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New Application for an Old Technique

Dr. Gail Peters talks about a non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids

Many women who have uterine fibroids go through their days with no noticeable symptoms. They may even be unaware they have fibroids at all. However, for a small percentage who have symptoms, daily life can be interrupted continually by pain.

Uterine fibroids can cause a host of disruptive symptoms: unusually heavy or long menstrual periods, pain during sexual intercourse, pressure on the bladder leading to frequent trips to the bathroom, bloating, and pain in the pelvis, legs, or lower back. They affect 20% to 40% of women 20 years or older and occur in half of African American women. So far, doctors are unable to pinpoint why fibroids are more common in African Americans or why women develop them at all. But they do know that heredity and obesity are factors.

Women with problematic uterine fibroids traditionally have had only two options—a hysterectomy or a myomectomy (surgical removal of the fibroids). In fact, unwanted fibroid symptoms trigger approximately 150,000 hysterectomies each year.

Over the past decade, an old technique is providing women who suffer with uterine fibroids with a nonsurgical alternative. Physicians have used embolization for more than two decades to treat pelvic bleeding or trauma, and now they are using the procedure to shrink uterine fibroids too.

“If a gynecologist has offered a hysterectomy, a women should look into uterine fibroid embolization,” says Emory interventional radiologist Gail Peters. “The procedure is less invasive, better tolerated, and requires less time for recuperation.”

Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognizes embolization as a viable treatment for uterine fibroids, Peters says that some doctors are failing to talk to women about the option. “Most women come to me on their own and are looking for an alternative to surgery,” she says

What she tells them is that embolization offers fewer complications and a quicker recovery than surgical options. It has an 85% to 92% success rate compared with myomectomy, after which 10% to 30% of patients develop fibroids again. And women who experience embolization can fore-go the three- to four-day hospital stays and four to six weeks of recovery that accompany hysterectomies.

An embolization is performed through a small puncture in a groin artery. Dye is injected into the artery to identify which blood vessels supply the uterus and fibroids. The radiologist then guides a wire and catheter into the identified vessels and injects small particles that block the blood supply to the fibroids. The fibroids and the uterus shrink approximately 60% in the first year. Heavy periods usually take a few cycles to lessen. The procedure takes approximately an hour followed by a day’s stay in the hospital for intravenous pain medication. Patients usually can resume normal activity after a week.

“Most of the women I’ve treated report a significant improvement in their symptoms at their first-month check-up,” Peters says.

Learn more in person at a free seminar on Thursday, February 3rd. Call 404-778-7777 or go online to register. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 404-712-7033.

Putting Patients First – Advancing Brain Treatment Possibilities

Brain cancer injury informationFor those of us who watched the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, we were touched by a number of stories, conflicts, and hardships faced by Americans from all walks of life. Health care rhetoric aside, one story, that of James Howard from Katy, TX, was especially touching and relevant. Howard, who is only 28 years old, was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 2010 and as we listened, we learned of his touching story and the barriers he faced in acquiring treatment. James Howard is not alone. There are many people out there like James Howard, who, without access to the latest medical treatments, wouldn’t be here.

While the debate regarding health care reform continues, what we at Emory can do is to provide access to the latest treatments to save lives like that of James Howard. And through our research and medical advances, that’s exactly what we’ve done for patients like Jennifer Giliberto, Gary Gelb, Neil Cullinan, and Donna Yancey, all of whom underwent brain surgery at Emory Healthcare.

Our neurosciences team of researchers, physicians, surgeons, and staff are dedicated to leading research and development in the world of brain injuries and cancers.

For example, Emory is one of the few places in the country offering minimally invasive neuro-endoscopic procedures for resection of deep-seated brain tumors and 3D endoscopic pituitary tumor removal. We’re also conducting groundbreaking research investigating solutions such as the use of magnetic nanoparticles for targeted imaging and therapy of brain cancer. This dedication advancing the medical possibilities is what drives everything we do, and our efforts aren’t going without recognition.

Recently, Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis, chief of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital Midtown and assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory, was named president of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation. With a mission to “improve the quality of life for brain tumor patients and their families” through research, awareness, and support, the efforts of our team members such as Dr. Hadjipanayis and those of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation allow us to continue to advance the possibilities in the treatment of brain tumors and injuries.

We honor the dedication shown by our neurosciences team and its members such as Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis, who are making strides in improving the lives of patients and families affected by brain injuries and cancers each and every day.

