Newsletter November/December 2012 Download a PDF version When Aaron Connors grows up, he won’t look at an acorn the way most people do. That because Aaron, now 3, will surely hear from his parents, Sara and Jeremy, how he had open heart surgery just days after his premature birth, when his heart, according to WVU pediatric heart surgeon Robert Gustafson, MD, was “the size of an acorn.” Aaron and his twin, Ryan, both spent days in the NICU with other premies, but only Aaron arrived with a serious congenital heart problem, Tetralogy of Fallot. With Aaron’s strength failing and his weight down to three pounds, surgery could no longer be postponed and the Connors feared the worst. But as they watched Aaron’s medical team prepare him for surgery, Sarah said to her husband, “They haven’t given up, so we shouldn’t give up either.” West Virginia has only one pediatric heart surgeon, and it’s been the state’s good fortune that he is nationally renowned for his exceptional skill and commitment. Dr. Gustafson has operated on thousands of young patients, and in many of their households his nickname, Doctor Gus, is near legendary. “Our family is complete because of Doctor Gus,” Sarah says. Today, Aaron’s heart is considered fully repaired. He continues to be followed by Children’s Hospital’s outstanding team of pediatric cardiologists, led by Larry Rhodes, MD, who is also acting chair for the department of pediatrics and Children’s Hospital’s physician in chief. Children’s itself is experiencing some growing pains, though. Located on the sixth floor of WVU Ruby Memorial, Children’s Hospital is at or near capacity nearly every day. “We never want to have to turn away a patient who needs our help. The demand is growing all the time, and we need to grow,” Dr. Rhodes says. A major Expansion Campaign has begun, with a goal of raising at least $25 million to add needed rooms and medical facilities. On February 9, 2013, Children’s held its popular annual Gala, with live music by En Vogue. Read more about Aaron’s story, the Gala, and the Expansion Campaign, visit wvukids.com. WVU Children’s Hospital is located on the sixth floor of Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. WVU Heart Institute Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. When these arteries become narrow because of plaque buildup or other factors, the condition is called coronary heart disease (CHD). To diagnose or treat CHD, your doctor may need to access your coronary arteries with a minimally invasive procedure called cardiac catheterization. Cardiac catheterization is done in the hospital while you are awake. It involves passing a catheter through the body’s arteries to reach the heart. Traditionally, the catheter is placed in an artery in the groin and threaded up through the body. WVU Heart Institute cardiologists are now using a new transradial procedure that allows catheter access through arteries in the wrist. The radial artery in the wrist is an excellent point of entry for a heart catheter and offers significant benefits, including: decreased risk of complications, including bleeding (this is especially true for women and older patients) minimized risk of nerve damage faster recovery time after the procedure improved patient comfort and satisfaction Patients who have a transradial (wrist) cardiac catheterization can usually return to work or other activities that same day because there is no need to lie flat for 4 to 6 hours following the procedure like there is for femoral (groin) artery catheterization. WVU Heart Institute physicians are using transradial access for cardiac catheterization procedures the majority of the time. For more information: 304-598-4478. WVU Heart Institute is operated by WVU Hospitals. Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center / Otolaryngology What are head and neck cancers? Head and neck cancers include cancers of the nose, sinuses, oral cavity, throat, larynx, thyroid, salivary glands and skin in the head and neck region. Approximately 1 in 10,000 people will develop a head or neck cancer. However, more than 90% of these cancers are considered preventable. What are some common symptoms of this type of disease? Head and neck cancers can cause a wide range of symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms include a neck mass or lump, swollen lymph nodes, persistent hoarseness, persistent swallowing difficulties, or bleeding from the throat or nose. How can you avoid getting this type of cancer? The most common causes of head and neck cancer are tobacco use, both chewing and smoking; alcohol abuse, especially combined with tobacco use; and human papillomavirus (HPV). Behavioral changes, such as quitting smoking, can reduce or eliminate the risk of getting this type of cancer. The HPV vaccine should also be considered as protection against HPV because this virus can cause head and neck cancer. What other advice would you give people? The unfortunate thing about head and neck cancers is that they often go undetected in the early stages. My advice to any person who has any persistent symptoms of this disease (symptoms that don’t get better after 2 weeks or so), is to seek medical attention from a primary care doctor or a general practice otolaryngologist. Otolaryngologists have advanced tools that enable them to see areas of the nose and throat to get a better sense of what might be causing your symptoms. Other advice is to visit your dentist regularly. Dentists can often detect early changes in your mouth and throat when the disease is less advanced. Of course, the best advice I can give anyone is to not use any form of tobacco. More than 90% of head and neck cancers are caused by tobacco use. People who do not use tobacco are at much less risk for getting this type of disease. For more information: 304-598-4825. Head and neck cancer services are operated by WVU Hospitals. Sleeth Family Medicine Center As an academic medical center, WVU Healthcare offers highly trained, board-certified physicians to treat virtually every medical condition. However, when you see many different doctors to address different medical needs, it is important