Carolyn Peterson has a sunny disposition and is not one to complain. “I take what I get and make the best of it,” she said.
Months after undergoing a TAVR procedure, Carolyn Peterson feels great, has more energy and was happy to be able to return to her normal routine.
She never complained about her heart murmur, either. “I’ve had it all my life and never thought anything of it,” Peterson said. An unexpected surgery in November of 2011 brought the heart murmur to the forefront. “When I was in the hospital having my gall bladder removed, they kept mentioning the murmur and said I needed to get it checked.”
The source of Peterson’s heart murmur was a faulty heart valve. She felt fine and was relatively symptomless before the surgery; however, without repair, her condition would have continued to get worse.
Peterson was referred to Interventional Cardiologist Maged Rizk, M.D., Ph.D. Over the next few years, he kept a close eye on the now 82-year-old. He saw her regularly and had imaging done periodically. “Dr. Rizk stayed on top of it so well,” she said. “He told me it was getting tighter and tighter. He kept close track of me and then one day he said it was time to do something.” Continue reading.
As I alluded to in my last article, part of risk factor modification is about the plaque. Plaque is mostly cholesterol. So it’s easy, don’t eat fats! Simple! That’s what everyone says. I remember a time, not long ago, when we all ate eggs. Then there was the cholesterol scare of 1980, and all of a sudden we weren’t supposed to eat eggs. Nowadays, eggs are okay to eat again. Confused? Me too.
There are good fats, bad fats, trans fats, fish oils…how do you keep it all straight? For years, data has accumulated regarding the role of blood lipids and cholesterol in plaque formation and subsequent arterial disease, whether it’s HDL, or “good cholesterol,” or LDL, “bad cholesterol.” The role of this blog is not to provide an exhaustive source for lipid management. Rather, it is to allow you a platform to have discussion with your primary care provider regarding appropriate blood lipid management. It is likely that all individuals over the age of 50 should have their lipids drawn and discussed. Continue reading.
In the previous blog, I described PAD as a common symptom presenting as a leg problem. I also alluded to the concept of risk factor awareness and possible modification. But before we get there, we need to understand how this occurs in the first place. I say to my patients, “This is not complicated, it’s just plumbing.” The arteries are the highways of the body. Their role is to transport blood (containing oxygen and nutrients) from place to place. If they get restricted or clogged, then that part of the body that was supposed to get the nutrients doesn’t, and bad things happen as a result. Essentially, PAD describes the clogging or narrowing of the arteries as a result of plaque formation.
Almost everyone has heard the term plaque, but not everyone necessarily understands what it means. There is plaque on your teeth, and plaque in your arteries, but what is it? Continue reading.
In my first column for this month, I’ll discuss general comments regarding peripheral vascular disease, commonly referred to as PAD. This topic will encompass several blog columns over the next few weeks and months.
Throughout the last several decades, heart disease has gained widespread attention and focus. Meanwhile, PAD has gone largely unnoticed and continues to be both under-diagnosed and under-treated in the United States. Many of the therapies currently utilized actually had their principal effects in modulating the heart circulation, only having secondary gains in the peripheral vessels.
PAD describes problems that focus on the lower extremities (although, infrequently the upper extremities can be involved). There are a number of symptoms that patients may complain about, which may include leg pain with walking and inability to complete daily chores (getting the mail, shopping, yard work, etc.). Continue reading.
Greetings, MidMichigan Health! I’m Vascular Surgeon Brad Sweda, M.D., the newest member of MidMichigan’s heart and vascular team. I come to MidMichigan from the Flint area, where I’ve been in practice for the past 16 years, and I’m excited to serve a new community of patients and their needs.
It’s my vision to provide you with a regular column discussing various vascular topics that encompass the scope of vascular care. I’ll cover topics such as walking and exercise management, blood lipids and cholesterol, smoking cessation programs and lower extremity arterial disease, commonly referred to as PAD. I’ll discuss conditions such as aortic aneurysms, carotid artery disease as it pertains to stroke and stroke risks, how to manage blood clots and the use of blood thinners, and new interventions that may assist patients with complex, high-risk problems. It is my hope that this column will provide a springboard for discussions, both with your immediate family but also with your primary care provider, as you navigate this ever-increasingly complex world of health care. My office and staff are here to be of service for any questions and concerns you may have about vascular care, and we’ll work diligently to arrange for timely appointments and evaluations.
See you for next month’s topic: peripheral vascular disease.
Vascular Surgeon Brad Sweda, M.D., is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the circulatory system, including the arteries and veins. His passion for vascular surgery goes beyond treating an ailment, but rather treating the individual. He sees each of his patients as unique, each requiring their own personalized treatment and attention. Dr. Sweda sees patients in Midland. To make an appointment, contact his office at (989) 794-5240.
