Total Ankle Replacement: Marc’s Story

There’s nothing like revving up the engine of a vintage motorcycle for 57-year old Marc Defur. The sound, the smell, the feeling of riding the wide open road, it’s no wonder why building and restoring these classics are his passion. But like these worn down roadsters, Marc was also feeling his own wear and tear and needed a tune-up. “All of a sudden it became very painful to walk. I started walking with a limp and it was painful to ride my motorcycle, I knew something wasn’t right,” explains Marc.

MarcMoabTruck09

Marc was starting to experience severe ankle arthritis, a condition seen with age or prior trauma such as an ankle fracture or sprain. His arthritis was so severe, there was hardly any cartilage left in his ankle. “I was in extreme pain and my entire quality of life went down,” he explains. After a couple years of feeling this extreme pain, Marc decided to go see his physician and was referred to orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Fran Faro at Swedish Medical Center. “Marc was the perfect candidate for a total ankle replacement. Ankle fusion is usually the standard procedure for this type of ankle injury but because of his age, having a total ankle replacement was the preferred choice,” says Faro.

Marc’s case would be the first total ankle replacement in the last decade to be performed at Swedish Medical Center. “This type of surgery was uncommon in the past but is now becoming more common because of the technology we have. On average there are about 3,000 procedures performed each year in the U.S.,” explains Faro.

The total ankle procedure has been performed on patients since the 1970’s. The new re-designed implants help patients have less pain, better range of motion and full function after surgery. “The recovery was so short. I was out of my walking cast and back on my motorcycle after two months,” says Marc.

MontroseDelta RideMarc’s new ankle is expected to last 10 or more years. “It’s a life saver; it gave me so much back in my life!”

 

New GERD Procedure Performed at Swedish Medical Center

Rocky Mountain-region patients living with Acid Reflux disease, also known as GERD, have welcome relief – literally and figuratively – at the hands of Swedish Medical Center’s Reginald Bell, M.D.

Bell is the only physician in the region performing a new procedure in patients suffering from this debilitating disease. It’s known as the LINX® Reflux Management procedure. Acid Reflux, or GERD as it is sometimes called, is a chronic and often life-long condition in which the acidic liquid content of one’s stomach regurgitates back into the esophagus. Inflaming the lining of the esophagus, it leaves patients with an intense burning sensation. While medication can help in less serious cases, for many, there is no relief, until now.

Linx 1020

The LINX® System is a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure that implants a series of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores into the esophagus just above the stomach. The magnetic attraction between the beads augments the existing esophageal sphincter’s barrier function to prevent reflux.

3557 Rev 1 - Artwork, LINX Diagrams

According to Bell, who has performed the procedure on a handful of Denver-area patients, the LINX treatment is a good choice for patients who are in the early stages of GERD.

“We are excited to be able to offer the LINX as a therapeutic option to patients with GERD,” Bell says. “I am amazed at the number of patients with GERD who are unaware that there are options other than taking a pill for the rest of their lives! We have worked to become specialists in the diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of GERD, and were honored when Torax asked us to be their initial site for the Rocky Mountain region.”

IMG_0203Swedish Medical Center patient Cindy Bledsoe, 57, was the ideal candidate for the LINX implant, says Bell because she had medically resistant symptoms and early reflux. She did not have a hiatal hernia and only mild increases in esophageal acid exposure. In this setting, he says, a minimally-invasive procedure with a low risk/side effect profile is desirable. Bledsoe, a first grade teacher, was plagued by a continuous and chronic cough, often appearing as if she was choking at times. In addition, her oxygen saturation level was at 88 percent and doctors advised her that being significantly overweight contributed to her health problems. Several doctors and tests later, Bledsoe was referred to Bell, who performed the LINX procedure on her in October.

“Before the procedure, acid reflux/GERD controlled my life. And the cough was actually scary for my first grade students,” Bledsoe says. “Immediately after the LINX procedure, however, the cough went away and my oxygen levels went back up to between 96-98 percent.”

Bledsoe calls the decision to have the LINX procedure “life changing,” and has been removed from some of her pre-diagnosis medications as a result.

