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VOLUME II, ISSUE 2

INSIDE

THIS

ISSUE

ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY Q&A

2

CHECKING SYMPTOMS ONLINE

4

PREVENTING SKIN CANCER

5

ASK THE DOCTOR

7

NEW CAFE 4 AT ST. CLAIR HOSPITAL

9

REVOLUTIONARY CARDIAC ASSIST DEVICE

10

SLEEP DISORDERS LAB

11

Thoracic Surgery Patients BENEFIT FROM EXPERIENCED CAREGIVERS

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT IN TOP FIVE P CENT

S

t. Clair Hospital’s new Emergency Room (ER) is being received

extremely well by patients whose positive comments on their treatment there have propelled the ER into the top 5 percent nationwide for patient satisfaction. Survey results tabulated by Press Ganey, a national research firm, showed that the ER was ranked better than 95 percent of ERs across the country that treat 50,000 or more patients per year. CONTINUED ON PAGE 8

I

n July of 2007, David Brown of Bethel Park went to his

DAVID BROWN AND HIS WIFE OF 52 YEARS, MARY LOU.

doctor for a routine physical. At the time, the then 70-year-old ex-Marine was feeling relatively fine. He remembers

thinking, though, that he might be coming down with a mild cold because he was repeatedly clearing his throat. He mentioned the nagging throat clearing to his doctor. And, he told him, every now and then he spit up a little blood, too. Concerned, the doctor wrote an order for a chest x-ray for Brown, who had the test done at St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center in Bethel Park, walking distance from his home on Highland Road. Clinicians at the Outpatient Center contacted Brown’s primary care physician just hours after his visit. The chest x-ray showed a spot on his left lung. Additional tests CONTINUED ON PAGE 6


St. Clair Hospital’s or thopedic surgeons represent one of the

largest

Orthopedic Surgery Q & A

O

rthopedic surgery is one of the fastest growing types of surgery at St. Clair Hospital and at hospitals across the nation.

As people live longer and are more active, conditions with the musculoskeletal system can increase. Modern surgical techniques help patients restore range of motion, ease pain and return to normal activities. HouseCall consulted with three of the Hospital’s distinguished orthopedic surgeons – Jon B. Tucker, M.D., John M. Gibbons, M.D., and Derrick J. Fluhme, M.D. – to learn more about the world of orthopedics at St. Clair. HouseCall: What are some of the most common orthopedic procedures being performed at St. Clair Hospital? Dr. Gibbons: Arthroscopy, joint replacement and fracture

including nurses, operating room technicians and program managers to ensure and promote the highest quality patient care.

care. The orthopedic department takes care of a wide range of

HouseCall: What are the latest trends in orthopedic surgery?

musculoskeletal conditions. We care for the whole family, from

Dr. Fluhme: For the shoulder, it is rotator cuff and labral

the child who falls off a swingset to the grandmother who falls in

repairs. For the knee, it is refining ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)

the kitchen. We care for highly conditioned athletes and aging

tissue reconstruction. And all of these are performed

athletes who are striving to stay active. For patients suffering

arthroscopically. As for joint reconstruction, the trend is

from arthritis, we perform a large number of joint replacements,

alternative bearing surfaces such as ceramics, metal implants

often using newer, less invasive techniques.

and plastics, which extend prosthesis longevity.

Dr. Fluhme: Arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee. And total joint replacements of the hip and knee. HouseCall: Why should patients elect to have their orthopedic surgery at St. Clair? Dr. Tucker: St. Clair Hospital and its orthopedic surgeons represent one of the largest and most talented pools of joint

Dr. Tucker: St. Clair is committed to adopting innovative new procedures and our surgeons can properly identify patients who will benefit from a new trend. HouseCall: What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in orthopedic surgery over the last five years? Dr. Gibbons: Over the last five years we have seen

reconstruction specialists in the state. The surgeons who make

improvements in materials, design and manufacturing of knee

St. Clair their primary location for elective work are experts in

and hip replacement implants. Alternative bearings have become

repair of shoulder ligament and rotator cuff injuries, advanced

standard for many young active patients undergoing joint

soft tissue reconstruction for prior failed shoulder surgeries,

replacement. Less invasive techniques and options have become

including shoulder joint replacement, and reversed total shoulder

more commonplace. There also have been significant advances

replacements. The surgeons also have expertise and depth of

in techniques for repairing fractures. More fractures can be

talent in total hip replacements and all types of knee replacement,

stabilized through surgery to allow early motion of the joint and

including minimal incision total knee replacement and minimally

speed the recovery process.

invasive Oxford™ partial knee replacement. What is also key is hiring, training and retaining the best possible clinical staff, 2

Dr. Tucker: We are commited to standardized hospital treatment protocols that reduce medical errors and


a n d m o s t t a l e n t e d p o o l s o f joi n t r e co n s t r u c t i o n s p e c i a l i s t s i n t h e s t a t e.

