Category Archives: Heart & Vascular
Across the United States, the month of February is recognized as National Heart Month. It is a time when many organizations, including Southern Ohio Medical Center, seek to shine a spotlight on the keys to a healthy heart and why it’s so important.
Some factors that put you at risk are unavoidable. For example, you can’t help but grow older. There are, however, many changes you can implement today to improve your health.
If you smoke, quitting is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health as it has been closely linked to heart disease (and a host of other diseases). SOMC can even help you drop the habit through free smoking cessation classes.
Your blood pressure and cholesterol also play major factors in your heart’s health. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder than normal. Cholesterol, meanwhile, can clog your arteries and raise your risk of a heart attack. Adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity can control both of these factors.
While losing weight will help, it is healthier to lose it slowly. Crash diets, very-low calorie diets, cleansings and fasts have all been shown to weaken the immune system and damage heart muscles. This will actually increase the threat of developing heart disease.
Aside from replacing bad habits with good diet and exercise, there are other ways – some you may not have considered – to improve your heart health.
Adopting a pet, for example, can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. If you happen to have a dog, it can also make a great exercise buddy! Drinking green tea can also help by improving blood vessel function, and eating a small amount of dark chocolate can reduce the inflammation that leads to cardiovascular disease. Practicing good dental hygiene is also important as there is a correlation between gum disease and heart problems. Other changes, like limiting your intake of sodium, can also help.
Although it may seem overwhelming, it does not need to be. SOMC is here to help – and will even provide a registered dietitian to help you pick out healthy foods during your next trip to Kroger, free of charge!
For more information about SOMC’s Heart Smart Cart shopping program, call 740-356-8649. To sign up for one of SOMC’s free smoking cessation classes, call 740-356-2552. Additional information can also be found at www.somc.org.
It’s time to once again “Go Red” for national heart month with Southern Ohio Medical Center.
SOMC is hosting several events throughout the month of February to promote good heart health and is selling “Go Red” t-shirts for the community to wear on February 7. In addition to “Go Red” day, there is also the month-long walking competition “Pound the Pavement,” a Zumbathon Charity Event and special “Make a Date with your Heart” screenings.
“We are reaching out to the community in a variety of ways to increase awareness and promote good heart health,” Amy Fraulini, director of SOMC Critical Care and Heart and Vascular Services, said. “Heart disease remains the number one killer in the country. It’s important for our friends and family to understand if they are at risk, and more importantly, be able to recognize the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Awareness, education and screenings are vital for good heart health.”
Go Red t-shirts can be purchased now and are $12 each. Proceeds benefit the SOMC Heart and Vascular Fund, which assists local heart and vascular patients and their families with various needs.
The Go Red Zumbathon takes place on February 15 from noon until 2:00pm at the SOMC LIFE Center. There will be two “Make a Date with your Heart” screenings on February 18. Both take place at the Friends Center, with the first screenings set for 9:00 am to 1100am and the second round lasting from 5:00 pm to 7:00pm. Pound the Pavement, meanwhile, lasts throughout the month of February.
For more information about any of these events, or to learn more about National Heart Awareness Month, call 740-356-8308 or visit somc.org.
Southern Ohio Medical Center has been re-designated as a Magnet hospital, the highest level of distinction for nursing excellence awarded by the American Nursing Credentialing Center. SOMC is the only Magnet hospital in the tri-state area, and one of fewer than 400 Magnet hospitals in the United States.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that we have earned Magnet re-designation. It takes full commitment from everyone in our organization to achieve the level of care required for Magnet, and I am overjoyed to see our work recognized in this way,” SOMC Chief Nursing Officer Claudia Burchett said. “This is a glowing endorsement of our nurses and the care they provide, but it’s also a ‘seal of approval’ on our entire hospital and its staff.”
