Are you at risk for deep vein thrombosis?

Dr. Nathan Orr

Dr. Nathan Orr

Written by Dr. Nathan Orr, a vascular surgeon at UK HealthCare.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a dangerous condition where a blood clot forms in the larger veins of our body due to slow blood flow, blood vessel damage or increased tendency to clot.

What is deep vein thrombosis?

When we cut or scrape our skin, the clotting process creates a scab. When that process begins inside our bodies – typically in the blood vessels in our legs or thighs – the resulting clot, also known as a thrombus, can break off and travel through the blood stream to an artery in the lungs, blocking blood flow and causing life-threatening complications such as a pulmonary embolism.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 100,000 Americans die each year from DVT/pulmonary embolism – more than deaths from breast cancer, motor vehicle accidents and HIV combined.

Symptoms of DVT

Only about half of the people who have DVT have noticeable symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Swelling of the legs or arms.
  • Severe pain when standing or walking.
  • Warmer skin in the affected area.
  • Enlarged veins.
  • Bluish or reddish skin.

Risk factors

Although DVT can occur at any age, it is more common in people over 50. Risk factors for DVT include:

  • A family history of DVT.
  • Cancer.
  • Undergoing hormone therapy or taking birth control pills.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Injury to a deep vein caused by surgery or trauma.
  • Having a catheter placed in a vein.
  • Prolonged bed rest that leads to slow blood flow in deep veins.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Smoking.

Some people may not realize they have DVT until they are affected by a pulmonary embolism, which leads to low blood oxygen levels, lung damage, heart failure and death.

Signs of this pulmonary embolism are sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing up blood, dizziness, rapid pulse and fever.  If you have any of these symptoms, especially if you are at risk for DVT, seek immediate medical attention.

Treatment for DVT

DVT can be treated with medicines and other devices that reduce the chance of blood clots, stop them from getting bigger, and/or prevent them from breaking off and traveling to vital organs of our body.

The most common medicines to treat DVT are anticoagulants, also called blood thinners, that prevent the formation of new blood clots.

Other treatments include filters implanted in a large vein to catch blood clots before they travel into the bloodstream. Graduated compression stockings are also used to reduce leg swelling caused by blood clots.

If you are at risk for DVT or pulmonary embolism, it is important to take preventive measures. Have regular medical checkups, take your prescribed medicine and exercise regularly – especially your lower leg muscles – after surgery and during long trips.

Next steps:

Dental implants give woman new smile, new confidence

For Andrea Crookston, taking photos used to mean hiding her smile. Fear and anxiety kept Crookston from going to the dentist every six months as recommended. Instead, she’d only go when the pain was too much for her to bear.

“I’d been in pain for a long time, but I was afraid of the dentist,” she said. “The sound of the drill gives me cold chills.”

Unfortunately, this fear led to many of Crookston’s teeth breaking and needing to be extracted. Eventually, Crookston began having difficulty eating certain foods. She decided to make a commitment to her oral health. This meant major treatment, including either dentures or implants.

Getting treatment

Shortly after she began working at UK Good Samaritan Hospital, Crookston made an appointment with Dr. Ted Raybould, chief of Adult Dentistry at UK Dentistry.

Fillings would not correct the breakdown of Crookston’s remaining natural teeth, Raybould said, so he enlisted the help of two of his colleagues at the College of Dentistry, Dr. Steven Tucker and Dr. Wes Coffman.

Tucker and Coffman used digital technology to show what Crookston’s teeth would look like after an implant procedure. Together, the trio of doctors decided an All-on-4/All-on-X procedure would help achieve the appearance that Crookston desired.

An All-on-4/All-on-X uses four to six titanium dental implants to anchor the bridge of teeth to the jaw. This provides a strong foundation for prosthetic teeth. This procedure is a viable option for patients who are at risk for losing so many of their teeth that they will otherwise need dentures.

Not all oral surgeons know how to perform the All-on-4 procedure, but thanks to the education Coffman is providing to his colleagues and to UK College of Dentistry students, more providers in Kentucky will be able to offer it to their patients.