Jim Brozzo of Sanford had a very busy 2015 – within the year, he had to undergo three procedures. First, he needed a stent to repair an artery that was almost totally blocked. Next, he had a pacemaker implanted. Finally, he had a type of tumor, known as an inverted papilloma, removed from the base of his brain.
After his heart procedures, Brozzo was encouraged to attend cardiac rehabilitation to strengthen his heart and lungs. His wife, Sally, joined him for the workouts. “We did really well,” he said. “For 12 months, we never missed a single Monday, Wednesday or Friday at rehab,” he said.
However, in late October 2016, everything changed. “I always used the treadmill for 10 minutes at the end of a rehab session,” Brozzo said. “One day while I was finishing up on the treadmill, I suddenly felt like I hit a wall.”
He said the incident was unsettling but not painful. “I have never experienced a single pain with any of my heart issues,” he said. “I have breathing problems, not heart pain.” Brozzo battled asthma as a child and now works to manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. While he initially blamed the unusual episode on COPD, he decided to consult Family Medicine Physician Sasha Savage, M.D. Continue reading.
At age 90, Bob Taylor of Midland is proof you’re never too old to be a trail blazer. Taylor was the first patient to undergo a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. The procedure, which is less invasive than traditional heart valve replacement surgery, involves using a catheter to insert an artificial aortic valve through an artery in the neck, legs or between the ribs, and placing it inside the patient’s diseased heart valve while the heart is still beating.
Bob Taylor, pictured here with his wife, Gladys, Interventional Cardiologist Maged Rizk, M.D., Ph.D., and Annette Fruge, R.N., B.S.N., structural heart coordinator, was the first patient to undergo the TAVR procedure at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland.
Taylor said his heart issues go back to the 1990s; he had coronary bypass surgery in 1992. Through the years, he has also had several stents implanted. In 2013, Taylor underwent cardiac ablation to treat atrial fibrillation.
For the most part, Taylor was happy and healthy, until symptoms such as shortness of breath prompted his cardiologist, Interventional Cardiologist Maged Rizk, M.D., Ph.D., to order an echocardiogram. The results showed that Taylor’s aortic valve was failing. Continue reading.
Every medication prescribed by a physician has undergone rigorous testing through clinical trials prior to approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Without this testing, life-saving effects could not be made available to the general public.
By participating in clinical research trials, volunteers like Tim Miles of Midland play a crucial role in furthering advancements in medical therapy and technologies.
Miles’ participation in the trial technically started May 17, 2008. “That’s the day I had a heart attack,” he said. “I was alone at our cottage on Secord Lake but I knew what was happening and called 911.”
Luckily for Miles, a first responder happened to be less than two miles away when the call came through. “He got to me quickly and the next thing I know, we’re headed to the hospital in Midland.” Upon arrival at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland, Interventional Cardiologist William Felten, M.D., performed a cardiac catheterization and put in two stents. Continue reading.
For years, Laura Sayers knew something was wrong with her heart. “My heart would go wild and start pounding for no good reason,” she said. “I went to the doctor many times and they gave me medicine but nothing stopped the pounding.”
“I knew something was wrong,” Sayers said. “I could see my heart pounding through the fabric of my shirt. It was terrifying.” During a visit to the emergency room, her husband, James, insisted on further investigation. Thankfully, the physician working with Sayers agreed. “He suspected something was wrong and he said he would get to the root of it.”
And he did. Shortly after that visit, Sayers was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. She received her first pacemaker and was given medication to help with her condition. In June 2015, she needed an upgraded pacemaker and more medication. Still, Sayers did not feel like herself. “I was on so many medications, my stomach hurt,” she said. “I felt vaguely sick all the time. All I could do was sit.”
All that changed when Sayers was referred to MidMichigan Health’s Heart Failure Clinic. Continue reading.
Every medication prescribed by a physician has undergone rigorous testing through clinical trials prior to approval by the Food & Drug Administration. Without this testing, life-saving effects could not be made available to the general public. MidMichigan Health’s Cardiovascular Research Department is helping to make this testing possible.
By participating in clinical research trials, volunteers like Donald Hartz of Midland help to further advancements in medical therapy and technologies.
The trial in which Hartz participates in is investigating the effects of long-term treatment with a particular weight loss medication among patients who have had heart issues. He joined the trial in December 2014. So far, he has not had any cardiac-related concerns during the trial and he’s lost weight. The trial is ongoing and Hartz will continue to participate.
“It’s been interesting,” Hartz said. “Since it is a double-blind study, I don’t know if I’m getting the real medication or a placebo. In fact, no one knows. I take the pill twice a day as instructed.” Continue reading.