well az THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC A SPECIAL PUBLICATION CREATED BY REPUBLIC MEDIA CUSTOM PUBLISHING IN THIS ISSUE: HEALTHCARE NEWS YOU CAN USE FOR YOUR WHOLE FAMILY - Vol. 3, No. 11 November 2013 High-tech COVER/06: HIGH-TECH SURGERY 02: AFFORDABLE CARE ACT 03: DIABETES AND EYE CARE 04: SUPPORT GROUPS/TOP EVENTS 05: SUPPORT GROUPS/INFO ONLINE 07: SAFETY WITH TATTOOS AND PIERCINGS SURGICAL advancements HEALTHCARE News State-of-the-art technologies speed healing, reduce risk and produce excellent results ABRAZO HEALTH CARE BY DEBRA GELBART Patricia Ames, Ph.D., director, Abrazo Health Clinical & Translational Research Institute, and Venkatesh G. Ramaiah, M.D., FACS, vascular and endovascular surgeon, go over results of one of Abrazo’s clinical trials. Clinical trials Abrazo research group focuses on cardiovascular clinical trials Abrazo Health Clinical & Translational Research Institute in Phoenix has only been in existence for about 2.5 years, and already, 104 clinical trials have been supported by the Institute. Most of Abrazo’s trials are Phase II and III trials, with Phase I clinical trials designed to establish the safety of new treatments, while the next phases determine effectiveness through increasingly larger patient populations of volunteers. RICK D’ELIA BY DEBRA GELBART Estelle Ellington was the first patient to receive a transplant using the “Lung in a Box” technique at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. She and her husband Henry came to Phoenix from Hawaii for the surgery. The Valley is home to a wealth of high-tech healthcare. Here is just a small sampling of the latest advancements in some high-profile procedures. Expanding clinical research Important investigations About 80 percent of Abrazo’s clinical trials are cardiovascular-focused, in partnership with Abrazo Health Care’s network of six Valley hospitals. Other studies focus on topics including women’s health issues and wound care, Ames said. One study is investigating whether heart patients with poorly controlled angina (chest pain) can be helped by having their own stem cells injected directly into their heart muscle. The Institute is one of many sites across the country where this study is being conducted, Ames said. Researchers also are delving into whether a new drug can minimize the risk of strokes and heart attacks in patients with peripheral artery disease, Ames said. In addition, researchers are looking at the efficacy of a new flexible stent’s effectiveness in treating narrowing of arteries. Another study is examining whether a new kind of stent, when inserted into the abdomen, can help repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm (a ballooning of the aorta that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs). New clinical trials are opening all the time to investigate new devices, Ames said. More info abrazohealth.com/services/ClinicalResearch or 602-604-5270 Lung transplantation with organs no longer kept on ice. Single-incision robotic gynecological surgery. When we think of organ transplantation, we often think of the organs being kept in a cooler during transport. In May of this year, then-53-year-old Estelle Ellington of Hawaii became the first patient to undergo a doublelung transplant at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix with the help of a new organpreservation system that keeps donor lungs viable longer during transport. Michael Smith, M.D., surgical director of lung transplantation at St. Joseph’s, explained that during transit, oxygen and blood are delivered to the donor lungs in a plastic, see-through chamber through a device similar to a heart-lung machine. The donor lungs are kept at body temperature even while in transit, Smith said. “Preliminary data suggests this method of organ preservation is better than the traditional method,” he said, adding that St. Joseph’s is one of only five hospitals in the U.S. chosen to participate in a clinical trial comparing the two methods. “With the traditional method, the organs start to lose viability outside the body after approximately six hours,” he said. “With the new Organ Care System, there isn’t that limitation, so organs may be able to be brought to a patient from much farther away, if necessary.” This could be a “game-changer,” he said, “because it opens up a world of possibility for our recipients.” The da Vinci robotic surgical system has assisted with laparoscopic gynecological surgeries (through the belly button) for several years, reducing bleeding and dramatically minimizing recovery time compared with traditional surgery. Earlier versions of the robot help the surgeon by making five tiny incisions. In August, Phoenix gynecological surgeon Ivor Benjamin, M.D., performed a single-incision laparoscopic surgery with the da Vinci robot, one of the first such surgeries in the Southwest. The lone incision in the belly button allows for an even faster recovery, less scarring and less chance of infection, Benjamin said. The single-incision robotic system can also assist with other gynecological procedures such as removal of ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids, Benjamin said. ST. JOSEPH’S HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTER The Institute was established “with the purpose of supporting clinical research throughout Abrazo’s entire network, including hospitals and the ambulatory care service areas,” said Patricia Ames, Ph.D., director, Abrazo Health Clinical & Translational Research Institute. Abrazo’s physicians and nurses work with pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers to study the effectiveness of new drugs and devices in patient volunteers. A few Ph.D. students are conducting their own research, too, Ames said. “We also work with institutions such as Arizona State University to conduct clinical research. In addition, we have world-class physicians developing their own research protocols.” Treatment for heart-rhythm problems that minimizes radiation exposure. Eradicating atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm in the heart’s upper chambers, and implanting a pacemaker are two examples of procedures that may be needed when patients experience heart rhythm problems. These procedures typically require continuous X-ray imaging called fluoroscopy. But a new technique used by electrophysiologist Mark Seifert, M.D., at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital in Phoenix reduces the exposure to radiation during these procedures. Until now this technique wasn’t available for implantation of cardiac rhythm devices. Using the MediGuide system, a single brief baseline image is taken of the patient. Then, a sensor one-tenth the size of the head of a pin is embedded inside the catheter, wire or device lead inserted into a vein to reach the area of the heart being treated. The sensor travels across that image and is visualized on the mapping system without additional fluoroscopic imaging, guiding the physician to the correct location of the problem. Continued on page 6 HIGH-TECH SURGERY Michael Smith, M.D. (left); Samad Hashimi, M.D. (right); and Kate Varsch (rear), lung transplant nurse coordinator, prepare Ellington’s new lungs before transplantation.