JOHN M. GIBBONS, M. D. Dr. Gibbons holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, from Harvard University and University of Massachusetts. He earned his medical degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York City. Dr. Gibbons completed an internship in general surgery and a residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York City. His professional training also includes a fellowship in Knee Reconstruction and Sports Medicine at Insall Scott Kelly Institute, Beth Israel Medical Center-North, New York City. Dr. Gibbons is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

DERRICK J. FLUHME, M. D. complications and keep infections to a minimal level. There also have been major changes in joint replacement and the demand for joint replacement services over the last five years. And there has been an increased use of alternative high-tech implant materials that have greater promise to extend the life of knee and hip implants. HouseCall: How do these new techniques and changes benefit patients? Dr. Fluhme: Arthroscopic surgery equals less discomfort, earlier mobility and the potential for quicker recovery and a return to function, including sports. Dr. Gibbons: We are able to achieve results that are reproducible and consistent. Some of the newer techniques and implants allow patients to recover faster, function at a higher level, or minimize the chances of running into a complication. HouseCall: Why is it important for orthopedic patients to undergo a pre-surgery class? Dr. Tucker: Pre-surgery orientation classes are vital. The classes help reduce anxiety about the surgery. It’s important that planning for major joint reconstructive surgery involve patients and their immediate families. It gives them a chance, prior to surgery, to select and arrange for post-hospital care,

Dr. Fluhme earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, from the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University School of Medicine. He was awarded his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, and a fellowship at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic, Department of Sports Medicine, Los Angeles. Dr. Fluhme is a former Fellow Team Physician with the Los Angeles Lakers, Dodgers, Kings and Sparks. He is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

JON B. TUCKER, M. D. Dr. Tucker holds an A.B. degree from Duke University in North Carolina. He earned his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He completed his internship in general surgery, residency in Orthopedic Surgery and a fellowship in Sports Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Tucker has served as Team Physician, United States Maccabiah Delegation, 14th World Games in Israel. He is boardcertified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

such as rehabilitation and physical therapy and home care providers, all of which are important to a rapid recovery. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

3


S t .

C l a i r ’ s

n e w

o n l i n e

H e a l t h

H

G u i d e

h e l p s

u s e r s

EALTHY INFO

St. Clair Hospital

ONLINE The site allows a user to point and click to the area of the symptom on a map of the body.

ST. CLAIR HOSPITAL’S HEALTH GUIDE FEATURES AN

Online Interactive Health Symptom Checker

H

ave a nagging symptom but can’t quite figure out

treatment by calling 911 or to contact his or her physician for

what is wrong? Then plug it into the Interactive Health

advice on how to proceed.

Symptom Checker at St. Clair Hospital’s Web site, www.stclair.org. The Symptom Checker lets a user point and click on an anatomical map of the body in the area where the symptom

is exhibiting itself.

To get to the Symptom Checker from the home page of www.stclair.org, just click on the Health Guide tab at the top, then the Symptom Checker button on the right side of the page. The information found on St. Clair Hospital’s Health Guide is

The Symptom Checker is very simple to use. Click on the head

provided in partnership with Healthwise, a leading provider of

and a host of topics appears, including: Confusion, Memory Loss

consumer health content for hospitals and health plans across

and Altered Alertness; Dizziness – Lightheadedness and Vertigo;

the United States.

Head Injuries (broken down by age of the patient); Headaches. Click on “Headaches” and a list of symptoms related to

In addition to Symptom Checker, Health Guide includes a health topics library, information on prescription and

headaches comes up for matching with the user’s symptom.

non-prescription medications, and a series of interactive tools

From there, the user can explore a list of potential health

and quizzes. It is intended to help users make more informed

conditions that might be causing the symptom and a

health care decisions and develop practical health

recommendation on whether to seek immediate emergency

management strategies.

4


m a k e

m o r e

i n f o r m e d

h e a l t h

c a r e

d e c i s i o n s .

Tips to Avoid Skin Cancer

E

ach year, 1 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

A primary cause of skin cancer: exposure to ultraviolet radiation

There are three types of skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation: •

from the sun.