When Your Hospital Visit Becomes a Stay – Choose Rollins Suites

Debbie Cohen with her mother

Debbie Cohen with her mother

When you’re caring for a loved one in the hospital, wouldn’t be nice to have your meals delivered your hospital room? Room service is one of the many comforts patients staying in Emory University Hospital’s Rollins Pavilion enjoy. But, according to Emory employee, Debbie Cohen, the most important reason to choose Rollins is that family members have a room next to the patient’s room.

Debbie Cohen, an Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center nurse stayed in Rollins multiple times while her mother was receiving treatment for lung cancer. At Rollins, there are two, adjacent rooms: one for the patient and one for the family member visiting them. Proximity to her mom during this rough time made Cohen choose Rollins.

The combination of these two rooms is known as the hospital suite, custom designed for privacy and ease. It includes a deluxe private hospital room and adjacent sitting room with pull out sofa bed, a large conference table and business and entertainment center.

For Cohen, it was a good match: “even though I live ten minutes away from EUH, my father and I wanted to be with my mother at all times. We needed more than a pull out chair. Having our own living space made it easier to sleep in the hospital. We also didn’t have to worry about meals since Rollins provides room service. When you are in the hospital for tens day these conveniences make a big difference. We were as relaxed as possible and could concentrate on supporting my mother.”

Rollins Pavilion hospital offers not only additional convenience but also the same quality care you expect from Emory. Rollins nurses have an average of 26 years of experience in patient care.

Rollins is a great option for patients and their families, especially for those who live far away. A physician’s order for admission to the Rollins Pavilion Hospital Suites is required for all Rollins patients. In addition to costs covered by insurance for patients of our hospital suites, patients are responsible for a room charge of $275 per night. This charge includes all patient amenities excluding room service.

Thank You, Team For Putting Patient Care First

John T. Fox, President & CEO of Emory Healthcare

John T. Fox, Emory Healthcare President & CEO

What an incredible week it’s been for the team at Emory Healthcare. From the moment we tuned into weather reports and anticipated that this was the “real thing” I was amazed at the tremendous response of our healthcare professionals as they started to make their way back to work before a drop of snow hit the ground.

What we witnessed over the course of several days following Georgia’s first snowfall of 2011 was absolute acts of heroism by our Emory Healthcare team of nurses, physicians, leaders and staff. Our employees demonstrated their commitment to patient-centered care, and made our patients their first priority, using any creative means necessary to join their team at work. One of our team members even put on her golf cleats and trekked many blocks through the snow to be here. Other employees demonstrated their commitment by volunteering to step into roles outside of their own without hesitation.

I am always proud to be a part of Emory Healthcare, but this week, my pride has been elevated to the deepest admiration for our outstanding team of nurses, doctors, and staff. You are all a true inspiration, and our patients are truly fortunate to receive compassionate care from individuals like you. Some of you were too snowed in to make it to work, but I know you were with your colleagues in spirit as they kept operations running smoothly.

It is our priority at Emory Healthcare to deliver outstanding patient-centered care each and every day. I want to thank the thousands of dedicated professionals who make up our Emory Healthcare team and who, over the past week, again rallied around our patients and each other during one of the worst winter storms in Atlanta’s history. I also want to acknowledge and thank your families and loved ones, many of whom did not see you for three or four days while you spent day and night in our hospitals and clinics.

I thank you for the dedication that you have shown this week and that you show each day at Emory Healthcare. I am truly honored to work with you. And thank you, thank you and thank you for living our commitment to our patients and putting all the words of our Care Transformation model into real action.

Health Care Heroes Lending Helping Hands

If you follow us on Twitter or are friends with us on Facebook, you may have seen some of our recent “storm stories,” spotlighting acts of heroism our Emory Healthcare team members demonstrated this past week despite the snow. While this past week’s storm was one of the worst in Atlanta’s history, it didn’t stop our EHC team from stepping up to do what we do best– put patients first.

Larry Hodges, Marion Oglesby, Demetrice Fullard, Marsha Bruce, Kathy Charles, Michael Cobb, Brenda Wilbanks, Jewell Hudson, Nicole Bansavage, and Chrissy Day are stellar examples of what it means to be part of the Emory Healthcare team:

Emory Healthcare Employees Brenda Wilbanks, Jewell Hudson, Nicole Bansavage, & Chrissy Day

Chrissy Day, Jewell Lazzette, Brenda Wilbanks, & Nicole Bansavage

Brenda Wilbanks, Jewell Hudson, Nicole Bansavage, & Chrissy Day

When Brenda Wilbanks, EUH Hematology 6E, saw the storm was coming, she knew her motor home had a new use – accommodations for her and a few of her co-workers during the days to come! Therefore, her husband drove the family motor home down on Sunday night. Brenda set up shop across the street from CRM in an area where Emory University is getting ready to tear down aging dormitories. This put the motor home within easy walking distance of our tunnel system via CRM. On Sunday and Monday night, co-workers Jewell Hudson and Nicole Bansavage joined Brenda. On Tuesday night, Chrissy Day headed over, as well.

