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heart health

  • sam patrick posted an article
    MUSC Health is among the first in South Carolina to use technology see more

    For decades, shock waves have been used to break up kidney stones. Now that same technology is being used to break up calcium deposits in heart vessels of patients undergoing stent replacement.

    MUSC Health is among the first in South Carolina and the first in the Pee Dee using the new technology, known as intravascular lithotripsy, (IVL).  Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early 2021, IVL uses sonic pressure waves to fracture stubborn calcium deposits and safely open arteries in patients with coronary artery disease so a stent can be inserted to restore blood flow.

    Dr. Gregory May, an MUSC Health Florence interventional cardiologist, says the new technology is a promising option for patients who have calcium buildup so thick that it is resistant to conventional treatments such as inflatable balloons and atherectomy. Balloons have been used to crack the calcium when inflated to high pressure, and atherectomy, which involves drilling through the calcium, carry the risk of perforation or vessel damage, May says.

    IVL is a big advancement in these types of cases with less vessel damage compared with atherectomy,” says May, who has been using the new technology since March. “It is a very safe, straightforward and effective treatment for dealing with calcified vessels, and it takes less time and carries a lower risk of damage to the blood vessel or of coronary perforation.”

    In IVL, a balloon catheter is attached by a cable to a small console about the size of a college textbook. Using guided imagery, MUSC Health cardiologists insert the catheter into the patient’s wrist or groin and threads it to the calcified artery. Once the balloon reaches the target area, it is inflated and the shockwave device is activated by the cardiologist. Each area receives a total of 80 seconds of sonic pulses, or 8 runs of 10 seconds each. The sonic pulses fracture the calcium in the arterial wall, making the artery less stiff and allowing a stent to be advanced and fully expanded at the original blocked area.

    “The calcium in the vessel wall is not removed; it stays in the wall but is broken up, making the artery more flexible and allowing stents to be more easily advanced down the vessel and fully expanded to restore blood flow,” May says. “The procedure takes about an hour and most patients are discharged home the same day.” 

    May says IVL is particularly valuable to patients in the Pee Dee, many of whom have severe blockage along with severe calcium build up likely the result of smoking, unhealthy diets, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. 

    “IVL is a promising technique in patients who have been the most difficult to treat with stents in the past,” he says. “It is a true game changer in interventional cardiology. Cardiac disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, with approximately 690, 000 deaths in 2020. Half of these cardiac deaths are sudden, and the majority have severe coronary blockage. 

    Our team at MUSC Health is committed to doing all we can in the Pee Dee to reduce the number of deaths from heart disease.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    MUSC SJCH only children’s hospital in South Carolina to be ranked see more

    New rankings from U.S. News & World Report’s (USNWR) 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospitals survey place the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital once again as the only children’s hospital in South Carolina to be ranked. And, the hospital improved one ranking, to #11, in the Southeast region best children’s hospitals survey. The latest rankings are published online and indicate the herculean efforts health care workers provided during the second year of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The highly recognized specialties for MUSC SJCH include the following national rankings: No. 4 for cardiology & heart surgery, No. 30 for nephrology, No. 31 for cancer and No. 41 for gastroenterology & GI surgery. This year, the MUSC Pediatric & Congenital Heart Center received the #1 spot in the nation ranking for outcomes. This phenomenal achievement recognizes that the pediatric and congenital heart center’s expected outcomes are the best in the nation. USNWR issues the annual rankings “to help families with complex and rare conditions find the best medical care for their children,” according to the publication’s website. They’re designed to steer parents and caregivers to the hospitals that are best equipped to treat their children.

    The 16th annual rankings highlight the top 50 U.S. pediatric hospitals in each of 10 specialties: cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.

    “The U.S. News rankings recognize on a national stage that MUSC Children’s Health is a leader in pediatric health care and a safe and compassionate choice for parents seeking care for their child,” said Mark A. Scheurer, M.D., MUSC Children’s Health chief of clinical services.

    This is the 15th consecutive year that the 4th-ranked cardiology & heart surgery program has made the overall Best Children’s Hospitals list. Criteria include the survival rate of patients after complex heart surgeries along with the level of specialized staff, services and technologies and the ability to prevent infections.

    The nephrology program at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital ranks No. 30 in the U.S. That means it excels when it comes to the survival rate of children who have had kidney transplants, the management of dialysis and infection prevention and other factors. It maintains its status as the highest-ranked children’s kidney program in South Carolina. The program ranked #3 in the Southeast for overall care and the third best outcomes.

    The GI & GI surgery program is no stranger to the U.S. News rankings, either. For the 15th year in a row, it made the grade, coming in at No. 41, one spot higher than last year. The rankings factor in the survival rate for children who have had liver transplants, the effectiveness of the hospital’s treatment of children who have inflammatory bowel issues and other key measures. Like all of the rankings, the GI rankings also include input from specialists in the field who responded to U.S. News surveys and recommend the hospital for serious cases in GI care. GI & GI Surgery ranked #8 in the Southeast region.

    Finally, the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital’s cancer program ranks No. 31 on the list of Best Children’s Hospitals for Cancer. That’s a 13-level increase from last year’s ranking and a direct result of the #15 national ranking in outcomes. Cancer ranked #3 in the Southeast for overall care and achieved the best outcomes in the region. These rankings are based in part on the five-year survival rate for children with leukemia-related cancer, bone marrow transplant services, programs for brain tumors and sarcomas and infection prevention.

    A critical criterion measured by USNWR is outcomes. Five of 10 MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital programs placed in the top 50 nationally for the outcomes portion of their respective survey, including:

    Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery                         #1

    Cancer                                                                  #15

    Nephrology                                                         #26

    Pulmonary                                                          #35

    GI / GI Surgery                                                  #37

    For the second year, U.S. News featured regional rankings, and the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital tied at #11 for the Southeast region, which is one of the most competitive pediatric regions in the country. Four of MUSC’s pediatric specialties ranked in the top 10: cardiology & cardiac surgery #1, cancer #3, nephrology #3, and GI & GI surgery #8.

