Sharon Theimer (@stheimer)
Activity by Sharon Theimer
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.
Breast 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 with dental extractions before cardiac surgery still at risk for poor outcomes, study finds
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 [...]
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.
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. Over 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 [...]
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Jan. 13, 2014 — Shoulder arthritis is a common problem for rheumatoid arthritis patients: pain and difficulty moving their arms can grow so severe that daily tasks and sleep become difficult. If medication and physical therapy aren’t enough, shoulder replacement surgery is a common next step. Despite surgical challenges with some rheumatoid arthritis patients, the procedure improves range of motion and reduces pain in nearly all cases, especially for those with intact rotator cuffs, a Mayo Clinic study shows. The findings are published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.
“I think it’s quite encouraging,” says senior author John Sperling, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “What we’ve learned from this study is that if people do develop significant pain in their shoulder due to arthritis associated with rheumatoid arthritis, shoulder arthroplasty really is a predictable and reliable operation to help them improve their function and relieve pain.”
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Sperling are available in the downloads.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, causing joint problems and sometimes affecting other organs. Many patients eventually develop shoulder arthritis; sometimes, bones start wearing away and rotator cuffs tear, making shoulder replacement surgery more complicated.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other chronic forms of inflammatory arthritis can face life-threatening complications, and heart disease tops the list. People with such rheumatic diseases are twice as likely as the average person to develop heart problems. Catching heart disease early is critical. Mayo cardiologists and rheumatologists have joined forces to create the Mayo Clinic Cardio-Rheumatology Clinic to pioneer new diagnostic tools and break this dangerous disease connection.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video of Dr. Matteson is available for download from the Mayo Clinic News Network.
Mayo Clinic has found that the traditional methods used to pinpoint heart disease risk, such as the Framingham Risk Score, do not work very well in rheumatic disease patients, because their heart disease may manifest itself in a different and more subtle way. To prevent, detect and treat heart problems as early as possible, the Cardio-Rheumatology Clinic examines a broader spectrum of risk factors.
"We offer patients a more detailed assessment of their cardiovascular status and a more detailed examination of risk factors besides the usual conventional risk factors such as lipids, cholesterol and smoking," says Eric Matteson, M.D., Mayo Clinic rheumatology chair, who is moderating a presentation Saturday on "cardio rheumatology" during an American Heart Association scientific meeting in Dallas. "We also are taking into account the rheumatic disease burden, the disease activity and the treatment of the rheumatic disease as a factor for mitigating cardiovascular risk."
In part based on Mayo Clinic research, Cardio-Rheumatology Clinic physicians are employing new ultrasound techniques to evaluate blood vessels for the earliest signs of heart disease.
"By evaluating and educating our patients early on in their rheumatic disease processes, we hope to be able to understand the mechanisms and make a difference in the development and severity of their atherosclerotic complications," says Sharon Mulvagh, M.D., a cardiologist and director of the Mayo Clinic's Women's Heart Clinic, noting heart attack and stroke risk in particular.
Because women are more commonly affected by autoimmune disorders, the Cardio-Rheumatology Clinic will be located within the Women's Heart Clinic. Physicians plan to publish their findings from the clinic as part of a long-standing Mayo Clinic effort to identify the factors driving heart disease in rheumatic disease patients, reduce risk and slow the progression of heart disease.
There is some evidence that moderating inflammation through treatment reduces the risk of heart disease in patients with rheumatic diseases, Dr. Matteson says. But, physicians do not really know why there is this connection between heart problems and rheumatic diseases, he adds.
"We think it must have to do with the inflammatory burden of the rheumatic disease; that is, the same process that leads to inflammation in the joints, for instance in rheumatoid arthritis, may also affect the lining of the blood vessels," Dr. Matteson says.
It's an epidemic spreading steadily and painfully, joint by joint. Arthritis now afflicts nearly 1 in 4 American adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Thursday. [CDC news release]
It found that 22.7 percent of U.S. adults - 52.5 million people - have arthritis, and that 22.7 million of them say arthritis is limiting their daily activities. In all, the number of adults with arthritis rose 2.5 million during the 2010-12 period studied, compared with the previous analysis, covering 2007-09. Mayo Clinic rheumatologist Shreyasee Amin, M.D., offers these comments on the CDC statistics:
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Amin are available in the downloads. To interview Dr. Amin, Dr. Krych or other Mayo Clinic experts on arthritis, please contact Sharon Theimer in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at email@example.com or 507-284-5005.
There are more than 100 forms of arthritis: Osteoarthritis, also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common.
Research is among several Mayo studies being presented at American College of Rheumatology meeting
SAN DIEGO — It may seem counterintuitive, but young and middle-aged fibromyalgia patients report worse symptoms and poorer quality of life than older patients, a Mayo Clinic study shows. Fibromyalgia most often strikes women. It is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain with fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. The research, one of several Mayo studies being presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, suggests the disorder plays out differently among different age groups.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video of Dr. Oh is available for download from the Mayo Clinic News Network.
Researchers studied 978 fibromyalgia patients and divided them into three age groups: those 39 or younger, those 40 to 59, and those 60 or older. The younger and middle-aged patients were likelier to be employed, unmarried, smokers and have a higher education level, lower body mass index, more abuse history and a shorter duration of fibromyalgia symptoms than older patients.
Early menopause is risk factor, research presented at American College of Rheumatology meeting shows
SAN DIEGO — Oct. 26, 2013 — People with rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic inflammatory conditions are at higher risk of heart disease. Who is in the most danger, why and how best to prevent and detect cardiovascular complications are important questions for physicians and researchers. Mayo Clinic studies presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting shed new light on this connection, in part by revealing factors that seem to put some rheumatoid arthritis patients in greater jeopardy of heart problems: early menopause, more severe rheumatoid arthritis and immunity to a common virus, cytomegalovirus, among others.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video of Dr. Matteson is available for download from the Mayo Clinic News Network.
In one study, Mayo researchers discovered that patients whose rheumatoid arthritis is more severe are likelier to have heart problems. That becomes true soon after rheumatoid arthritis strikes, making early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis important, says co-author Eric Matteson, M.D., chair of rheumatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Federal budget furloughs put work on flu vaccines for 2014-15 'behind the curve'
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Oct. 10, 2013 — Flu season is under way, but how many Americans have been hit so far, how badly, and which influenza bugs are to blame is unclear. That information is important to prevent and manage outbreaks, and it is crucial for creation of the next batch of influenza vaccines. But this flu season, the nation is flying (and coughing, and sneezing, and maybe worse) blind. That's because the agency that normally keeps the country on top of influenza outbreaks — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — is largely out of commission due to the federal government shutdown. Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert Gregory Poland, M.D., explains what the CDC normally does and what federal furloughs mean to efforts to protect people from contagious illnesses.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video of Dr. Poland is available for download from the Mayo Clinic News Network.
What does the CDC normally do to track outbreaks?
Dr. Poland: "The CDC has as one of its seminal missions infectious disease surveillance globally and nationally, and they're the only entity in the U.S. that tracks these things nationally. So now you've got a week, two weeks, who knows how long, where