that all of your care is coordinated across all services. WVU Healthcare primary care physicians are your patient-centered “team leaders,” focused solely on your healthcare needs. We work with you to coordinate your care throughout the WVU Healthcare system. The Sleeth Family Medicine Center is the Medical Home base for many WVU Healthcare patients, providing the highest quality primary care. As your medical home, the Sleeth Family Medicine Center ensures that you will be at the center of a coordinated team that includes many healthcare professionals, your family members (if you wish), and others committed to ensuring the best service for you. We help our patients manage all aspects of their health needs, including visits to medical specialists, in-hospital care and follow-up care after discharge; home health services; and more. To help your primary care physicians know your most important healthcare concerns, you may want to bring a checklist to your appointment. Make a list of your health questions. Put the questions that are the most important to you at the top of the list. Make a list of other healthcare providers you have visited, especially those outside the WVU Healthcare system. * Note the reasons you visited them. Bring a list of all your medications, including prescription, over-the counter, natural, and herbal medicines and vitamins. If you wish, ask a family member or trusted friend to go with you. Being an informed and involved patient helps us provide you and your family with the best medical care for all stages of life. For more information: 304-598-6900. Sleeth Family Medicine Center is operated by WVU Hospitals. Cheat Lake Physicians Good nutrition results in better health, leading to improved quality of life. Even small changes in diet can have significant health benefits. According to the CDC, most chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are preventable. Cheat Lake Physicians now offers nutrition counseling to help patients achieve better overall health and avoid chronic health issues. Nutrition Counselor Heather Dyson, MS, RD, LD, works individually with each patient. Nutrition counseling sessions involve: Assessing nutritional needs through medical history, lab results, diet and weight history, and current lifestyle factors Assisting patients in developing personalized meal options and menu planning Equipping patients with techniques to initiate and stay on track with their nutrition plan Through personalized nutrition counseling, patients and their families are able to improve their diets. Children especially can benefit from this service by learning to develop healthy eating habits and food preferences. One parent’s choice to adopt healthier eating habits can have a positive lifelong impact on a child’s health. Nutrition counseling and diet education is valuable for the management of various health issues, including: Diabetes Heart disease Hypertension High cholesterol Irritable bowel syndrome Kidney disease Food allergies Pregnancy/lactation Feeding problems Special diets (ADHD, Crohn’s, etc.) Overall healthy eating For appointments: 304-594-1313 Neurology Nearly one in seven people is diagnosed with a movement disorder–like Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome and restless legs syndrome–which originates deep in the brains of children and adults and may include excessive, involuntary movements or reduced movements. The cause is often unknown, but genetics, environmental factors, brain injury, or medication side effects may be possible causes. Although not life threatening, they can significantly impair a person’s ability to function. WVU Healthcare movement disorder specialist Dr. Annie Killoran completes a thorough evaluation of each patient to ensure the most accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. While they are not curable, treatment is aimed at improving quality of life, minimizing symptoms, and maximizing independence. Dr. Killoran works with WVU experts from all related fields, including neurosurgery, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, physical and occupational therapy, and otolaryngology to help patients regain optimal control of their bodies. Many patients can find significant relief with medications, surgery, and physical therapy. For more information: 304-598-6127. Movement Disorders services are operated by WVU Hospitals. Chestnut Ridge Center 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Chestnut Ridge Center is West Virginia’s leading regional referral center for the treatment of mental health and addiction issues. We’re proud to provide more than 50,000 outpatient and partial hospitalization treatment visits each year and over 17,000 in-patient treatment days in a safe and nurturing environment. Our treatment is tailored to the needs of each individual patient: Specialized programs for adults, adolescents, and children Intensive outpatient care for substance abuse Assertive Community Treatment for severe, recurrent mental illness Telepsychiatry services via video conferencing for patients in distant areas of the state Since 1987, the faculty of the WVU Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, along with the professional staff of Chestnut Ridge Center, have helped thousands of people develop emotional wellness. For more information: 304-598-6400. Chestnut Ridge Center was recently expanded to serve a growing patient population. Chestnut Ridge Center is operated by WVU Hospitals. MyWVUChart WVU Healthcare Electronic Medical Records Your primary care medical team has access to your complete WVU Healthcare medical record, including all your visits to any WVU Healthcare medical professional, via secure, electronic medical records. Our patients can sign up for MyWVUChart at wvuhealthcare.com or at any WVU Healthcare physician office upon check out. MyWVUChart is a free, easy, and secure way to view your health information, including your lab and test results, current prescriptions, and upcoming appointments. You can also communicate directly with your healthcare team via secure e-mail. All you need is Internet access and e-mail to enroll.