    Current methodology combines clinical and operational data, results from a reputational survey of board-certified pediatric specialists and supplemental information from resources such as the National Cancer Institute. RTI International collects and analyzes the data for the rankings. The methodology reflects clinical outcomes, such as patient survival, infection rates and complications; the level and quality of hospital resources directly related to patient care, such as staffing, technology and special services; delivery of health care, such as programs that adhere to best practices and prevent infections; and expert opinion among pediatric specialists. This year, scoring also included an increased focus on the subjects of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts; internal and external affiliations of experts; and clinical issues related to the pandemic.

    “Our MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital care team members continue to be recognized for the outstanding care, service and commitment they provide, even in challenging times,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., MUSC Health CEO and executive vice president for Health Affairs, University. “The strength of our specialty outcomes is a testament to the quality of care our team members seek to provide to patients and their families on a daily basis.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    7 years in a row for MUSC see more

    MUSC Health University Medical Center in Charleston was named by U.S. News & World Report for the seventh year in a row as the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina, with three of MUSC Health’s specialty areas ranking among the best in the entire country: ear, nose and throat; gynecology and cancer.

    Seventeen other MUSC Health programs are considered “high performing” specialties, procedures or conditions in the 2021-2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings: gastroenterology and GI surgery, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, aortic valve surgery, heart attack, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, back surgery (spinal fusion), hip replacement, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer surgery, pneumonia, stroke, colon cancer surgery,  rheumatology, orthopedics and urology.

    In addition, MUSC Health Florence Medical Center is designated as “high performing” in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.

    “Once again, South Carolinians can take great pride and comfort in the knowledge that their only public, statewide hospital system is consistently cited as one of the best in the country,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., MUSC Health CEO and MUSC vice president for Health Affairs, University. “It’s a transformational time in health care and these rankings are a testament to our care team’s commitment to ensure that our patients are receiving the right care, in the right place and at the right time. The achievements in our Charleston and Florence divisions made despite the pandemic should remind us all what’s possible through innovation, teamwork, and growth.”

    U.S. News & World Report unveiled the 32th edition of the Best Hospitals rankings at https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings. Designed to help patients with life-threatening or rare conditions identify hospitals that excel in treating the most difficult cases, Best Hospitals 2021-22 includes consumer-friendly data and information on 4,750 medical centers nationwide in 15 specialties and 17 procedures and conditions. In the 15 specialty areas, 175 hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty. In rankings by state and metro area, U.S. News & World Report recognized hospitals as high performing across multiple areas of care.

    “I am so proud that U.S. News & World Report has recognized MUSC Health Florence Medical Center as high performing in four areas  – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure,” said Jay Hinesley, MUSC Health Florence Division CEO. “The last year has been a challenge for everyone in health care, and these recognitions are a true testament to all the hard work of our care team members and their dedication to our patients, families and communities. We are committed to continuing to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina and beyond.”

    The U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals methodologies, in most areas of care, are based largely or entirely on objective measures such as risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, volume, patient experience, patient safety and quality of nursing, among other care-related indicators.

    1. - U.S. News & World Report’s produced Best Hospitals with RTI International, a leading research organization based in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Multimillion-dollar grant to support heart health research at Clemson University see more

    Clemson University bioengineers picked Valentine’s Day to announce $4.1 million in grants to support new heart health research.

    Will Richardson and Naren Vyavahare are conducting research with the potential to affect millions of patients who suffer from many forms of cardiovascular disease and related illness, including heart failure, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes, according to a university news release.

    Richardson, an assistant professor of bioengineering, is creating computer models aimed at providing better treatment for cardiac fibrosis, a condition that contributes to heart failure. As many as 60% of patients die within five years of developing heart failure, which afflicts 6.5 million Americans, Richardson said in the news release.

    No drugs have been approved to treat cardiac fibrosis specifically, and doctors are often left with trial-and-error experimentation when treating patients who have it, he said in the release.

    Richardson said he hopes his research will lead to a day when measurements from a patient’s blood or tissue sample can be plugged into mathematical equations based on how molecules interact in the body. Overnight, patients would have personalized risk assessments and treatments plan, he said in the release.

    Details about his research is available online.

    Vyavahare, the Hunter Endowed Chair of Bioengineering, is working on what could be the first treatment to reverse vascular calcification, a condition that occurs when mineral deposits build up on blood vessel walls and stiffen them, according to the news release. It is most prevalent in aging patients and those with chronic kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes, Vyavahare said. Complications from vascular calcification can range from hypertension to death.

    The nanoparticles that Vyavahare is developing are many times smaller than the width of a human hair and would deliver two medicines to calcified blood vessels. One medicine would remove the mineral deposits that cause blood vessels to become calcified, and another would return elasticity to the blood vessels.

    More details about his work is online.

    The Richardson and Vyavahare projects were both funded through the National Institutes of Health’s R01 program. Richardson is receiving $1.9 million, and Vyavahare is receiving $2.2 million, the news release said.

    Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, congratulated Richardson and Vyvahare on their grants.

    Agneta Simionescu, an assistant professor of bioengineering, has also received $1.38 million through the R01 program. The Simionescu award was announced in November and is aimed at better understanding cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes, the news release said.

    Richardson and Simionescu were among the faculty members trained as part of SC BioCRAFT, a National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence. The center’s primary goal is to increase the number of South Carolina biomedical researchers who are supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

    Vyavahare leads SC BioCRAFT, which stands for the South Carolina Bioengineering Center for Regeneration and Formation of Tissues.