Michael Cobb

The storm may have made transportation via an automobile a challenge, but it didn’t deter Michael Cobb, EHC Office of Quality and Risk, from figuring out a way to make it to the nearest EHC location. Michael lives about a quarter of a mile from EUOSH, so he decided to walk in each day – Monday through Wednesday – to see how he could help. On Tuesday, he took on a new role outside of his everyday EHC responsibilities. He sat with a patient – referred to as 1:1 observation – to ensure the patient remained in bed and had everything he needed.

As Michael said, “I stayed with him until about 7:30 on Tuesday night. We talked about all kinds of things and I made sure he was comfortable. … I was really impressed with the way the nurses cared for him. There is definitely a patient-centered focus here – and now I have had a chance to see it in action.”

Emory Healthcare Payroll Team

Marion Oglesby, Demetrice Fullard, Marsha Bruce & Kathy Charles

Marion Oglesby, Demetrice Fullard, Marsha Bruce, & Kathy Charles

Just because there is a storm doesn’t mean that our team members can go without getting paid. And EHC Payroll made sure payroll was still processed in time. In fact, they were hard at work beginning Sunday evening and continued into Tuesday to ensure our team members received their compensation on time.

EHC Cooks in the Kitchen

Larry Hodges with Nutrition Assistant, Vernon Mathis

Larry Hodges

During the storm, Larry Hodges, from EHC Human Resources, jumped into a new role to help Food & Nutrition Services at Emory University Hospital Midtown. Larry not only served customers during lunch, but he also helped prepare food – peeling eggs to make egg salad. He’s a shining example of how our team members showed extreme flexibility to help things run smoothly during tough times!

If you have an EHC team member to recognize for their efforts during the storm, please post your story in the comments below. We will continue to feature stories on our employee intranet and on Emory Healthcare’s Facebook and Twitter profiles. Thank you to the whole EHC team for all that you do!

Giving Thanks to Our Community – The Year in Review

Emory Healthcare CommunityThe holidays are a time for friends, families, loved ones and communities to come together, celebrate, and give thanks for our blessings and reflect on the year. At Emory Healthcare, we do all we can to promote and celebrate health year-round. But the holidays are a poignant time to celebrate and honor you, our community, for playing a key role in our accomplishments. With you as our partner, together we have proven we can achieve great things to improve the lives of so many. Over the course of any given year at Emory, there are innumerable accomplishments and developments to be excited about. In 2010, together we’ve seen some wonderful things happen in our Emory community:

  • We performed our 300th lung transplant, and saw Jo Ellen Kimball celebrate her new found health.
  • We watched our 500th heart transplant patient, Terry Green, serve as Grand Marshal for the Emory Healthcare 500, one of the biggest NASCAR events of the year! On race day, we were able to touch the lives of hundreds of race attendees from Georgia and states throughout the nation with free health screenings.
  • We partnered with our community and participated in the 2010 Atlanta Heart Walk, and for the 9th year in a row, led the way in fund raising by raising almost $300,000 to give back to the American Heart Association to aid in their fight against heart disease and stroke.
  • Our doctors performed more than $48.9 million in charity care for our community over the past year, and more than $20 million in uncompensated care at Grady.
  • For the 20th year in a row, Emory University Hospital and many of its specialty programs were ranked as top in the nation by U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 list of America’s Best Hospitals.
  • We participated in and sponsored the AJC Peachtree Road Race, an annual community event  for the 16th year in a row.
  • We were recognized for being one of the only health care systems in the state to implement a mandatory flu vaccine policy for all employees in an effort to minimize the spread of influenza from caregivers and employees to patients and visitors. For our achievement of 100% compliance in 2009-2010, we were honored by the Georgia Medical Care Foundation. We were also honored by the Joint Commission with Gold Tier Status for our influenza vaccination rate.
  • We partnered with Georgia Tech as the official health care provider for Georgia Tech Athletics, and the Atlanta Motor Speedway, as the official health care provider of the facility.
  • We were honored with three Beacon Awards for Nursing Excellence. Only 300 ICUs (out of about 6,000) across the U.S. have received the prestigious award, and only 6 Beacon Awards have been given to programs in Georgia.
  • We launched our blog, http://advancingyourhealth.org, which you’re reading now! It brings together our overall health care blog, as well as thematic blogs for heart & vascular, cancer, transplant, vision, weight management, and orthopedics, with more to come in 2011!
  • We work with and support more than 20 local organizations through monetary and volunteer support, including the Atlanta Community Food Bank through our annual Virtual Can Food Drive.  Check out the full list of organizations we support!
  • Every year our nursing students provide free health screenings and health clinics for migrant farm workers and their families in South Georgia.
  • You — our community — named Emory University Hospital the “Consumer’s Choice” for the 13th year in a row.