“LINX was designed specifically for this group of patients whose symptoms are not controlled adequately by medication and who do not have big hiatal hernias, bad esophagitis or other things we see with more advanced disease,” Bell says of the device manufactured by Torax® Medical, Inc. The LINX System is currently the only available device for the treatment of GERD approved by the FDA through its rigorous PMA process. It is indicated for patients who have problems with reflux despite medication, who have a hiatal hernia of less than three centimeters and who have fairly normal esophageal motility. Like other patients with pacemakers and some other implants, patients with the LINX procedure should not have an MRI, but can have alternative imaging procedures such as CT scans.

Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, regurgitation, cough and chest pain. Acid suppression drugs, such as Prevacid®, Nexium®, and Prilosec® affect gastric acid production but do not repair the sphincter defect and allow continued reflux. GERD can progress to a pre-cancerous condition known as Barrett’s esophagus and possibly esophageal cancer. Approximately seven percent of adults in western countries suffer daily from symptoms of GERD.

According to Bell, in a clinical trial of 100 patients, 92 percent of patients achieved freedom from daily dependence on PPIs, 90 percent of patients experienced a reduction in total acid exposure time, 93 percent of patients achieved significant symptom improvement and the percent of patients reporting moderate to severe regurgitation was reduced from 57 percent to one percent after the LINX procedure.

Swedish Medical Center Physician Breaks New Ground In Cochlear Implants

A Swedish Medical Center physician is breaking new ground in the area of cochlear implants with his recent surgery on a 9-year-old girl who received the medical implant for single-sided deafness.

Daniel Zeitler, M.D., a neurotologist and skull-based surgeon is one of only a few medical professionals in the United States to perform the procedure for this population
and diagnosis. According to Zeitler, the young patient’s deafness was beginning to take its toll on her both academically and socially. “Although Claire is an excellent student, she had to sit strategically in the classroom to be able to hear. She was having a hard time enjoying music, couldn’t enjoy birthday parties, and often felt socially isolated during basketball practice and games or active family outings such as bicycle rides. Basically, all the things that a 9-year-old girl likes to do were slowly taken away from her because of her deafness,” Zeitler says.

Dr. Zeitler

Young Claire received the cochlear implant on November 26. The MED-EL device will be activated on Dec. 18, however Zeitler says early testing during surgery indicated it was working properly. The use of cochlear implants for single-sided deafness, and for patients as young as Claire, is an emerging practice in Europe, but is extremely rare in the U.S. In fact, the FDA has not yet approved the device for single-sided deafness, says Zeitler.
So why did Dr. Zeitler agree to this rare procedure? Because he feels Claire can benefit greatly from this technology, and rather than wait for other options to emerge or trials to be conducted, he is confident the cochlear implant will dramatically improve the quality of life for this youngster sooner rather than later. “There’s a huge push to initiate clinical trials for its use in these circumstances in the U.S., but only a few anecdotal reports and small objective studies currently exist. Unfortunately, there is no good data or large-scale subjective experiences to make it the norm yet,” Zeitler says.

Claire began losing hearing progressively in her right ear at the age of 5 and tried a number of alternative hearing devices, including a traditional hearing aid. However, when her hearing loss became profound, she could no longer obtain any useful benefit from its use. Additionally, she attempted to use an FDA-approved bone-anchored hearing device, but was denied by her insurance. Her insurance is, however, paying for the cochlear implant. Zeitler is skilled in pediatric cochlear implantation, but his clinical interests also include bone-anchored hearing aids (Baha), benign and malignant tumors of the ear and skull base, facial nerve disorders, cholesteatoma and chronic ear disease, ear infections and hearing loss. Zeitler also frequently collaborates with neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists in the treatment of a variety of ear diseases and is an active member of the Colorado Neurological Institute.

MED-EL’s MAESTRO™ Cochlear Implant System has proven to be an effective solution for individuals with bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. According to Zeitler, the device is expected to last a lifetime. Zeitler and his team of medical professionals at Denver Ear Associates will evaluate the quality of sound Claire experiences once the device is turned on December 18th. “Before surgery, Claire was excited and apprehensive, but she was ready,” Zeitler says. “My hope is that Claire’s story can be shared with other children and adults suffering the same disability, and Claire can be a champion of cochlear implantation for these patients in the future.”

Medical Technology Helps Save Stroke Patient

“Technology saved my life!”

Leroy Luraschi wouldn’t consider himself a “tech-savvy” person but someone who occasionally likes to surf the web or play a game on his home computer. Leroy was doing just that one evening at his Montrose home when all of a sudden he felt an unexpected sensation in his head. “It felt like something broke. I felt like someone was poking something through my eye,” he explains.