“Magnet is a confirmation of something that we already know at SOMC: That our nurses routinely go above and beyond to provide their patients with truly excellent care,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett said. “To be re-designated as a Magnet hospital is a huge accomplishment, and one that fewer than 7% of all U.S. hospitals have achieved. It speaks to the outstanding job done by our nurses and medical staff each and every day.”
There are five main components through which Magnet hospitals are measured: Transformational Leadership, Structural Empowerment, Exemplary Professional Practice, and New Knowledge, Innovations and Improvements. To receive re-designation, SOMC submitted a document that was more than 5,500 pages long and 20 inches tall detailing how the hospital achieved excellence in all five areas.
Magnet appraisers also completed an on-site visit where they met with staff and heard first-hand what sets SOMC apart.
“Part of what makes the nurses at SOMC so special is how they work seamlessly with the entire staff to ensure every patient receives the best care possible,” Dr. Elie Saab said. “SOMC is a Magnet hospital because of their dedication to patient care. I am proud to work alongside such talented and caring individuals.”
The Magnet Recognition Program was developed by the ANCC in 1994 to recognize health care facilities that provide the very best in professional nursing care. SOMC first received Magnet designation in 2008.
ANCC statistics show that nurses who work in Magnet designated hospitals are more satisfied with their jobs and the care they provide. Magnet hospitals also have an increased retention rate for nurses.
For more information, visit www.somc.org.
Southern Ohio Medical Center is inviting the public to kick back and enjoy an Old Hollywood-style Casino Night at the SOMC Friends Center on June 21. Proceeds from the event support the SOMC Development Foundation.
“Our Casino Night fundraiser will help us make sure we can offer the latest treatments and technology to our patients,” SOMC Director of Community Relations and Development Kara Redoutey said. “The SOMC Development Foundation’s purpose is to give our community the resources required to meet our local healthcare needs. The money we raise from this event will help make sure local ambulances have everything they need to effectively care for heart attack patients.”
Proceeds from last year’s foundation fundraiser helped SOMC equip local ambulances with 12-Lead EKG technology, which can dramatically reduce the time it takes for heart attack victims to receive the care. Funds raised this year will go towards providing local EMS with technology and software systems to build upon those advancements even further.
Individual tickets to SOMC’s Casino Night fundraiser cost $75 each and come with $25,000 in funny money, which can be used to play games during the event.
For $500, individuals can become “Superstar Sponsors” and receive two tickets, $25,000 in funny money per person and recognition at a gaming table. A $1,000 donation earns the individual “Director’s Circle” recognition, eight tickets with reserved seating, $25,000 in funny money per person and recognition at a gaming table.
The event’s top three winners will receive prizes, while everyone else will be entered into a drawing. The event will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres and attendees are encouraged to wear cocktail attire or dress as their favorite Old Hollywood star.
Social hour begins at 6:00pm and gaming will last from 7:00pm until 10:00pm. For more information, or to reserve a ticket, contact the SOMC Development Office at 740-356-2794.
Carlos Morris fits the profile of someone who is serious about maintaining good health.
He is not overweight. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t smoke. He exercises almost every day. That’s why he was just as surprised as anyone when, while working out at the Wheelersburg Life Center, Carlos had a heart attack.
“I was just working out on one of the machines,” Carlos said. “Once I finish, I usually take a couple of laps to cool off, but this time I couldn’t. I was sweating unbelievably, then my chest started hurting and I became nauseated.”
An ambulance was called to take Carlos to Southern Ohio Medical Center, but his treatment actually began long before he arrived at the hospital. That’s because the ambulance was equipped with a 12-lead EKG system that helped emergency staff in Portsmouth evaluate Carlos’ condition while he was still in Wheelersburg.
Using the EKGs, Carlos was diagnosed with an acute heart attack and the results were sent to SOMC’s Emergency Room via cell phone technology before he ever arrived at the hospital. Because of this, the cardiologist and cath lab team were able to prepare to treat him as soon as he arrived. This allowed him to completely bypass the Emergency Department and go straight to the Cath lab.