We accomplished all of these things (and many more!) under the umbrella of our promise to deliver not just the best health care available, but the best patient-centered care around. This means that with every step we take and every goal achieved, our focus is on you — our community, our patients, and our families. So it is you, our community, who deserves the thanks this holiday season. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to focus on working with you, rather than on you, and we look forward to the opportunity to continue partnering with you in 2011 and for many years to come.

Together Everyone Achieves More – The Emory Difference

Emory Healthcare CommunityWith our reach and community involvement growing by the day, we at Emory Healthcare have spent a lot of time discussing what it is that makes our Emory Healthcare community such an important part of what we do. Who is part of our community? How many lives are we touching? Where can our community be found?

The answer to these questions are simple. The Emory Healthcare community is more than just a network of hospitals, affiliated and community hospitals, clinics, and telehealth locations. Our community is the people that make Emory Healthcare so special. It’s about our nurses, physicians, and staff that work with our patients, rather than on them. It’s our patients, families, and the communities that rely on the outstanding patient-centered care and innovative research taking place at Emory Healthcare every day.

Despite the fact that we have hospital and care facilities across Atlanta and the state of Georgia, our community extends beyond state lines and even globally.

Our community has taken shape on the Web, where we are able to get valuable feedback from interacting with our patients, families and people like you all over the world. We use tools like our YouTube channel to provide free educational videos, and our blog, to give our community free and easy access to doctor expertise and advice.

Our medical advances, clinical trials, research and educational efforts allow us to embrace the health care community as a whole, and play a role as a leader in advancing the possibilities of patient centered care. In an environment where we empower patients, their families, and our community to participate in and embrace their own health and care, everyone benefits. That’s the Emory difference.

Emory University Hospital, the Consumers’ Choice

Consumer Choice Award Emory HealthcareHospitals and health systems all over the country are constantly advancing when it comes to innovation in the latest diagnoses and treatments. But what good are these advancements if they don’t help and please the people we serve, our patients and communities? We are honored that our advancements are being recognized. For the 13th straight year, Emory University Hospital has been recognized as one of the nation’s top hospitals by the National Research Corporation’s (NRC) Consumer Choice Awards.

The Consumer Choice Award identifies hospitals chosen by healthcare consumers as having the highest quality and image in more than 300 markets throughout the U.S. This is the 15th year NRC has awarded hospitals whose consumers have recognized them for providing the highest quality healthcare.

“Having an opportunity to once again share this tremendous honor with the men and women who care for our patients and visitors each day is certainly a special and rewarding part of my job,” says Robert Bachman, Emory University Hospital chief operating officer. “Being recognized for what you do – and how well you do it – by the very consumers you are in the business of serving each day is an accolade that cannot be topped. I want to thank our entire team of physicians, nurses, support and business staff, volunteers and vast network of stakeholders and donors who strive to make Emory University Hospital a great center for care and discovery. Our customers have again spoken, and we will use this award as motivation to continue improving service in a safe, patient- and family-centered environment of care.”

Ginny Martin, president of NRC’s Ticker Division, says winners are determined by consumer perceptions on multiple quality and image ratings collected in the company’s Ticker study. Of the 3,200 hospitals named by consumers in the study, the winning facilities rank highest in their Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Ticker study surveyed over 250,000 households representing over 450,000 consumers in the contiguous 48 states and the District of Columbia.

“Healthcare has become an increasingly important issue across the country and empowered consumers are making decisions for themselves and their families when selecting their healthcare facilities and services,” Martin says. “As care options multiply and financial challenges remain strong, consumer perception of quality continues to grow in importance. Dedication to providing high quality healthcare has become essential for all hospitals. In the face of adversity, these Consumer Choice award winners exemplify the dedication it takes to provide quality healthcare to their communities, and we are pleased to honor them through the eyes of their patients.”

Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is at the heart of one of the nation’s leading university-based health systems, Emory Healthcare, with nationally and internationally recognized faculty physicians in a broad range of specialty areas. The hospital is staffed by more than 950 practicing physicians who are also faculty members of the Emory School of Medicine.

Center for Translational Cardiovascular Nanomedicine – Emory & Georgia Tech Researchers Receive new $14M contract from NIH

Georgia Tech and Emory University have received a five-year $14.6 million contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue the development of nanotechnology and biomolecular engineering tools and methodologies for detecting and treating atherosclerosis.