Themostcommonformofskincancer.

HouseCall asked Dr. Jason G. Whalen, a board-certified dermatologist

Itisrarelyfatal,butcanbedisfiguringif

with Mt. Lebanon Dermatology, P.C., for some simple tips people can follow to better their odds against developing skin cancer:

leftuntreated. •

• Have annual skin cancer screenings by a dermatologist,

cancer.Itcanspreadtootherpartsofthe bodyandkillssome2,500peopleayear.

• See a dermatologist if you spot any concerning skin lesions such as new

• Prevent blistering sunburns • Always use a high quality sunscreen (SPF 15-30, broad spectrum

Squamous cell Thesecondmostcommonformofskin

particularly if there is a family history of skin cancer

or changing spots, or moles that have changed in shape or color

Basal cell carcinoma

Melanoma Lesscommonthanbasalcellandsquamous cell,butthemostdeadly.TheSkinCancer Foundationsaysmelanomaaccountsfor3

UVA/UVB, water resistant) and apply it liberally and correctly

percentofskincancercasesbut75percent

(15-20 minutes before sun exposure; re-apply every two hours or

ofskincancerdeaths.

after swimming/sweating) • Do not use tanning beds “Like so many other cancers, the key to beating skin cancer is early detection,” Dr. Whalen said. “The most important thing to watch for is new or changing lesions. If you have a new spot or something that is changing, you should be seen by a professional. And any change is important, be it itching, burning, bigger, bleeding. Symptomatic lesions come in different shapes, sizes and colors. Black and pink, in particular, are concerning.”

JASON G. WHALEN,M. D. Dr. Whalen earned his medical degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He completed his internship at the former Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh and his residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Department of Dermatology. He is boardcertified in dermatology.

5


St.

Clair

board-cer tif ied

surgeons

per form

more

than

300

procedu res

Dr. Maley said Brown is fortunate in that a chest x-ray detected his lung cancer – the leading cancer DAVID BROWN, LUNG CANCER SURVIVOR

killer of American

Two years post surgery, Brown does not need supplemental oxygen and continues to work in his well manicured yard and chase after his 7-pound, 12-year-old Chihuahua, Abby.

men and women in the United States. David Brown

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

revealed the diagnosis: Stage 2 squamous cell lung cancer. It wasn’t long before the retired airline employee had surgery

early stage lung cancer,” Dr. Maley said. Chest x-rays are simply not sensitive enough to detect lung

to remove his entire left lung. He spent eight days in St. Clair

cancer in its earliest, most cureable stages, he said, adding that

Hospital, the first five of which were in Intensive Care.

having patients spit into a cup and looking for cancer cells in

“He had absolutely terrific care at St. Clair,” recalled Mary Lou, Brown’s wife of 52 years. “The people in Intensive Care were

the sputum sample has not proven very effective either. Despite the limitations of chest x-rays for detecting lung

wonderful. I could call them for information. I could come in.

cancer in its earliest stages, it usually is a chest x-ray that ends

They would tell me everything.”

up revealing the cancer. In Brown’s case, a chest x-ray also

Brown later underwent chemotherapy to rid his body of any remaining cancer cells. Two years later, Brown is cancer

revealed an abdominal aneurysm, which required surgery almost one year to the date of the lung cancer surgery.

free and credits his thoracic surgeon, Richard H. Maley, Jr., M.D.,

“As it turns out, our most cureable patients are the ones

with helping save his life. “I thought Dr. Maley was very qualified,”

who had chest x-rays before routine surgery – such as cataract

Mrs. Brown said. “He explained everything before and after the

removal – and their doctors notice a spot on the lung,” Dr. Maley

surgery. And it was all in layman’s terms and very detailed. He

said, adding additional tests and biopsies are used to confirm

also explained what David should expect during his recovery.

that it is cancer.

And what I should expect as a caregiver.” Dr. Maley said Brown is fortunate in that a chest x-ray

As a thoracic subspecialist, Dr. Maley also performs surgery on patients suffering from esophageal cancer and other

detected his lung cancer – the leading cancer killer of American

malignancies, as well as benign diseases of the chest including

men and women in the United States. “Lung cancer is so deadly

gastroesophageal reflux, hiatal hernia and lung infections, but

because in its early stages it is asymptomatic (does not have

his typical thoracic patient is a 60-to 90-year-old person suffering

symptoms) and, to date, there is no really good screening test for

from lung cancer. “A lot of them are ex-smokers, with a history of

6


annually

many

using

minimally

invasive

techniques.

smoking at least one pack of cigarettes a day for at least 20 years.”