Looking and feeling better

For Crookston, the doctors decided that the All-on-4 procedure was the best option. Unlike more traditional implant procedures, which require months of healing between treatments, the All-on-4 is done in one session and requires a short recovery time. Crookston missed less work and had fewer treatments.

“I look better and feel better,” Crookston said.

A few months after her procedure, Crookston is happy to take photographs.

“I don’t have to cover my teeth when I smile anymore,” she said.

Although some of her anxieties about going to the dentist have not subsided, she will admit one thing: “The doctors knew best, and everything is fine now because I listened.”

Next steps:

  • Learn more about UK Dentistry, which offers expert comprehensive dental treatment for the entire family, including general, orthodontic and oral surgery services.
  • Visit UK Dentistry on Facebook to stay up to date on community events, programs, treatments, research, new physicians and more.
eclipse safety

How to view the solar eclipse without hurting your eyes

On Aug. 21, sky gazers across the country will be treated to the sight of a total solar eclipse – a once-in-a-lifetime event where the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun’s light for a brief period.

This awesome event is cause for excitement – and caution. Staring at the sun without protection – even briefly – can severely damage your eyes, so it’s important to know how to view the eclipse safely.

Here are some tips.

Get special glasses – and beware of fakes

Regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes while looking at the eclipse.

Thankfully, inexpensive special eclipse glasses are available that provide protection while still allowing you to watch the event. Beware, however, of glasses that are marketed as safe for the eclipse, but do not meet NASA’s recommended guidelines.

NASA advises you to only purchase eclipse glasses that are made by American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical or TSE 17 and also have the international safety standard ISO 12312-2 printed on them.

Find out if you’re in the path of totality

Although everyone in the continental United States will be able to see some part of the eclipse, only residents along a select path will be able to see the eclipse in totality – or the moment when the sun is completely covered by the moon.

This 70-mile-wide path stretches from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast and includes portions of Western Kentucky. During the moment of totality, which may last for less than a minute in some locations, it is safe to view the the eclipse without glasses.

For those of us outside of the path of totality, however, glasses must be worn at all times. To see a map of the eclipse’s path of totality, visit NASA’s Eclipse 101 guide.

Follow these tips for a fun, safe viewing

No matter where you’re viewing the eclipse, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Keep a close eye on kids watching the eclipse, and make sure they’re wearing eclipse glasses at all times.
  • Even if you’re wearing proper glasses, don’t view the eclipse through a camera, telescope or binoculars. The concentrated rays that comes through the optical device can damage the eclipse filter on your glasses and cause harm to your eyes.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them.
  • Look away from the sun when putting on and removing your eclipse glasses. Never take them off while looking at the sun.

Next steps:

Erika Carter

With cancer behind her, it’s back to school again for this teacher

Don’t miss the video at the end of this blog to see Erika talk about her treatment journey at the Markey Cancer Center.

Dealing with a classroom full of rowdy second-graders can be taxing on even the most patient, energetic individual.

But for 42-year-old Versailles schoolteacher Erika Carter, her real challenges have happened outside the classroom. In the summer of 2015, she visited her doctor for her yearly checkup and bloodwork, which yielded some bad news: an anomaly in her white blood cell count.

Months of monitoring and referrals followed, including a bone marrow biopsy. Her white blood cell count continued to drop, and on Sept. 24, 2015, she received a call telling her to immediately come to the emergency room at the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. She would not go back to teaching for the rest of the year.

“I was numb,” Carter said. “I just kind of didn’t have any feelings at that point. I just couldn’t believe that my world was completely rocked.”

Carter was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a subtype of acute myeloid leukemia. Dr. Gerhard Hildebrandt, a UK Markey Cancer Center blood and marrow transplantation hematologist and Carter’s physician, says the good news is that this type of cancer is usually curable with fast intervention. And in Carter’s case, the cancer was discovered very early, which boded well for her treatment.

“It’s characterized by a certain genetic change, which fortunately allows this disease to have a higher cure rate than other leukemias,” Hildebrandt said.

