Tag Archives: Lexington Radiology Associates

Father of Five Survives Stroke

Christopher Ford woke that day in August with a bit of a headache. But it was nothing that would stop the 34-year-old truck driver and father of five from hauling a load from Mullins to Columbia.

As the miles passed, the headache became worse. Chris thought he should take an aspirin. Then, the pain suddenly escalated.

“I was probably 10 minutes from the loading dock, and from out of nowhere it felt like someone took a sledge hammer and hit me on the back of the head,” he said. “It felt like my head exploded for a minute, and I started feeling lightheaded and dizzy.”

Christopher Ford

Although still in pain, the intensity subsided and Chris finished his trip. But when he stepped out of his truck, he noticed the left side of his shirt was soaked — with his own saliva.

“I couldn’t figure out how that happened. I remember thinking, ‘Why am I drooling?”’

A co-worker struck up a conversation on the loading dock, but Chris couldn’t form the simple words to respond.

“I’d never had anything like this happen to me,” he said. “But I thought, ‘It’ll go away, just keep working.’” Unloading complete, he stumbled briefly on his way back to his truck cab to finally take an aspirin. That’s when he noticed two missed calls from his wife Renee on his phone.

“I called her back, and she said, ‘Chris, were you asleep or something? You sound funny.’ I told her ‘No,’ but couldn’t make her understand me. None of the words sounded right. So I told her I couldn’t talk and hung up.”

Chris knew something was really wrong and so did his wife. He had been diagnosed with elevated blood pressure just a year before. He recently left a high-stress job behind, but poor eating habits and little regular exercise contributed to his risk.

Renee called Chris back, this time with a colleague by her side to listen to him, too. “I heard her co-worker at the school tell Renee, ‘I think your husband is having a stroke.’”

“I said, that’s impossible. Not me, I’m 34. I was athletic in school. I can’t be having a stroke.”

But a stroke is exactly what Chris experienced. Nearly nine out of 10 strokes are caused by a blood clot that blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain. Chris experienced some of the most 8common warning signs of stroke; sudden weakness of the face, causing excessive drooling; trouble speaking; dizziness; trouble walking; and that sudden, severe headache.

Renee urged Chris to call an ambulance, but when he hesitated, she took matters into her own hands. Emergency medical help was there within minutes to take Chris to Lexington Medical Center.

At Lexington Medical Center, a quick review of Chris’ CT scan and angiogram revealed a large blockage in his right cerebral artery, which nourishes the majority of the right brain. /a>, of Lexington Radiology Associates, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, knew he had to act fast.

“Without blood flow, the neural damage to the brain was progressing rapidly,” he said. “Expedited treatment was critical.”

Dr. McCarty confirmed the large blood clot with an arteriogram and removed it successfully, restoring blood flow to the brain.

Chris was fortunate. Fast action on the part of his wife, emergency medical technicians and the Lexington Medical Center staff made it possible to quickly dissolve and clear the clot. Chris was home after only three days in the hospital, with no symptoms or long-term effects from the stroke.

Chris has completely changed his lifestyle choices to guard against a future occurrence. He limits salt intake, no longer drinks soda, and has also eliminated alcohol from his diet. He manages stress and is building his muscle mass with gym workouts four to five times a week. And he takes a baby aspirin every day, as recommended by his doctor.

“I’m keeping my blood pressure at a healthy level — I have to make sure nothing happens again to scare me or my family,” he said. “It dawned on me, finally, that you’re never too young to have a stroke, especially if you’re not taking care of yourself.”

To learn more about stroke care at Lexington Medical Center, visit LexMed.com/Stroke.

Expanding 3-D Mammography with the Campaign for Clarity

Join the Lexington Medical Center Foundation on Thursday, March 29 for the McDaniels Automotive Group Gala benefitting Lexington Medical Center’s Campaign for Clarity, a capital campaign to expand 3-D mammography throughout Lexington Medical Center’s network of care.