ASK THE

Brown fits squarely into that category. He started smoking at age 19 in

DOCTOR

the U.S. Marine Corps and continued the habit for two decades before quitting. Over the next three decades he limited himself to the occasional cigar. But the damage had been done. Two years post surgery, Brown – a familiar face to a lot of South Hills residents due to his longtime involvement with his son, Matt, in area baseball and football programs – does not need supplemental oxygen and continues to work in his well-manicured yard and chase after his 7-pound, 12-year-old Chihuahua, Abby. He also exercises by walking the hilly streets of his neighborhood and the hallways of South Hills Village mall when the weather is not cooperating.

DR. BUONOCORE

Q: A:

What affect does diabetes mellitus have on the organs of the body? –May Whitcomb, Brentwood Diabetes mellitus is a health concern because

of its impact on the organs of the body. Elevated blood sugar has been shown to damage blood vessels and prevent the normal regulation of blood flow to tissues.

Mrs. Brown said she thinks he looks 10 years younger than he did

Glucose can also bind to proteins and enzymes in the

before the surgery. “You have to be very grateful considering everything he

body organs, chemically altering their function. These

went through. I think he is doing very well.”

changes occur throughout the body when diabetes is

Dr. Maley and his partner, Mathew Van Deusen, M.D., perform more than 300 procedures a year, including operations using minimally invasive techniques. “You can’t get better lung surgery in any hospital in this city than at St. Clair Hospital,” Dr. Maley said.

uncontrolled. Diabetics may experience loss of vision and damage to nerve or kidney function. Atherosclerosis in the form of heart disease or stroke is also increased in diabetics and is the leading cause of death. Numerous studies have shown that improving blood sugar control helps prevent organ damage and might even reverse existing eye, nerve or kidney damage. Correction of high cholesterol and high blood pressure with medication, along with improving blood glucose control, has been shown to decrease heart disease and stroke. Limiting carbohydrates, sweets, and fast food, along

RICHARD H. MALEY, JR., M. D. Dr. Maley earned his medical degree at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and completed his residency in general surgery at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. He also completed a fellowship in Trauma /Critical Care at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Maley completed his residency in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and a fellowship in thoracic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City. He is board-certified by The American Board of Surgery.

with regular exercise, can help reduce organ damage. The vast majority of diabetics do, however, require oral medications or insulin to optimize diabetes control. This issue’s Ask The Doctor question was answered by Camille M. Buonocore, M.D., Medical Director, St. Clair Hospital Diabetes Center. She is a board-certified endocrinologist and holds specialty certification in Endocrinology and Metabolism and with the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Buonocore earned her medical degree at SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York. She completed her medical internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she also was a fellow in Endocrinology/ Metabolism. The Diabetes Center is located at St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center, 2000 Oxford Drive, Bethel Park. 412.942.2151. Have a question for a doctor? Send your question for the Ask The Doctor column to St. Clair Hospital, c/o Public Relations Dept., 1000 Bower Hill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15243 or e-mail it to publicrelations@stclair.org. Please include contact information.

7


Visitors to St. Clair Hospital can enjoy a fresh meal, access free Wi- Fi

TOP FIVE P

CENT

IN PATIENT SATISFACTION NATIONWIDE. Patients say we’re Fast

Theaveragewaittimeforapatienttobetaken toatreatmentroomhasbeenreducedfrom

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

ER patients were polled on a host of topics, ranging from speed and quality of service, to how likely they were to recommend St. Clair’s ER.

49 to 4 minutes. Theaveragewaittimetoseeadoctordropped from76 to 28 minutes.Andtheaveragetimefrom entrytodischargewasreducedbymorethananhour.

Patients say we’re Kind

ER is in Top 5% Nationwide

The Hospital’s new $13.5 million ER made its debut in December, promising area residents that it would not only be newer, but better and faster. David Kish, Executive Director, Emergency Department Services and Patient Logistics, credited the Top 5 percent ranking to the

Ourlevelofcarehascontinuallyrisenandis rankedamongthebestcomparedtootherhospitals. Patientsurveyssay… Nursespaidattentiontoourneeds:Top 1%

conscientious efforts of physicians, nurses and other staff working in concert to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes. “None of this would be possible unless the caregiver at bedside is committed to making the best patient experience occur each and every

Familyandfriendsweretreatedwithcourtesy:Top 2%

time,” Kish said, adding that his department’s goal is to be ranked in

Thestaffcaredaboutthepatientasaperson:Top 2%

the Top 1 percent nationwide for patient satisfaction. The ER was one of the first departments at St. Clair to undergo

Patients say we’re Bett

OverallpatientsatisfactionintheERhasclimbed dramatically.Rankedbetterthan61%ofhospitals nationwidein2008,wenowareamongtheTop 5%

in the country.