Getting through treatment

Over the next nine months, Carter underwent 128 chemotherapy treatments, including a 19-day stint as an inpatient at Markey. Throughout her journey, she built a good relationship with the nursing team that took care of her.

“They are always upbeat and friendly,” she said. “All across the board, the nurses were fabulous. I’ve gone back several times to see them. I really had a good experience.”

Hildebrandt agreed and said the communication between patients and his team is one of the strengths of the program at Markey.

“The team is not too big, so everybody knows the patients quite well,” Hildebrandt said. “Communication is very easy both between the patient and the care team and between the care team itself. I think it gives a level of personalized care.”

Erika and Dr. Hildebrandt

Erika Carter and Dr. Gerhard Hildebrandt.

Carter was lucky that she had minimal side effects after chemotherapy, so she tried her best to keep on with much of daily life. She took advantage of some of Markey’s integrative medicine options, including Jin Shin Jyutsu and art therapy, but says the hardest thing for her during the treatment was not being able to go outside.

“I’d look out the window and see everyone going to the UK game,” she said. “I love going to the UK games, so just watching them, I felt like this prisoner. … Luckily, I had a huge support system with my friends, family and church.”

Back to school

This time last August, Carter was just getting back to work after nearly a year off. Coming from a family of educators, she carries a love for teaching in her blood and was eager to get back to the Southside Elementary classroom she’s been teaching in for six years. She says she’s inspired by her students who motivate her to carry a positive attitude throughout the day.

“I’ll tell you what – with teaching, you just really can’t have a bad day,” Carter said. “I love the children, they make me laugh. I could have a rough day, but I’ve got to check that at the door and I’ve got to walk in and put that smile on my face for these kiddos. … I want it to be just a fun experience for them, to love learning and love education.”

Although her students are young, Carter says that many of them had some understanding of what she had gone through. She has a picture that says “We love Ms. Carter” and a banner signed by the entire school that she hung at the hospital.

“They were great, so great, in welcoming me back,” she said. “I’m just glad I had a story where I was able to come back, and [the students] are like, ‘Okay, people can have cancer, but they also survive it, too.'”

The importance of preventive care

In fact, at the end of the 2017 school year, Carter invited Hildebrandt to come visit her class and give her students a quick lesson on what cancer is and what doctors do to treat it.

“It’s a fantastic honor to be here,” Hildebrandt said. “When you have a patient who does remarkably well and then goes back to daily life, like Erika with her kids in this classroom, it’s the reward for the entire team.”

Carter describes the circumstances around her diagnosis as a “blessing,” noting that her case could have turned out very differently if she’d neglected to get her physician-recommended preventive care.

“It is very important to get preventive care,” Carter said. “Sometimes when you need to get bloodwork, it’s very easy to push that aside. But thank the Lord I did go – because had I not, I would’ve ended up in a really bad state. It would’ve been possibly too late or it would’ve been a whole other road of struggle.”

Erika Carter and her students at Southside Elementary in Versailles.

Erika Carter and her students at Southside Elementary in Versailles.

Next steps:

benefits of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding gives your baby the best possible start

Did you know that breastfeeding is a healthy choice for both mom and baby?

Celebrate National Breastfeeding Month by learning more about breastfeeding’s benefits. Breastfeeding provides warmth and closeness, and the physical contact helps create a special bond between you and your newborn.

Benefits for babies

  • Breast milk is easier for your baby to digest.
  • It doesn’t need to be prepared.
  • It’s always available.
  • It has all the nutrients, calories and fluids your baby needs to be healthy.
  • It has growth factors that ensure the best development of your baby’s organs.
  • It has many substances that formulas don’t have that protect your baby from diseases and infections. In fact, breastfed babies are less likely to have:
    • Ear infections.
    • Diarrhea.
    • Pneumonia, wheezing and bronchiolitis.
    • Other bacterial and viral infections, such as meningitis.
  • Research also suggests that breastfeeding may help to protect against obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, eczema, colitis and some cancers.