In this video, Dr. Beth Siroty-Smith of Lexington RAaiology Associates at Lexington Medical Center explains the significance of 3-D mammography in detecting breast cancer early and improving outcomes.


The black tie optional event will take place at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. It will feature live and silent auctions, music by The Root Doctors and catering from the Blue Marlin.

Live auction items at the gala include Hootie and the Blowfish Monday after the Masters tickets with VIP access; a party for 100 attendees at the Vista Room in Columbia with food, beer and wine from the Blue Marlin and live music; and a “Create Your Own Trip” package with a Ritz-Carlton hotel stay and international airline tickets.

Silent auction items include a Live PD Ride Along; four tickets to see the Eagles; a Seabrook Island golf weekend; and a driving experience at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta.

Also known as ‘tomosynthesis,’ 3-D mammography creates a group of three-dimensional pictures of the breast and allows doctors to view tissue one millimeter at a time, making tiny details visible earlier and easier.

3-D 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 2-D mammogram and a similar dose of radiation. Studies have shown that 3-D mammography also reduces false positives and unnecessary callbacks for patients with dense breast tissue.

To buy tickets for the gala, visit McDanielsGolfClassic.com. Individual tickets and sponsorships are available.

If you can’t attend the gala but would like to contribute to the Campaign for Clarity, click here.

Minimally Invasive, Non-surgical Procedure Treats Uterine Fibroids

Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding? Pelvic pain? Backache? Abdominal Bloating? Incontinence?

These symptoms could be due to uterine fibroids, a common condition that affects more than 50 percent of all American women by age 50 – a number that jumps to 80 percent among African American women.

Uterine fibroids are tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. Diagnosed by ultrasound, these tumors are usually benign. Most women have a hysterectomy or myomectomy to treat them; however, there’s a minimally invasive procedure that may be an alternative to surgery for some patients.

Uterine fibroids are tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus.

At Lexington Medical Center, interventional radiologists perform uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), an image-guided, non-surgical treatment that is less painful and has a shorter recovery period than surgical options. This treatment is often just as effective as other uterine fibroid treatments.

“Interventional radiologists leverage the most advanced medical technology to perform procedures that often allow treatment of disease in a much less invasive way, where traditional open surgery was previously required,” said Jonathan K. West, MD, FAWM, interventional radiologist at Lexington Radiology Associates, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

Rather than requiring general anesthesia, UFE is an endovascular procedure performed using conscious sedation and local anesthesia for a tiny incision – just a few millimeters – in the groin. 

A small catheter is inserted through the common femoral artery in the groin and manipulated into the uterine artery on each side of the pelvis. Real-time X-rays guide the position of the catheter. Once inside the correct artery, the interventional radiologist injects tiny particles through the catheter to block the blood flow supplying the fibroids. Blocking blood flow kills cells within the fibroids and preserves the uterus. Fibroids stop bleeding, shrink in size and become softer, which helps alleviate symptoms.

Jonathan K. West, MD, FAWM

UFE takes about 45 to 90 minutes to perform, and an overnight stay in the hospital may be necessary for some patients. Others go home four to six hours after the procedure. 

“This image-guided therapy is a minimally invasive alternative that has excellent outcomes. The risks of major complications related to the procedure are lower than those of hysterectomy,” said Dr. West.

Approximately nine out of 10 patients who undergo UFE experience significant improvement, with many reporting their symptoms disappear completely.

Recurrence of fibroids is rare. Symptoms generally resolve after menopause, so younger women are at a higher risk for recurrent symptoms.

“There is a risk of symptomatic recurrence after UFE in 10 to 15 percent of patients, which may require an additional procedure or surgical therapy such as myomectomy or hysterectomy,” said Dr. West.

He recommends patients talk to their gynecologist to see if they could be a candidate for UFE.

“Working with your gynecologist can help us offer the best treatment options for you. We treat each patient in a personalized and individualized way to best suit her circumstances,” he said.

For more information on UFE and the interventional radiology procedures available at Lexington Radiology Associates, visit LexingtonRadiology.com.