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“Heart” With a Little Help from Our Friends

“Where’s your heart?”

That’s what Barbara Brown’s grandchildren asked her after she had open heart surgery at Lexington Medical Center.

They were talking about the heart-shaped pillow that each heart surgery patient receives. Members of the patient’s care team sign it. And, sometimes, the surgeon draws on the pillow to explain the patient’s condition and how to fix it.

“The heart was a lifesaver,” Brown said. “I’d hug it after surgery and it made me feel more secure.”

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides the heart pillows, which are designed to support the chest when
patients cough or sneeze after surgery and to help them remember not to use their arms when standing and walking.

The pillows add some emotional comfort, too.

LMC_010914_0118The retired Lexington County middle school math teacher’s heart troubles began early in 2013 when she experienced pain running down her arm while on a treadmill. She was also borderline diabetic, had high cholesterol and a history of heart disease in her family.

The problems multiplied one day when she was walking at Riverbanks Botanical Garden in Columbia with a friend.

“It felt like there was an elephant on my chest.” And her face was as pale as a ghost.

A cardiac catheterization at Lexington Medical Center revealed two blocked arteries. Brown underwent open heart surgery at the hospital on July 18, 2013, two days before her 63rd birthday.

After surgery, she began the hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program, taking classes about nutrition and healthy eating, and working out on treadmills, bikes and elliptical machines in Lexington Medical Center’s nationally accredited cardiac rehabilitation facility.

“The thing I liked most was knowing that I was being monitored,” Brown said. “I felt confident knowing they were watching me.”

Statistics show that cardiac rehabilitation participants experience a 34 to 46 percent reduction in death rates compared to non-participants. Benefits also include reduced symptoms, increased energy, quicker return to work and leisure activities, and improved quality of life.

Cardiac rehabilitation is so important that the Lexington Medical Center Foundation offers scholarships to people in need who do not have the resources to pay for it. And the hospital’s Foundation pays for a DVD library to educate cardiac rehabilitation patients, flat screen televisions for the gym and waiting area, scales for patients to use at home, and tuition for smoking cessation classes.

These days, Brown eats healthy, keeps a food journal and exercises 30 minutes daily. She also takes care of two of her grandchildren two days per week. They like to play “hospital” in her house and hand her the heart pillow.

“You need your heart,” they tell her.

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.

Take a Deep Breath and PUSH!

Bringing a child into the world is one of the most joyous occasions a woman will experience. But it can be an anxious time as well.

That’s why Lexington Medical Center offers a free Doula program to help expectant mothers and families through one of life’s most meaningful events.

Hodnette3Recently, Stephanie Hodnette of Lexington delivered her third child at Lexington Medical Center. This was also the third time she had help from a hospital doula.

“I was actually able to deliver all of my children without medication because of the tremendous support from each of my doulas,” said Stephanie.

The mother to three young boys, Stephanie is a patient of Lexington Women’s Care, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. And from her very first prenatal appointment for her first son, she knew she wanted to attempt a non-medicated birth.

“If not for the doula’s coaching and help with pain management, I wouldn’t have been able to deliver my children without medication. Their guidance and emotional support helped my husband and me – especially the first time,” she said.

Doulas are trained to work with a woman’s physician or midwife and her nurse to provide emotional encouragement and physical comfort measures during and after childbirth. They will also visit the new mother the next day, offering additional support, breastfeeding assistance and helpful information. All women, even those who have a medicated birth, can benefit from using a doula.

“With Stephanie, her husband and I took turns fanning her to help keep her cool. And as her breathing pattern changed, I alerted the nurse to her behavior, allowing her to transition into the pushing phase of delivery,” said Irene Brinkmann, a Lexington Medical Center doula. “Even though Stephanie and her husband are experienced parents, using a doula gave them a sense of peace. They knew that they had help,” said Irene.

Importantly, doulas do not take the place of family members during delivery.

“Our doula offered encouragement to my husband, too. She suggested things he could do for me that I couldn’t think of at the time,” said Stephanie.

“We try to recognize the little needs that make the experience more comfortable for everyone: a rocking chair for an alternative laboring position; a warm blanket for a chilly, but excited grandma; an extra pillow in just the right spot; a washcloth on a hot forehead; the first drink of juice after the little one arrives; or taking a picture of the happy new family,” said Irene.

Lexington Medical Center has one of the first hospital-based doula programs in the country and the only doula program in the Midlands. To learn more, please call (803) 791-2631 or visit LexMed.com.

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.

Lexington Medical Center Begins 3D Mammography

As part of a comprehensive program for the diagnosis of breast cancer, Lexington Medical Center is pleased to announce it now offers 3D mammography. This new breast cancer screening tool creates a group of three dimensional images of the breast and allows doctors to view tissue one millimeter at a time, making tiny details visible earlier and easier. 3D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), is currently recommended for women who are having their first screening mammogram or who have dense breast tissue.

mammogramXLexington Medical Center is the first facility in the Midlands to offer this technology. Studies in the Journal of The American Medical Association have shown that 3D mammography increases breast cancer detection, and reduces false positives and unnecessary callbacks for patients with dense breast tissue.

“Lexington Medical Center is excited to offer this leading edge technology for breast cancer screening,” said Dr. Beth Siroty-Smith, director of Women’s Imaging services for Lexington Radiology Associates at Lexington Medical Center. “3D mammography reduces difficulties in identifying abnormalities in women with denser breast tissue and results in increased cancer detection.”

In the images below, you see a 2D mammogram on the left and a 3D image (Tomosynthesis) on the right. The suspicious area in the 2D image is more blurry and easier to miss. In the 3D (Tomosynthesis) images on the right, it’s more clearly defined and an obvious abnormality.

Read_Me_Case_6_-_Cancer_Cases_1_.pdf

Read_Me_Case_6_-_Cancer_Cases.pdf

3D mammography uses a low dose X-ray to create multiple images within seconds that are similar to the “slices” of images in a CT scan. The FDA-approved procedure uses the same type of equipment as a 2D mammogram and a similar dose of radiation. Women who have questions about whether or not they should receive a 3D mammogram should talk to their doctor.

breast cancer ribbonWomen who are having a first screening mammogram or whose doctors have told them they have dense breast tissue may schedule a 3D mammogram at Lexington Medical Center’s Women’s Imaging facility on the main hospital campus in West Columbia. Women’s Imaging will nearly double the number of daily scheduling slots in an effort to accommodate all interested women. Evening and weekend hours will also soon be available. To schedule an appointment, please call (803) 791-2486.

In addition to being an American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, Lexington Medical Center’s breast program has accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and the cancer program has accreditation with commendation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.