Benefits for mothers

  • Breastfeeding releases hormones in your body that promote mothering behavior.
  • It returns your uterus to the size it was before pregnancy more quickly.
  • It burns more calories, which may help you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy.
  • It delays the return of your menstrual period to help keep iron in your body.
  • It provides contraception, but only if these three conditions are met:
    • You are exclusively breastfeeding and not giving your baby any other supplements.
    • It is within the first six months after birth.
    • Your period has not returned.
  • It reduces your risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
  • It keeps your bones strong, which helps protect against bone fractures in older age.

UK HealthCare is Baby-Friendly

At UK HealthCare, we’re committed to ensuring a happy, healthy start for newborns and their mothers. In fact, we’re a Baby-Friendly USA® hospital, which is a prestigious acknowledgment of the top-notch care that we provide.

Baby-Friendly USA is a global initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages hospitals to provide breastfeeding mothers with information, confidence, support and skills necessary to initiate and continue breastfeeding.

Find out more about the Baby-Friendly initiative.

Next steps:

No. 1 hospital in Kentucky

We’re the No. 1 hospital in Ky., again

UK HealthCare Albert B. Chandler Hospital remains the No. 1 hospital in Kentucky and the Bluegrass Region, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals Rankings released today.

In addition, four major areas have achieved Top 50 national rankings, three of them for the first time. UK HealthCare rankings included: No. 37 in Diabetes and Endocrinology, No. 43 in Geriatrics, No. 44 in Neurology and Neurosurgery, and No. 50 in Cancer.

Along with the Top 50 rankings, UK HealthCare is ranked as high-performing in five other adult specialties – Gastroenterology and GI Surgery; Nephrology; Orthopaedics; Pulmonology; and Urology. Additionally, UK HealthCare was designated high-performing in eight common adult procedures and conditions: Aortic Valve Surgery, Heart Bypass Surgery, Heart Failure, Colon Cancer Surgery, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement, and Lung Cancer Surgery.

These recognitions cement UK HealthCare’s role as the major healthcare system best equipped to deal with our state’s unique health needs, said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs.

“We are committed to providing the best programs and best care available in Kentucky so that no one has to travel far from home for world-class advanced specialty care,” Karpf said. “These rankings speak to the hard work and dedication of our physicians, our nurses and our entire healthcare team.”

‘We’re ready no matter the situation’

This year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings cover nearly every hospital in every community nationwide. The rankings are grounded in objective data and offer patients a rich resource on their hospital choices. More than 70 percent of the rankings are based on objective data, with U.S. News analyzing more than 2,600 metrics across 21 data-driven specialties and procedures and conditions. The result is thousands of data points on hospitals that excel at treating the most challenging cases, those that do best in more routine procedures and those that provide top local care.

“UK HealthCare is a place where you feel safe because you know we’re ready no matter the situation or illness,” said Colleen Swartz, UK HealthCare’s chief administrative officer.

“If you have someone you love who lives in Kentucky, you will need UK HealthCare at some point in time. Whether it’s someone with a newly diagnosed cancer, or a premature baby, or a critically ill or injured child, or brother or mother or sister, you want to know that a place like this is ready to go when you need us.”

Diabetes & Endocrinology

This year’s rankings included a major leap for UK’s diabetes and endocrinology program. The specialty at UK HealthCare, previously unranked, is now No. 37 in the country, a testament to both the clinical care and research at the UK Barnstable-Brown Diabetes Center.

“We are one of the few places in Kentucky where all these services are provided either under one roof or where we can engage people to help you in all these different arenas,” said Dr. John Fowlkes, director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.

This collaboration and patient-centered care offered at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center provide patients with outstanding clinical care throughout their lifespan and for all aspects of their health, said Dr. Lisa Tannock, chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine.

“Our physicians, advanced practice providers, endocrinology fellows and staff, including expert-certified diabetes educators, continually seek opportunities to teach advanced patient care based on our ongoing research into the best ways to prevent and treat diabetes and endocrine diseases,” she said.


UK HealthCare was ranked No. 43 in Geriatrics. The U.S. News Geriatrics rankings represent how well hospitals treat older patients across a wide range of medical issues and conditions.

