertussis, or the whooping cough, is at epidemic levels especially on the west coast including Washington State.  That may be  ...
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