Within 46 minutes of the squad’s arrival at the Life Center, and within 23 minutes of their arrival at SOMC, Carlos made it to the Cath lab, had a balloon inserted and the affected artery was re-opened.
“The national benchmark for getting heart attack patients to the cath lab is 90 minutes, but we were able to cut that by more than half thanks to the use of the 12-lead EKG system in the field by Porter Township EMS ,” SOMC Director of Critical Care and Heart and Vascular Services Amy Fraulini said.
When a heart attack occurs, the faster a patient can be assessed and treated the better their odds of survival. Carlos’ story demonstrates how 12-lead EKGs used by ambulances can increase those odds, and that is why SOMC has made it a goal to ensure that all local ambulances carry the technology. The process of equipping these squads has already begun, thanks to funds raised through community donations. The proceeds from SOMC’s 2012 Ohio River Cruise also went towards purchasing the equipment.
Thanks to the quick care Carlos received, he has already returned to the Life Center and is looking forward to resuming his normal routines.
“I’m very grateful for everything that was done for me,” Carlos said. “I’d like to personally thank everyone who made it possible.”
SOMC will host its eighth annual heart awareness program, Relax with Heart, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Friends Center.
“Relax with Heart will focus on the many ways you can easily reduce stress and unwind,” Amy Fraulini, director of SOMC Heart and Vascular Services, said. “Stress affects each of us differently but there are many healthy habits we can form to protect us from the damage it may cause.”
Relax with Heart will offer the public opportunities to learn how to relax through low-impact exercise, massage therapy, and spa treatments and will also include screenings for total cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, body mass index (optional), and a heart risk analysis.
The event is free, though pre-registration is required. For more information or to schedule your appointment, please call 740-356-7665.
After years of research, Dr. Thomas Khoury’s findings on busting blood clots are being recognized by the Society of Clinical Vascular Surgery. He will give a presentation on the topic at the group’s national meeting, which is held annually.
Dr. Khoury believes the acknowledgment is more than a personal accomplishment; he believes it is also a testament to the hospital in which his work was conducted: Southern Ohio Medical Center.
“When you go to conferences, the majority of the research is usually generated by university hospitals and teaching centers,” Dr. Khoury said. “It is simply not a common thing to have a community hospital generate results of this magnitude and be able to present them at such a conference. It is quite an honor for us to be recognized in that respect.”
Dr. Khoury put together an abstract on busting blood clots with the help of medical students. The abstract details an approach that gained national application in 2008, but has been practiced at SOMC since 1993.
“Although our center’s experience goes back to 1993 with 325 patients, we are presenting our last ten year’s experience,” Dr. Khoury said. “This procedure gained national widespread application since 2008, yet our local population has benefited from it since 1993.
“We knew all along that this approach was the correct one. It has helped save many limbs from long term sequelae of clots and helped prevent disability from swelling and ulceration.”
Now that the abstract has been accepted, he has begun developing a larger article on the topic, which could be published in a peer review journal.
“We are demonstrating that SOMC is not only a community hospital, but also a regional center for research,” Dr. Khoury said. “This is very exciting, not only for our staff and our community but also for medical students. At SOMC, we are able to give them opportunities they wouldn’t have at other local hospitals.”
Dr. Khoury graduated in 1982 from The American University of Beirut.
He began his training in 1982 at the University of Miami then moved to Harvard University Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and completed his surgical training in 1993 after several fellowships, including a dedicated year in vascular surgery at Tufts University Baystate Medical Center.
He joined the staff at SOMC in 1993 and currently is Master Faculty and Professor of Surgery at OUCOM.
To arrange an appointment with Dr. Khoury, call 740-353-8661.
For more information, “like” SOMC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernOhioMedicalCenter.