Dr. Shawn Caudill, professor and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Women’s Health, sees increasingly more geriatric patients in UK HealthCare’s outpatient clinics. He said the rankings are an indication of the high-quality care that UK HealthCare provides to a population that is living longer than before.

“We’ve had lot of success in overcoming the things that used to kill people – heart attacks, strokes, lung disease – and we’ve done interventions to help keep people going longer,” Caudill said. “And now it is important for us to continue to help take care of them.”

Neurology & Neurosurgery

For the first time, UK HealthCare is nationally ranked for its neurological care, coming in at No. 44 in Neurology and Neurosurgery.

“This is something we’ve been working on for the past two years,” said Dr. Larry B. Goldstein, the Ruth L. Works Professor and chair of the UK Department of Neurology, and co-director of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute (KNI). “It’s wonderful to be able to have our faculty and staff receive this recognition for all the great things they’re doing.”

Fellow KNI Co-Director Linda Van Eldik, who also is director of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, was pleased with national rankings in Neurology and Neurosurgery as well as Geriatrics.

“This is really a culmination of the work we’ve been doing for many years in the areas of brain,” Van Eldik said. “It’s recognition from the outside of what we already knew – that we were doing leading-edge work and we are continuing to enhance our excellence.”

Cancer care

Cancer care was included in the Top 50 for the first time – although it has consistently been designated as high performing for many years. Still, the move up is indicative of the Markey Cancer Center’s continued emphasis on providing exemplary care as the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated center.

“We see 50 percent of our patients coming from Eastern Kentucky, which has some of the highest rates of cancer in the country – particularly lung cancer and colon cancer. So the Markey Cancer Center is vitally important to our region,” said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the Markey Cancer Center.

The people behind the scenes

In acknowledging all of UK HealthCare’s national rankings and achievements, one factor is always first to be attributed to success – the people who work here.

“I’ve been here almost a year and a half, and to see what the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare has achieved, really in a short time, is remarkable,” said UK College of Medicine Dean Dr. Robert DiPaola. “And to see the passion of the people here behind the scenes doing the things that make a difference for our patients – it is absolutely amazing. I know that going forward we will continue this trajectory.”

Hear more about this awesome recognition, including comments from some of UK HealthCare’s leaders, in the video below.

Next steps:

college health

Plan for a healthy start to college

Dr. Ann Hays

Dr. Ann Hays

Written by Dr. Ann Hays, the medical director at University Health Service at UK.

As August begins, college-bound students will begin planning for life on campus this fall.

In between shopping for dorm supplies and registering for classes, new college students should also take a moment to plan for a healthy start to their new lives.

What to bring

When packing for college, students should make sure to bring up-to-date childhood immunization records and copies of their health insurance information. They should also bring a document with the contact information of their home physician along with any known medical conditions, drug allergies, and a list of current medications and dosages.

A first-aid kit is also important. It should include bandages, antiseptic and antibiotic ointment, a digital thermometer, hand sanitizer, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, an antihistamine for allergic reactions, and an anti-itch cream. Some students take this a step further and bring a sick day, cold or flu kit, which includes the items above along with tissues, antibacterial wipes for disinfecting household surfaces, cough syrup and stomach medications.


Before coming to college, incoming students need to make sure their immunizations are up to date.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends college students receive the meningococcal vaccine, Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis) and the HPV series in addition to their routine childhood immunizations, which include Hepatitis A and B, polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and varicella.

Students should also get an influenza vaccine every year to protect themselves from the flu. Also check for any special vaccine requirements specific to the student’s college, university or field of study.

Healthcare on campus

Check to see if the student’s college or university has a student health center. Parents and students will want to familiarize themselves with the particular services available on campus, along with the facility’s location, phone number and website.

If your college doesn’t have a student health service, check with insurance providers to get a list of covered local providers, urgent treatment centers and emergency departments located close to campus. Create a plan so that students can obtain prescription medications while away at school. Transfer prescriptions to a nearby pharmacy or arrange for a mail-order pharmacy to deliver.