The Center for Translational Cardiovascular Nanomedicine will be directed by Dr. Gang Bao, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Emory University and Georgia Tech.

Contributors from Emory University include: Dr. W. Robert Taylor, Director of Cardiology; Department of Medicine chair Dr. R. Wayne Alexander; Division of Cardiology faculty including Dr. David Harrison, Dr. Young-sup Yoon, and Dr. Charles Searles; Department of Biomedical Engineering Faculty including Dr. Michael Davis, Dr. Hanjoong Jo, Dr. Shuming Nie, and Dr. Xiaoping Hu; and Department of Radiology professor Mark Goodman. Contributors from Georgia Tech include: Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering faculty including Dr. Don Giddens, Dr. Niren Murthy, and Dr. May Dongmei Wang.

Goals for this five-year study include the following:

  • Using nanoparticle probes to image and characterize atherosclerotic plaques
  • Diagnosing cardiovascular disease from a blood sample
  • Designing new methods for delivering anti-atherosclerosis drugs and genes into the body
  • Developing stem cell based therapies to repair damaged heart tissue

We’ll continue to keep you posted on the developments of the Center and on diagnoses and treatments of atherosclerosis that come from the study.

Emory Neurosciences Taking Steps to Expand Reach and Capacity

In response to the recent surge in neurological patients and an increased demand for neurological treatment, Emory Healthcare’s Neurosciences program has made strides over the last year in broadening the program’s reach and capacity.

Emory Neurosciences, which includes Emory Healthcare’s Neurosurgery and Neurology divisions, is a leader in neurological treatments and services and consistently ranked as one of the industry’s best. Both the Neurology and Neurosurgery divisions were recently ranked 12th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, many of Emory’s neurologists and neurosurgeons are consistently recognized as Atlanta’s Top Doctors by Atlanta Magazine and as America’s Top Doctors.

In an effort to further accommodate the increase in patient demand, Emory Neurosciences has implemented several key improvements over the last year:

State-of-the-Art Neuro ICU Renovations

In May of this year, Emory’s Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Emory University Hospital Midtown was completely renovated to increase patient and family comfort and incorporate the latest innovations in medical technology.

All 12 rooms of the Neuro ICU were overhauled and each now includes continuous electroencephalogram (EEG) capabilities to constantly measure and record electrical brain activity, and a physician viewing station to monitor each patient. Additional renovations such as new flooring, furniture, and even flat screen TVs were also incorporated to improve patient and family care and comfort. The renovations also incorporated the latest technology in patient lifting equipment and glass doors that block sound and allow our nurses to keep a close eye on patients from their nursing stations.

Expert Neuro Doctor Additions

The addition of two new physicians at The Emory Clinic at Kennestone, physiatrist Hassan Monfared, MD, and neurosurgeon Kenneth Hill, Jr., MD have also allowed Emory Neurosciences to further expand its service offerings and geographic reach.

Monfared, assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, is the first physiatrist at the clinic’s Marietta location. He brings 20 years of experience in physical medicine and rehabilitation services and has particular expertise in pain medicine and chronic spinal pain. He is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine.

Hill, assistant professor of neurosurgery, Emory University School of Medicine, graduated from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and served his residency at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. He was a neuro-oncology fellow at Emory. His surgical interests are in brain and spinal tumors, degenerative spine diseases and general neurosurgical procedures.

“With the addition of Monfared and Hill, we are able to strengthen our commitment to provide excellent patient care and services to the residents of Marietta and surrounding communities,” says Barrow. “At the same time, they will help us proudly continue to advance the surgical treatment of neurological disorders and the tradition of excellence in medicine that Emory has come to be known for the world over.”

New Technology – Myriad System

Opening a completely renovated ICU, and the addition of new physicians are not the only changes being made at Emory. New technology is also being incorporated into neurosciences offerings at Emory.

The Myriad system, is one of several new high-tech systems installed in the recently opened neuro-endoscopic operating room suite at Emory University Hospital Midtown. The device’s superior control allows for extremely precise surgical work in removing both malignant and non-malignant tumors. Because the majority of the surgeries performed are endoscopic procedures, with small cameras projecting the surgical site in the brain onto monitors, clear and well-defined, high definition images are vital. The specialty operating room also consists of four high-definition monitors, two overhead high-definition cameras and a state-of-the art control system that can conference out live procedures for teaching purposes.

The combination of these advancements has allowed Emory Healthcare to better partner with community physicians in providing neurological care. We will continue to keep you updated on breakthroughs from Emory Neurosciences. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.