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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer)

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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Tue, Apr 22 10:17am · View  

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: Study IDs Surgical Patients at Risk of Dangerous Lung Disorder

close-up of man wearing a respiratorROCHESTER, Minn. — Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a leading cause of respiratory failure after surgery. Patients who develop the lung disorder postoperatively are at higher risk of dying in the hospital, and those who survive the syndrome may still bear its physical effects  years later.  A Mayo Clinic-led study is helping physicians better identify patients most at risk, the first step toward preventing this dangerous and costly surgical complication.  They found nine independent risk factors, including sepsis, high-risk aortic vascular surgery, high-risk cardiac surgery, emergency surgery, cirrhosis of the liver, and admission to the hospital from a location other than home, such as a nursing home.

The findings are published in the journal Anesthesiology.

“This is a very common reason for needing an extended course of breathing support after surgery, and approximately 20 to 25 percent of patients who develop the syndrome will die from it,” says first author Daryl Kor, M.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist.  “It’s well-documented that those who develop this syndrome stay in intensive care longer and in the hospital longer, and the impact of the syndrome can persist for many years.”

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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Wed, Apr 9 2:22pm · View  

Vigilance for Kidney Problems Key for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

image of person and kidneysMULTIMEDIA ALERT: Mayo Clinic study finds rheumatoid arthritis patients at higher risk of kidney disease

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Rheumatoid arthritis patients are likelier than the average person to develop chronic kidney disease, and more severe inflammation in the first year of rheumatoid arthritis, corticosteroid use, high blood pressure and obesity are among the risk factors, new Mayo Clinic research shows.  Physicians should test rheumatoid arthritis patients periodically for signs of kidney problems, and patients should work to keep blood pressure under control, avoid a high-salt diet, and eliminate or scale back medications damaging to the kidneys, says senior author Eric Matteson, M.D., Mayo rheumatology chair.  The study is published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the National Kidney Foundation journal .

Researchers studied 813 Mayo Clinic patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 813 without it. They found that over a 20-year period, people with rheumatoid arthritis have a 1 in 4 chance of developing chronic kidney disease, compared with the general population’s 1-in-5 risk.

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Matteson are available in the downloads.

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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Mon, Apr 7 10:07am · View  

Tissue Testing During Breast Cancer Lumpectomies Prevents Need for Reoperation 96 Percent of Time

Real-time tissue analysis gives Mayo Clinic much lower reoperation numbers than national rate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAROCHESTER, Minn. — Unique laboratory testing during breast cancer lumpectomies to make sure surgeons remove all cancerous tissue spares patients the need for a repeat lumpectomy in roughly 96 percent of cases at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, a success rate much higher than the rate nationally, a Mayo study shows. During the years reviewed, 13.2 percent of breast cancer lumpectomy patients nationally had to return to the operating room within a month of their initial surgery, compared to 3.6 percent at Mayo in Rochester, which uses a technique called frozen section analysis to test excised tissue for cancer while  patient are still on the operating table. The findings are published in the journal Surgery.

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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Mon, Mar 31 10:54am · View  

Recovering From Abdominal Hernia Repair Often Takes Longer Than Patients Expect


upset woman lying on couch holding stomachSalt Lake City — Think having a hernia repaired is going to be a walk in the park — or that you’ll be ready to take a walk in the park within hours afterward? It may be time for a reality check, a Mayo Clinic study suggests. Researchers found that though patients tend to expect to return to normal activities swiftly after laparoscopic ventral hernia repair, many of those studied were still experiencing pain and fatigue several days later. People under 60 and women in particular seemed to have more prolonged recoveries.

Journalists: Soundbites with Dr. Bingener-Casey are available in the downloads.

The [...]

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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Fri, Mar 28 10:34am · View  

Gout Isn’t Always Easy to Prove: CT Scans Help Catch Cases Traditional Test Misses

Accurate diagnosis key because painful disease treated differently than other forms of arthritis

Gout 1 CT Scan of uric acid crystals on foot skeleton ROCHESTER, Minn. — March 25, 2014 — Gout is on the rise among U.S. men and women, and this piercingly painful and most common form of inflammatory arthritis is turning out to be more complicated than had been thought. The standard way to check for gout is by drawing fluid or tissue from an affected joint and looking for uric acid crystals, a test known as a needle aspiration. That usually works, but not always: In a new Mayo Clinic study, X-rays known as dual-energy CT scans found gout in one-third of patients whose aspirates tested negative for the disease. The CT scans allowed rheumatologists to diagnose gout and treat those patients with the proper medication.

The results are published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, the European League Against Rheumatism journal.

The study tested the usefulness of CT scans in finding uric acid crystals around joints across a wide spectrum of gout manifestations. The researchers found CT scans worked particularly well in detecting gout in patients who had experienced several gout-like flares but whose previous needle aspirates came back negative. After CT scans found what appeared to be uric acid crystals, ultrasound-guided aspirates were taken in those areas and tested for urate crystals.