Being prepared for unexpected illness or injury and knowing about healthcare options while away at school will make the transition to college much easier for students and families alike.

Next steps:

UK begins Pediatric Heart Surgery Program with Cincy Children’s

Last month, UK HealthCare and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center completed the first heart surgery as part of a new partnership to provide outstanding pediatric cardiac services for patients in Kentucky and beyond.

The Joint Pediatric Heart Surgery Program is the culmination of three years of work by the two organizations and was announced on Friday. The “one program, two sites” model combines the strengths of UK HealthCare’s advanced subspecialty care with one of the country’s leaders in children’s healthcare, Cincinnati Children’s.

Dr. James Quintessenza, a renowned pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, was recruited to lead the program. Quintessenza arrived in the Bluegrass last December after having built a reputation as one of the leading cardiothoracic surgeons in the U.S.  He had served at All Children’s Hospital (later named All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins) in St. Petersburg, Fla., for 26 years, including 19 years as medical director and chief of pediatric cardiac surgery.

“I’ve found that in Lexington, we have a team of people who are dedicated, caring, experienced and striving to provide the highest-quality care possible for these patients and their families,” said Quintessenza, who is often referred to as “Dr. Q” by patients and staff.

“Pediatric open-heart surgeries, heart catheterizations and electrophysiology procedures are underway at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The patients and families have been so supportive and thankful for the care we are providing that allows them to receive care closer to their home, their families and their support system.”

Successful surgery

On July 5, Quintessenza performed a complex open-heart surgery on Magdalen Wilson, an infant from Nicholasville, Ky., born with several congenital heart defects.

Magdalen’s surgery was completed at KCH as part of the joint program with Cincinnati Children’s. After Magdalen’s parents, Lauren and Thom Wilson, met with UK pediatric cardiologist Dr. Majd Makhoul and Dr. Q, they felt comfortable and confident in receiving their care at KCH.

“We were impressed that several of Dr. Q’s support staff followed him from his previous location because of his leadership and surgical outcomes,” Thom Wilson said. “At this point, through much prayer and discernment, we decided to pursue Magdalen’s surgery with the joint program at UK.”

With the institution of the “one program, two sites” model, patients from Kentucky now have the opportunity to have surgical procedures, diagnostics and therapeutic interventions performed in Lexington. At all times, recommendations for care are based on what is best for patient safety and quality, allowing families to stay closer to home when appropriate.

“Every member of the joint heart program team – which includes more than 100 physicians, nurses, technicians and other specially trained staff – has one main goal and one agenda, and that is to provide the best care possible to our patients,” said Bo Cofield, UK HealthCare’s chief clinical operations officer. “It was very important for our patients and their families that we do everything we can to provide the highest-quality services and care, and we are confident we have that ability with this program.”

Building a world-class program

UK HealthCare officials voluntarily made the decision to pause pediatric cardiothoracic services in 2012, and a task force was charged with providing recommendations regarding the future of the program. Eventually a Letter of Intent was signed with Cincinnati Children’s in 2015, and an agreement was finalized in September 2016.

While UK HealthCare was working toward the goal of restarting a program to perform complex surgical procedures for pediatric heart patients, it was paramount to be able to deliver the highest-quality services. These standards led to the decision to partner with Cincinnati Children’s, recently ranked third among the nation’s pediatric hospitals by U.S. News and World Report.

Other key components vital in resuming pediatric heart surgeries have been the recruitment and hiring of a world-class team including pediatric cardiac anesthesia, pediatric cardiac critical care, pediatric perfusion, specialized physician assistants and advanced practice nurse practitioners, among others. UK HealthCare has invested in infrastructure enabling success through telehealth and other technologies, specialized equipment and supplies, while staff and faculty have participated in intense on-site training at Cincinnati Children’s.

“Today, this program represents the culmination of three years of work between Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Kentucky to reopen the pediatric cardiac surgical program in Lexington,” said Dr. Andrew Redington, executive co-director of the Heart Institute and chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s. “By establishing a ‘one program, two sites’ collaboration, we ensure that children will get the right operation, in the right place and at the right time. We are all delighted that the first cases have done well, and anticipate ongoing success in the years to come.”