Leroy got up from his computer, walked into his bedroom and collapsed onto the floor. “All I remember is my 19-year old son Jacob running into the room, he called 9-1-1,” says Leroy.  Paramedics took Leroy to Montrose Memorial Hospital. Immediately upon arrival to the emergency room Leroy says he knew he was having a stroke. “I couldn’t talk or move my whole right side,” he explains. Staff at Memorial Hospital dialed in Swedish Medical Center Neurologist Dr. Chris Fanale by tele-medicine technology and he was up on a screen within minutes ready to consult with doctors about Leroy. “It’s pretty wild that there was a specialist hundreds of miles away in Denver helping me in the ER,” says Leroy.

Leroy was transferred shortly after to Swedish Medical Center in Denver by helicopter where he was assessed in person by Dr. Fanale and the stroke team. According to Dr. Fanale, “stroke can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.  Stroke does not discriminate with age. Being close to a certified stroke center or a hospital with telemedicine capabilities allows you to get stroke treatment rapidly and efficiently. Sometimes patients in non-urban communities need a higher level of care due to the severity and complicated nature of their strokes. At Swedish Medical Center, we have the multidisciplinary team with the stroke specialists that can care for patients such as these on a 24/7/365 basis. The quicker we can treat, the better the outcome. We can only do that with seamless clinical collaboration between hospitals, as was displayed in the care of this patient. “

Leroy, who is 49-years old, didn’t expect he’d ever have a stroke. “I was completely caught off guard that I was having a stroke. But I’m so glad that I had the Swedish stroke team right there with me. They made my life worth living again and they sure know what they’re doing!” says Leroy.

 

More about Gamma Knife

There is important news for patients with brain tumors and abnormalities—especially those who were previously told that their medical conditions precluded them from undergoing surgery. A new treatment system called Gamma Knife is available to you at Swedish Medical Center, your local hospital in Denver.

The Gamma Knife is an advanced piece of equipment used to treat tumors and other abnormalities in the brain without an incision and with minimal effect on surrounding healthy tissue. For patients whose age or medical condition rules out surgery, the Gamma Knife can be a viable treatment option.

The Gamma Knife uses intense doses of radiation to treat malignant tumors that arise in or spread to the brain (primary brain tumors or metastatic tumors), benign brain tumors (meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, and acoustic neuromas), blood vessel defects (arteriovenous malformations) and functional problems (trigeminal neuralgia). The Gamma Knife treatment is highly effective for smaller brain lesions and those that are near critical structures in the head, such as the brain stem and cranial nerves.

The Gamma Knife treatment procedure is called stereotactic radiosurgery, and it is minimally invasive and creates few side effects or complications. It minimizes the risks of postoperative complications, infections, and internal hemorrhage. Often performed as an outpatient procedure, the Gamma Knife treatment does not require that patients stay in the hospital for more than 24 hours, which significantly reduces medical costs for the patient. Even better, the Gamma Knife treatment is covered by Medicare and many other insurance providers.

Gamma Knife is one of the state-of-the-art treatment options we offer here at Denver’s Swedish Medical Center. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, we are available to treat a wide variety of medical problems and disorders. If you would like to learn more or are ready to schedule an appointment, please give our hospital staff a call at (303) 562-3132.

Your Child’s Health

At Swedish Medical Center, we believe that gaining knowledge allows you to take control of your health and do the best for yourself and your family. Check out these links for more information about your child’s health, and give our Denver hospital a call at (303) 562-3132. We can provide additional information or help you schedule an appointment with our friendly and knowledgeable staff members.

 

What is the NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System?

If you or a family member has recently been diagnosed with cancer in Denver, you should know that technology is always advancing and providing hospitals with new ways to treat cancer before it spreads. The NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System is a recent innovation in cancer care that is currently available at our hospital in Denver.

The NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System is a revolutionary new method of removing cancerous tumors from the body. The NanoKnife System is FDA-approved for all soft tissue organs, including the kidneys, liver, heart and lungs.

This is a minimally invasive treatment that can remove difficult-to-reach tumors at a cellular level. Since the NanoKnife System relies on the body’s natural healing process to replace cells, there is little to no scarring after the procedure.

The NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System directs electrical energy directly at the tumor, which opens the walls of cancerous cells, effectively destroying them. This also leaves healthy tissue undamaged, a wonderful breakthrough in the treatment of cancer.

