Physicians at Rush Tackle Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary Hypertension is a  complex disease that can be difficult to diagnose and requires extremely personalized treatment.  Cardiologists and pulmonologists at Rush University Medical Center have pooled their knowledge and resources and created the Rush Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic to provide a new and better approach to treating patients with pulmonary hypertension.

Pulmonary hypertension is high pressure in the arteries that lead from the heart to the lungs. Due to the high pressure, the right ventricle of the heart must pump harder, ultimately causing heart failure or other potentially fatal complications.

It is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are nonspecific and mimic the symptoms of other lung or heart disease. Sixty percent of patients will have shortness of breath as the initial symptoms. Other symptoms include fatigue, chest pain, fainting, palpitations and leg swelling.

A diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension once meant a very dire prognosis. However, recent advances in the diagnosis and management of this complex disease have changed outcomes dramatically.

In the 25 years since I started my practice,” says Dr. James Calvin, director of the Section of Cardiology at Rush, “treatments for pulmonary hypertension have come a long way. There are new guidelines, new research and more is becoming known about pulmonary hypertension.”

To learn more about the Rush Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic read the press release.

Rush Ranked One of America’s Best Hospitals

Rush University Medical Center has once again been named one of the nation’s top hospitals in a number of specialties in the upcoming issue of U.S.News & World Report. Rush is ranked among the best in 11 of 16 categories included in the magazine’s annual “America’s Best Hospitals” issue.

Just 152 out of 4,852 hospitals in the United States, about 3 percent, scored high enough this year to rank in even a single specialty, according to the magazine.

“High-stakes medicine calls for more than the usual brand of doctoring. When the stakes are high, you want the best care you can get for someone close to you. These are hospitals that are accustomed to seeing the sickest patients, day in and out.” —U.S.News & World Report magazine editors.

Rush is ranked higher than any other program in Illinois in orthopedics — at No. 10 in the nation — and in geriatrics at No. 22 in the nation.

The rankings of other Rush programs are: cancer, No. 43; ear, nose and throat (ENT), No. 32; gastroenterology, No. 41; gynecology, No. 41; heart and heart surgery, No. 25; kidney disorders, No. 43; neurology and neurosurgery, No. 14; pulmonology, No. 49; and urology, No. 41.

Read the entire news release.

Empowering Women to Make Heart Health a Priority

Heart disease is the leading killer of American women, yet several studies have shown women cardiac patients receive inferior medical care compared to men.  The Rush Heart Center for Women is proud to be partnering with WomenHeart to raise awareness about the importance of prevention and early detection, accurate diagnosis and proper treatment of women’s heart disease.

WomenHeart is a national patient advocacy organization that was founded by three women who had heart attacks while in their 40s and faced many obstacles, including misdiagnosis and social isolation. The three women: Nancy Loving, Jackie Markham, and Judy Mingram, connected in 1998 when each was interviewed for an article on women and heart attacks for MORE magazine. Nancy, Jackie, and Judy formed their own support network.

Now the organization has thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, physicians, health advocates and consumers committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives.

“Women with heart disease had no support system until WomenHeart was founded. It is the only national organization dedicated to women with heart disease,” said Dr. Annabelle Volgman, director, Rush Heart Center for Women.

Rush will be hosting the first WomenHeart Regional Symposium, an educational seminar about women’s heart disease on Saturday, September 11th with the goal of educating women and empowering them to spread their knowledge to friends, family and their community.

The symposium will feature lectures and workshops to learn the basic science of women’s heart disease, including prevention, diagnosis and quality care. There will be information about healing the mind and body. Participants will meet and bond with other women living with heart disease and learn from leading health care professionals, health educators, and women’s health advocates.

“We have a very busy Rush Heart Center for Women so hosting the first WomenHeart Regional Symposium was a natural partnership. We have assembled a group of medical experts on women and heart disease from many medical centers in the Chicago area.”

The free event will be held September 11, 2010 from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Room 500 of the Searle Conference Center, located in the Rush Professional Building, 1725 W. Harrison St., Chicago.  The deadine to apply is Friday, July 23.  (UPDATE: The deadline for registration has been pushed back to Friday, August 20.) Visit to register.

Mission to Haiti: Dr. Jeff Mjaanes’ Blog – Update from the Epicenter of the Earthquake

Sunday, January 31, 10 p.m. ET –

Just a quick update before bed:

We are all doing well. A virus has gone around the camp, but luckily only a few in our group have been affected and all have recovered without a problem.

Again, we split into different groups today. Dr. Dutton went to the main hospital and performed several cases, including a large facial laceration repair. Drs. Lind and McCarthy performed several surgeries as well, including sewing up the bowel of a gunshot victim.

Dr. Jay Dutton and Dr. Walter McCarthy performing a flap reconstruction of a complex facial wound.

The ortho and anesthesia team returned to the same hospital again. Drs. Fernandez and Van Thiel performed 14 surgeries, including a young boy who had displaced fractures in the tibia bones of both legs.

Our primary care team went to the Carrefour neighborhood, the epicenter of the earthquake. In the end, we set up shop in a school and saw close to 500 patients — all of whom have been sleeping in the street as their homes have collapsed. My first patient was a nine-year-old boy, who came in with a minor leg wound, but began crying uncontrollably. Thinking there was more to the story I asked if his family was o.k. – his father and siblings died in the quake and his mother was in the hospital. He has spent the last two weeks living on his own on the streets. He was hungry, scared and alone. With the help of the local pastor and our group liaison, we were able to arrange for him to stay with a family until his mother could be discharged.

Dr. Mahesh Raju (left) and Dr. Jafaar Golzar reading films and diagnosing congenital heart defects, acute MIs, and many congestive heart failure patients.

The stories are heartbreaking and the destruction, both to families and society in general, is overwhelming.

The situation here is almost surreal. Every block contains one or two buildings that are completely destroyed. Three and four stories collapsed onto each other like pancakes – you can look and tell no one could have survived. Every day we drive the same route and every day I seem to notice things I did not notice before: schools, kindergartens, Internet cafes, stores, restaurants, churches all in ruins.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies still buried in the rubble. You feel guilty, intrusive and voyeuristic taking pictures although you know you are doing so not as a tourist but to inform others of the destruction here. If the world forgets about Haiti, this country will be lost. There seems to be no functioning government here – no army or police in the streets, no bulldozers clearing debris or bodies, no words of reassurance from the president and no organization to the chaos.

In addition, over 80 percent of the population lived in absolute poverty BEFORE the quake. The societal upheaval, the impending public health nightmare and the physical destruction will be very difficult, if not impossible to fix. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those here who were affected by the quake.


Photos sent by Dr. Benjamin Lind, vascular fellow at Rush.