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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Thu, Mar 6 5:22pm · View  

Headed for the OR? Five Questions to Ask Your Surgeon Before the Operation

The answers may make a difference in your outcome

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mar. 10, 2014 — The news that you will need surgery can prompt many questions and a lot of anxiety. Beyond details about your medical condition and treatment options, what should you ask your surgeon before the operation? Whatever you need to ask to be comfortable with the decisions you make about your care, says Robert Cima, M.D., a colon and rectal surgeon and chair of Mayo’s surgical quality subcommittee.

surgical hands“You are the one who has to know if it fits in with your life and your family’s life to do which type of procedure when. So it’s important for you to feel comfortable asking your surgeon if this is the best option, are there other options, is this the best place for me to do this?” Dr. Cima says. “It’s your body, it’s your disease; you should feel comfortable asking those questions before you enter into something as major as surgery.”

Dr. Cima suggests inviting family members or friends who will help you recover to accompany you and to ask any questions they have. He also proposes adding these five questions to your list:

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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Wed, Mar 5 3:32pm · View  

New Approach to Breast Reconstruction Surgery Reduces Opioid Painkiller Use, Hospital Stays

New York — March 3, 2014 — A new approach to breast reconstruction surgery aimed at helping patients’ bodies get back to normal more quickly cut their postoperative opioid painkiller use in half and meant a day less in the hospital on average, a Mayo Clinic study found. The method includes new pain control techniques, preventive anti-nausea treatment and getting women eating and walking soon after free flap breast reconstruction surgery. It has proved so effective, it is now being used across plastic surgery at Mayo Clinic. The findings were being presented at the Plastic Surgery Research Council annual meeting March 7-9 in New York.

Black and white image of woman breast cancerBreast reconstruction surgery is common after breast tissue is removed to prevent or treat breast cancer; in free flap breast reconstruction, the plastic surgeon transfers a section of tissue from one part of the body to the chest.  Using traditional care, the hospital stay averaged roughly four and a half days after that procedure. Using a new approach known as an “enhanced recovery pathway,” patients spent an average of three days in the hospital, the researchers found.

Opioid painkiller use by patients in the hospital after surgery also declined with the new method, and those patients reported less pain at 24 hours after surgery than those who received the traditional approach. Calculated in oral morphine equivalents, opioid use averaged 142.3 milligrams over the first three days in the hospital, compared with an average of 321.3 milligrams over the same period with traditional care.

Patients are giving the changes positive reviews, says senior author Michel Saint-Cyr, M.D., a plastic surgeon in the Breast Diagnostic Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.


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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Tue, Feb 25 11:25am · View  

Pulling Problem Teeth Before Heart Surgery to Prevent Infection May Be Catch-22

Patients with dental extractions before cardiac surgery still at risk for poor outcomes, study finds  

Drawing of a tooth with a broken heart in the center.Rochester, Minn. — Feb. 27, 2014 — To pull or not to pull? That is a common question when patients have the potentially dangerous combination of abscessed or infected teeth and the need for heart surgery.  In such cases, problem teeth often are removed before surgery, to reduce the risk of infections including endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can prove deadly.  But Mayo Clinic research suggests it may not be as simple as pulling teeth:  The study [...]

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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Tue, Feb 25 11:24am · View  

When Cats Bite: 1 in 3 Patients Bitten in Hand Hospitalized, Infections Common

Grey cat with mouth open showing sharp teeth.

Middle-aged women were most common cat bite victims

Rochester, Minn. — Feb. 5, 2014 — Dogs  aren’t the only pets who sometimes bite the hands that feed them. Cats do too, and when they strike a hand, can inject bacteria deep into joints and tissue, perfect breeding grounds for infection. Cat bites to the hand are so dangerous, 1 in 3 patients with such wounds had to be hospitalized, a Mayo Clinic study covering three years showed. Two-third of those hospitalized needed surgery. Middle-aged women were the most common bite victims, according to the research, published in the Journal of Hand Surgery.

Journalists:  sound bites with Dr. Carlsen are available in the downloads.

Why are cat bites to the hand so dangerous? It’s not that their mouths have more germs than dogs’ mouths — or people’s, for that matter. Actually, it’s all in the fangs.

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Sharon Theimer (@stheimer) published a blog post Mon, Jan 13 3:47pm · View  

Mayo School of Health Sciences Names New Dean

Neurologist Michael H. Silber, M.B.Ch.B., has been named dean of Mayo School of Health Sciences within Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.  He assumed the responsibilities of dean on Jan. 1. Dr. Silber, a professor of neurology, brings a wealth of educational experience to his new role. Michael H. Silber, Dean of Mayo Clinic School of Health SciencesOver more than 20 years, he has taught in all five schools within the college and had leadership roles in three.  Since 2007, he has served as associate dean of academic and faculty affairs within Mayo School of Health Sciences. Dr. Silber has been instrumental in developing [...]

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