Patients with small tumors that are less than five centimeters are eligible for treatment—these small tumors may have been considered inoperable in the past. The NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System can be used for primary liver tumors or tumors that have spread to the liver from other parts of the body.

A patient undergoing the NanoKnife System can expect to be put under general anesthesia. With the use of a CT scan or ultrasound guidance, the doctor will insert the electrodes on or near the tumor. Once the electrodes are placed, the NanoKnife generator sends a series of short and intense electric pulses directly to the tumor. The NanoKnife System requires only a brief hospital stay, and patients normally experience only a small amount of pain or discomfort following the procedure.

Call the Swedish Medical Center in Denver, Colorado at (303) 562-3132 if you are interested in learning more about the NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System. We offer state-of-the-art treatments and employ top-quality medical professionals.

Gamma Knife: Brain Surgery Without a Knife

Brain surgery using traditional tools, like scalpels, often requires long periods of healing time and can damage nearby healthy tissue. However, new brain surgery tools are now available.

In this clip, you can learn about the benefits of surgery with the Gamma Knife, a new tool which allows for non-invasive treatment of tumors and other conditions in the brain. This technology delivers radiation to precise points in the brain and has been proven safe and effective.

To learn more about Gamma Knife treatment at our hospital in Denver, or to schedule an appointment for medical care, contact Swedish Medical Center of Denver. Call us today at (303) 788-5000 for additional information about our services.

What are Different Types of Back Pain

Back pain is a common problem among adults, but its cause is not always obvious. However, there are some common causes of different types of back pain you should be familiar with.

This video provides information about a variety of conditions that can lead to back pain. While many cases of back pain are caused by overexertion or minor injuries, back pain can also be caused by more severe problems, such as slipped discs, osteoporosis, and sciatica. Menstruation and pregnancy are also often linked to back pain. If you have severe or long-lasting back pain, visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

With the right hospital care, you can control or eliminate your back pain. If you are looking for quality healthcare from a hospital in the Denver area, contact Swedish Medical Center by calling (303) 788-5000 today.

Off-Duty Swedish Nurse Helps Save Man’s Life


“I don’t remember much but from what I heard, I was saved by some
angels.”

Sixty-eight year old James Southard was out and about on a normal Thursday afternoon with his wife Michele and his 8-month old grandson and their two dogs. They had just finished up a routine visit at the veterinary clinic and were on their way home.  Getting into the car, James says he felt normal, nothing out of the ordinary but as he was pulling out of the parking lot he stepped on the break and yelled out  “oh no!”  The next thing his wife Michele knew, James was passed out in the driver’s seat. “I was so scared, I put the car in park and got out to start screaming for help,” she explains.

At the same moment that James passed out, off-duty Swedish Emergency Department RN Debora Rewerts was across the street gassing up her car. She pulled out of the parking lot when she noticed traffic wasn’t moving and there was a man lying on the ground. “I didn’t think twice and ran over to him. There were already people there trying to help. One man in particular was there trying to speak to him and kept things calm,” says Debora.  At first she thought James was having a stroke. Someone had already called 9-1-1 so Debora called into the Emergency Department at Swedish Medical Center to warn them a stroke patient was soon to be on their way.

Shortly after the call to the ED, James stopped breathing. The Englewood Fire Department on the way, Debora and another man started administering CPR. “Being a nurse and reacting to emergencies is what I’ve done for 24 years. It’s like second nature,” says Debora.  James was taken to Swedish by ambulance.

“Everyone played a prime part in saving his life. It was just a sense of relief that I wasn’t alone,” says his wife Michele.  She explains that once James was transported to the hospital, a stranger helped to bring her, and her grandson along with the two dogs to the emergency waiting room. “There were so many strangers who helped in this situation. They are truly our angels and I’m so grateful they were there for us,” Michele explains.  Upon arrival to the hospital it was determined that James wasn’t having a stroke but was suffering from a heart attack and he was rushed to the Cardiac Cath Lab where he immediately received a stent and was then taken to the Critical Care Unit.

“God protected me, that is all I can say,” says James.  Debora and James were reunited the day after the incident and it couldn’t have been a better moment for everyone involved. “He looks great! It’s so rewarding to see him,” Debora said with a smile.

“Life is short, Debora expanded mine, that’s for sure!” says James.