Southern Ohio Medical Center has been awarded a $13,000 grant by the Richard D. Marting’s Foundation to continue the Love Your Heart program in 2013. Love Your Heart helps kindergarten-aged children learn the importance of proper nutrition and exercise during a fun, Wizard of Oz-themed event. Julia Wisniewski of the Richard D. Marting’s Foundation presented Amy Fraulini, director of SOMC Heart and Vascular Services, with a check to support the program on August 3.
As a teacher and track coach at Portsmouth West High School, Debra Moore is always there to give her students support when they need it the most. When Moore underwent open-heart surgery at Southern Ohio Medical Center, they were there to return the favor.
In fact, Moore says her students were part of the reason she was so sure everything was going to be okay. Prior to her surgery, and just after a track meet that she was forced to miss, Moore’s team gathered in front of their bus to take a special group photo for their absent coach.
“They all stood together and made little hearts, and they sent me a message: ‘Good luck tomorrow. We’re with you, we love you,’ that kind of thing,” Moore said. “When I saw that, I knew I was going to be okay.”
Moore was touched by her track team’s support, but not surprised. She has a close relationship with them that goes back further than her surgery. They were there to offer support during her mother’s hospitalization, and stood by her as she mourned the loss of the woman she describes as not only a parent, but also her best friend.
When she first went to SOMC, complaining that it felt like someone was “blowing a balloon up” in her chest, she assumed it was just anxiety from her mother’s passing. She soon found out it was more serious than that, but whatever worry she may have felt was lessened by that simple, thoughtful gesture from her track team.
“God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle,” Moore said. “When I saw that picture, I knew that he was sending me a message: Yes, I was going to go through surgery, but I was going to be okay and I would be back to coach my team.”
It wasn’t just the support of her team that put Moore at ease, however. She had also researched her doctors at SOMC and was very pleased with what she heard.
“I made phone calls to check on Dr. Alain Asher, and I had nothing but good reports about him,” Moore said. “I just can’t say enough about Dr. Asher and Dr. Harry Driedger. They’re wonderful, they couldn’t have treated me better.”
Since her surgery, Moore has visited her team and celebrated her recovery. She has also taken note of just how fortunate she was to have the right team around her in her moment of need, both on the track and in the hospital.
“Immediately after I started having chest pains, I went to SOMC. I trusted them to take care of me, and they delivered,” Moore said. “I received excellent care from the entire staff at SOMC. The nurses, lab techs, house keepers – everyone was just wonderful.
“I’m also grateful for the support from my students and co-workers. People like our boys track coach, Gary Marion, and my assistant, Leah Blevins, helped make a difficult situation a little more manageable.”
When it comes to peripheral stenting at Southern Ohio Medical Center, as is the case with most things, there have been plenty of changes over the years. Technology has changed and the list of offered procedures has grown. The size of the staff has expanded as well.
Peripheral stenting is a minimally invasive procedure where a catheter with a balloon tip is inserted into a peripheral artery (arteries in the lower abdomen, kidneys, neck, arms, legs or feet) and inflated to compress plaque buildup. A stent is then placed in the vessel to keep the vessel open to maintain necessary blood flow. This procedure is performed in a state-of-the-art cardiovascular catheterization laboratory.
In its infancy, back in the 1980’s, the SOMC Cath Lab operated with a three person staff. Radiologic Technologist, Andy Barber and nurse Mary Ann Wakefield were two of the lab’s original members, but Barber credits the arrival of its third member with truly advancing the art of stenting.
“Things really started progressing in 1993 when Dr. Thomas Khoury came,” Barber said. “He pushed the envelope and we started doing a lot more than what we were doing at that time. As the procedures have evolved, he’s stayed current and up to date on everything.”
Together, the trio of Khoury, Barber and Wakefield became peripheral endovascular pioneers. They were among the area’s first to offer these services by a dedicated team and Wakefield became the county’s first nurse certified in radiology.
“For our patients, our experience is very important,” Dr. Khoury said. “We’ve done over 4,000 procedures. That experience, our state of the art technology, and the harmonious work of the staff lowers the risk of complications and ensures excellent outcomes for our patients.”