For the Wilsons, everyone in the family is able to breathe a little easier these days, and Magdalen is enjoying her freedom and health, her mother said. She is being cared for locally by Makhoul since being discharged after her surgery.

“Great love has been shown to Magdalen and our family along this journey,” Lauren Wilson said. “Magdalen’s life is a blessing, and one day she will know about the many hands and hearts at Kentucky Children’s Hospital and beyond that God used to restore her to health. We are truly grateful.”

Next steps:

  • The Joint Pediatric Heart Program provides the full spectrum of high-quality heart care – from assessment and diagnosis to complex surgery and post-surgical care. Learn more about the partnership.
  • Mackenzee Walters was diagnosed with hereditary pancreatitis, a painful condition that had taken the lives of several of her loved ones. Specialists at KCH and Cincinnati Children’s teamed up to help Mackenzee find relief from her painful disease. Read her story.
hip preservation

Hip pain? Replacement surgery may not be the only option

Dr. Stephen Duncan

Dr. Stephen Duncan

Written by Dr. Stephen Duncan, an orthopaedic surgeon at UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.

Individuals today are more active than previous generations. Although this means improved health and wellness for many of us, it also means more wear and tear on our joints.

Patients young and old can experience pain in their hip joints. Although hip arthritis might be the first culprit to come to mind, there are other causes of hip pain that are aren’t as well known.

Some of these conditions, such as labrum tears, can be treated through hip preservation surgery – a treatment option that provides relief in lieu of a hip replacement and allow physically active people to get back to doing the things they love as quickly as possible. Hip preservation is one of my specialties, and as an avid cyclist myself, I understand the importance of staying active.

Labrum tears

While we are growing as adolescents, there is a growth plate in our femur bone located in the hip joint. Research has shown that individuals who participate in activities that require repetitive hip flexion (when the femur moves closer to the chest) are at risk for this growth plate to react and form extra bone. This is called a CAM lesion.

The CAM lesion is a bump on the femur that can eventually tear the hip’s labrum – a piece of cartilage that helps form the suction seal of the hip joint. When the labrum is torn, you can experience pain in the hip and groin area.

Hip preservation

Pain related to a tear in the labrum can be improved with hip preservation surgery called hip arthroscopy.

Hip arthroscopy involves making tiny holes in the skin that allow us to place a camera and our instruments into the hip joint to fix the torn labrum.

It’s an outpatient procedure takes about two hours to perform, and patients will be on crutches for about two weeks afterward. The hardest part is the recovery after surgery. Although the hip may feel great initially, the body still needs to heal. This takes a minimum of three months.

Folks looking to return to recreational or even competitive sports will be out of action for four to six months. The good news is studies have shown that patients do return to their preinjury level of play following surgery. This surgery might also help to prevent or delay the progression of hip arthritis and help patients avoid a hip replacement in the future. However, more research is needed to determine if this is the case.

If you think you might be a candidate for hip preservation, call UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine at 800-333-8874.

Next steps:

Adrianne Rogers

Gill gives Lexington woman, 23, new heart and new life

Growing up, Adrianne Rogers was an active athlete, pursuing interests in basketball, football, skateboarding and motocross racing. She was skilled enough to play up on a varsity softball team as a middle-schooler.

But at age 13, she began to experience an inexplicable decline in performance and endurance. She chalked it up to “being out of shape” and tried harder. But her decline persisted. At Rogers’ annual well visit two years later, her pediatrician heard a heart murmur. Rogers was referred to a cardiologist, and after an EKG, and echocardiogram and a heart catheterization, she received a one-in-a-million diagnosis: restrictive cardiomyopathy.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy occurs when the walls of the lower chambers of the heart become rigid, making it harder for them to pump blood out to the body properly. While many cases are mild, some are severe enough to cause heart failure – a sometimes-fatal condition resolved only by a heart transplant. Restrictive cardiomyopathy is usually diagnosed in the elderly. It’s an extremely rare diagnosis in teens.