8

specialized training focusing on methods in which employees can improve processes that affect quality and patient satisfaction.


and relax in comfort at the new Cafe 4 and its soft-seating area.

Everything’s fresh at the new Café 4

P

ipinghot,freshgroundgourmet coffeesprepared byspeciallytrainedbaristas.Soupsmade

fromstock.Saladspiledhighwithfreshvegetables smotheredinsecretrecipesaladdressing.Made-to-order sandwichesandpaninis. Thosearejustafewofthedeliciousitemscustomers areenjoyingatSt.ClairHospital’snewCafé4. SinceitsopeninginlateJuneintheHospital’snewly renovatedFourthFloorLobby,customershavebeen relaxingovermealsatthecafé’scomfortableboothsand tables,whilewarmweatherenthusiastshavebeen diningalfrescoontheadjoiningpatio. Manycustomershavealsobeentaking advantage

A VIEW OF THE NEW CAFÉ 4

surfingtheInternet ontheirlaptopsandsmartphones. Café4isopentothepublicandoperatesfrom 6a.m.to8p.m.sevendaysaweek.

ofanew“softseating”areajustoutsidetheinterior

TheHospital’spopularGiftShop,nexttoCafé4and

entranceway toCafé4.FeaturingfreeWi-Fiaccess,

operatedbytheHospitalAuxiliary,hasalsobeenrenovated.

theareahasprovenparticularlypopularwithvisitors

ItisopenM- F,9a.m. - 8p.m.andS - Su,9a.m. - 4p.m.

FOURTH FLOOR LOBBY RENOVATION. On the heels of opening its new Emergency Department, St. Clair Hospital unveiled its renovated Fourth Floor Lobby on July 15. The lobby includes the new Café 4 (top right), featuring free Wi-Fi in a soft seating area (bottom left), a new Gift Shop and the Dunlap Conference Center (bottom right). The redesigned space also includes a comfortable seating area for discharged patients awaiting transportation home. The $2.5 million Lobby renovation project was supported through a partnership with Cura, a division of the Eat n’ Park Hospitality Group, and a generous gift from Anna N. and Edward B. Dunlap and family, whose caring and generosity have benefited St. Clair Hospital and the entire South Hills community.

9


St. Clair

is

one

of

the

f irst Pittsburgh-area

hospitals

to use

the new

New device revolutionizes heart procedures

P

atients whose hearts are often too weak to withstand a cardiac catheterization procedure – such as angioplasty – are getting support from a new cardiac assist device available at St. Clair Hospital. TheImpella2.5isaminimallyinvasivedevice thathelpsfragileheartspumpbloodoutoftheheart

orevendays,ifthepatientneedsit. Balaschak saysSt.Clairisoneofthefirsthospitals inthegreaterPittsburghareatousetheImpellaand “willcontinuetouseitwithappropriatecandidates.” Dr.WaheedsaysusingtheImpellaattheHospital isanotherexampleofSt.Clair’sexpertiseinheartcare. “Ourcardiovascularcentertreatspatientswith exceptionalcare,”hesays.

andthroughthebody.Thedeviceisinsertedthrough asmallarterypunctureandisfedintotheleftventricle oftheheart.Itcanpumpupto2.5litersofblood perminute. “IntheCathLab,weneedgood(blood)outputwhile doingproceduressuchasplacingstentsinbloodvessels,” saysShawnBalaschak,R.N.,BSN,manageroftheCardiac CatheterizationLabandElectrophysiologyDepartment. Balaschakcitedthecaseofarecentfemalepatient whoprovedthe“perfectcandidate”forthedevice.The patientneededtohaveanangioplastyprocedureinwhich asmallballoonisusedtoopenablockedheartvessel. Thatisoftenfollowedbyplacingastentinthevesselto keepthevesselfromcollapsingandchokingoffthe bloodsupply. “Butthepatientonlyhadonegoodvesselleftonthe heartandwasnotacandidateforsurgery,”Balaschak recalls.“Herheartwasjusttooweak.” Giventhepatient’scondition,St.Claircardiologists Drs.LeonardG.GehlandAdilWaheedperformedthe surgicalprocedureusingtheImpella. “ Theprocedureworkedoutverywell,”Shawnsays, addingtheImpellawasremovedimmediatelyfollowing theprocedure,butcanremaininplaceforseveralhours, 10

