Rush Ranked in Seven Specialties by U.S. News

RushTowerCloudsRush University Medical Center once again has been named one of the nation’s top hospitals, according to the new issue of U.S. News & World Report. Rush is ranked in seven of 16 categories included in the magazine’s 2014 -15 “America’s Best Hospitals” issue, which became available online on July 15, and is one of the two top-ranked hospitals in Illinois overall.

Rush’s orthopedics program was ranked No. 6 nationwide, making it the highest ranked orthopedics program in Illinois. Rush’s other ranked programs were geriatrics (No. 17); neurology and neurosurgery (No. 17); nephrology (No. 31); urology (No. 43); cardiology and heart surgery (No. 46); and cancer (No. 48).

U.S. News also noted that the following Rush specialty services are “high-performing”: diabetes and endocrinology; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology; gynecology; and pulmonary.

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Helping Cancer Patients Who Have Heart Disease

Williams KimHeart disease is never a welcome diagnosis. It can be particularly daunting for a patient who is already contending with cancer.

With both diseases becoming more and more prevalent, cases of crossover between them are becoming more of a problem. Such patients would benefit from specialized health care, and that’s why Dr. Kim Williams, who was appointed chief of cardiology at Rush in November, hopes to soon tailor a program to meet their particular needs.

Williams, a nuclear cardiologist with a special interest in cardiovascular radiology and heart disease in kidney and cancer patients,  plans to soon establish a cardio-oncology clinic at Rush in collaboration with the Medical Center’s cancer programs. The clinic would provide care for two distinct groups of patients: those whose chemotherapy regimens put them at high risk for heart disease, and those who have both cancer and heart disease.

“In the coming years, cancer will overtake heart disease as the No. 1 killer of Americans,” Williams said. “But with the incidence of heart disease being what it is, there will be a lot of overlap between the two. And patients who have both conditions need specialized management.”

He hopes to add or expand services at Rush for several other groups of patients who need ongoing management: adults with congenital heart disease, patients with heart and renal problems, and patients with heart and metabolic conditions.

Read more about Williams’ background and vision.

How Calcium is Involved in Irregular Heartbeats

heartbeat_thinkstock_edited-1Researchers at Rush have identified the underlying mechanism of calcium-triggered cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats. The discovery, described in the Jan. 19 issue of Nature Medicine, has major implications for the development of molecularly designed drugs specifically targeted at this form of arrhythmia.

The study was led by Wayne Chen, PhD, professor of molecular biophysics and physiology at Rush and professor of physiology and biochemistry at the University of Calgary-Libin Institute. Michael Fill, PhD, professor of molecular biophysics and physiology at Rush, collaborated on the research.

Cardiac arrhythmias can cause dizziness and fainting, or in severe cases, sudden death. While many factors, including genetics, contribute to the development of arrhythmias, research has shown that a common cause of cardiac arrhythmias is calcium overload. Calcium overload disrupts the finely controlled electrical activity governing contraction of heart muscle.

Calcium is stored inside cardiac cells, much like skeletal muscle cells, in preparation for contraction. The protein responsible for release of calcium is known as the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2), or the calcium release channel, which acts like a safety valve that prevents calcium overload.

Read the news release.

Heart Physicians From Egypt Visit Rush

Dr. Neeraj Jolly

Dr. Neeraj Jolly

Beginning today, 22 senior cardiologists from Egypt are participating in a three-day workshop at Rush University Medical Center that includes lectures on leading-edge, non-invasive surgery techniques from Rush University faculty members.

The lectures will be complemented by case studies and the opportunity to remotely observe procedures being performed in the operating room. The visiting physicians will bring their new skills back to their respective home institutions to train other physicians to better serve their patients.

“Rush has renowned non-invasive and interventional cardiology labs and is adept at diagnosing and treating complex heart and vascular conditions,” said Dr. Neeraj Jolly, the workshop’s organizer and director of the section of invasive cardiology at Rush. “This event will allow us to train the trainer, giving these physicians a chance to bring what they learn back to their colleagues in their home country.”

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Awareness Crucial During Peak Heart Attack Season

Rapid, coordinated response to people with chest pain symptoms is critical to successful treatment of heart attacks.

Rapid, coordinated response to people with chest pain symptoms is critical to successful treatment of heart attacks.

Patients wait too long after the onset of heart attack symptoms before seeking medical care, according to the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. Even with advancements at hospitals, patients must still quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and take the first step toward getting help — particularly in December and January, when heart attack deaths peak.

Accredited Chest Pain Centers, such as Rush University Medical Center, are especially well-prepared to respond quickly to a person experiencing chest pains. In order to become accredited by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, hospitals must meet or exceed a wide set of stringent criteria and demonstrate commitment to reducing the time it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment in a coordinated process that can save lives.

In 2009, Rush became the first academic medical center in Chicago to earn the accreditation and was recently reaccredited.

One of the criteria for accreditation is to significantly reduce the time it takes for a patient experiencing symptoms of a possible heart attack to see a physician, thus reducing the time to treatment during the critical early stages when treatments are most effective. In addition, hospitals must create more effective systems to get patients into the catheterization lab so a blocked coronary artery can be opened in the shortest amount of time. Continue reading