Rogers was benched from sports of any kind. Diuretics and blood pressure medicine helped control her condition. But by the time she was a senior at UK, she began having episodes of atrial fibrillation. Her atria – the upper chambers of the heart – were struggling to keep a normal rhythm.

Atrial fibrillation, or Afib, is associated with higher risks of stroke and heart failure, so Rogers went to see Dr. Andrew Leventhal, director of the Kentucky Adult Congenital Heart Program at the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute. Leventhal is among an elite group of cardiologists with special training to recognize and treat the issues that affect adults with congenital heart defects.

Rogers instantly bonded with Leventhal.

“I just fell in love with him,” Rogers said. “It was clear that he knew a lot about my condition and was committed to keeping a close eye on me.”

In need of a transplant

People like Rogers who are diagnosed with heart defects as children face unique challenges as they become adults, Leventhal says.

“It wasn’t that long ago that children with heart defects didn’t survive to adulthood,” he explained. “Technical advances in cardiac surgery have improved outcomes dramatically, but that presents a new issue: Patients who reach adulthood have outgrown their pediatric cardiologists and the facilities that provide treatment – typically children’s hospitals. Simply transitioning to an adult cardiologist isn’t the best fit either, since their heart problems can be very different from cardiac conditions that begin during adulthood.”

Leventhal followed Rogers carefully as she slipped in and out of Afib three times in a year. Medications and cardioversions (a procedure that attempts to shock the heart into a normal rhythm) weren’t working. Her cardiac index — a measure of how much blood her heart was pumping — was low. Rogers wouldn’t survive long without a heart transplant.

Leventhal made a call to Dr. Maya Guglin of UK HealthCare’s Heart Transplant Program, who immediately began the process to put Rogers on the priority wait list. She received her new heart about a month later, and on Dec. 28, 2016, she left the hospital with a new lease on life.

Rogers describes waking up after surgery to a strange feeling.

“I was laying there and felt something weird and a little uncomfortable on my back,” she says. She then realized that the sensation she was feeling was that of a healthy, beating heart.

“It had been so long since I’d felt a real heartbeat that I didn’t even recognize it at first.”

Grateful for a second chance

Rogers follows up regularly at the Gill under the care of Dr. Navin Rajagopalan, medical director of heart transplantation.

“Adrianne is taking great care of the gift she has been given,” Rajagopalan said. “I always have a moment of gratification when the surgery is completed and the patient is doing well, but it’s especially rewarding when we can help a younger person recover and live a normal, healthy life.”

She now visits the gym regularly for strength training and has used her recovery time to take up skateboarding, painting and guitar. She returns to UK in the fall and will graduate in December.

“It’s crazy how good I feel,” Rogers said. “I really haven’t felt well since I was 11 or 12, so this all feels amazing.”

At each follow-up appointment she makes a point to see every member of her care team, all of whom made her feel like she was their only patient, she says.

“They were so accessible and helpful; I felt super-comfortable during my time in the hospital waiting for a new heart,” she says. She even painted gifts for Donna Dennis and Heather Ross, who were responsible for coordinating her care pre- and post-transplant.

Paying it forward

While Rogers was hospitalized and waiting for her new heart, she was visited by a young man who’d recently had a heart transplant of his own.

“He really calmed my nerves and made me realize this was doable,” she says.

So, when Dennis asked Rogers if she would talk to another transplant candidate, she was more than willing to pay it forward.

“I can give them an experience to relate to, and they see that a transplant isn’t so scary,” she said.

Leventhal wants young people diagnosed with heart defects to understand the importance of regular follow-up care with a cardiologist trained to work with these unique conditions.

“Even if you’ve been told you’re cured, even if you’re feeling good, you need to have a relationship with a cardiologist who specializes in treating adult patients with congenital heart defects,” he said. “Adrianne’s story is the perfect example of someone who was careful about managing her defect but still became critically ill. Thankfully, she was wise to keep up with her care and seek help when she didn’t feel well. That was a huge factor in this success story.”

Check out the video below to see Adrianne talk about life after her heart transplant.

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