DR. ADIL WAHEED, D. O. Dr. Waheed earned his bachelor’s degree at Gannon University, Erie, and his medical degree at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his internship at the former St. Francis Central Hospital and his residency in internal medicine at the former St. Francis Medical Center, Pittsburgh. Dr. Waheed completed a fellowship in Cardiology and Interventional Cardiology at Deborah Heart and Lung Center, New Jersey. He is board-certified in Cardiology by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine and in Internal Medicine by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine.


Impella device to help fragile hearts withstand cardiac catheterization.

KAREN GANNON ‘SCORES’ A PATIENT’S SLEEP TEST.

A SLEEP LAB PATIENT IS PREPARED FOR TESTING.

The St. Clair Hospital Sleep Disorders Center

M

ost Americans would probably agree that we live in a sleep-deprived society.

Between work, school, caring for aging parents and ferrying

“When someone is tired and can’t sleep for whatever reason, it is very disruptive to all aspects of their lives,” Gannon says. About 40 percent of Sleep Lab patients are diagnosed with

children back and forth to sporting events and various social

obstructive sleep apnea, a serious condition in which a person

activities, most of us are not getting the amount of sleep or

repeatedly stops breathing while sleeping, resulting in a host

quality of sleep that we need to stay healthy.

of health issues from severe snoring, daytime fatigue, morning

“People of all ages are tired, whether it is from a simple lack of sleep or a more serious sleep disorder like obstructive

headaches, lack of concentration, weight gain, a drop in blood oxygen levels, and hypertension.

sleep apnea,” says Karen Gannon, manager of St. Clair Hospital’s

“Patients with obstructive sleep apnea get quantity, not

Sleep Disorders Center and the Respiratory Care Department.

quality of sleep,” Gannon says. “In fact, they can get 10 hours of

Fortunately, more and more of the sleep deprived are

sleep and describe feeling like they have been hit by a truck in

consulting their physicians for help and are being referred to

the morning. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can be a

sleep labs for testing.

contributing factor to heart problems, strokes, excessive weight

“We do testing for all types of sleep disorders on patients from

gain and diabetes.”

the age of 12 and older,” Gannon says. In the Sleep Lab, patients

For patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea,

are monitored overnight by respiratory therapists or technicians,

treatment often comes in the form of a CPAP (Continuous

all of whom are registered in sleep disorders by the Board of

Positive Airway Pressure) or BiPAP (Bi-level Positive Airway

Registered Polysomnographic Technologists or who have passed

Pressure) machine.

specialized certification from the National Board of Respiratory Care, and hold the credential of Sleep Disorder Specialists.

Situated at bedside and connected to the patient by a face mask, the small machines use positive air pressure to CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

11


1000 Bower Hill Road Pittsburgh, PA 15243

se u o H e h t In

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ST. CLAIR HOSPITAL General & Patient Information 412.942.4000 Physician Referral Service 412.942.6560 Outpatient Center—Village Square 412.942.7100 www.stclair.org HouseCall is a publication of St. Clair Hospital. Articles are for informational purposes and are not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your personal physician.

M a n y

p a t i e n t s

d e s c r i b e

t h e

s l e e p

t r e a t m e n t

Orthopedic Surgery Q & A

Sleep Lab

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11

Dr. Fluhme: The best patient upon which to operate is

a s

l i fe

c h a n g i n g .

keep breathing passages open and prevent any obstructions

an informed patient. The surgery is only half of the issue.

during sleep. All studies are interpreted by physicians trained

The patient must be prepared for post-operative rehabilitation,

in sleep medicine and results are sent to the patient’s ordering

which is critical to the success of both simple and complex

physicians within three days of testing.

orthopedic procedures. Dr. Gibbons: In addition to easing some of the apprehension associated with surgery, the classes help patients learn some

“People will call and say how much better they feel,” Gannon says, noting that many patients describe the treatment as life changing.

exercises to prepare for surgery and some tips on preparing the home for their return. They also give patients the opportunity to ask all of the detailed questions that they did not have the opportunity to have answered in their surgeons’ offices. Patients find these classes to be extremely helpful.

For more information about sleep disorders or the Sleep Disorders Center at St. Clair Hospital, please call 412.942.2035.


St. Clair Hospital HouseCall Vol II Issue 2