Archive | August, 2019

Feeling the Burn? New Treatment Ends Acid Reflux Disease

Patti Williams woke up in the middle of the night and thought she was having a heart attack.

“I had pain in my chest, back, jaw, neck and down my left arm,” she said. “It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. And I was terrified.”

Patti Williams inside Lexington Medical Center

Patti’s husband took her from their home in Gilbert to the Emergency department at Lexington Medical Center. Doctors performed a series of tests that ruled out cardiac problems. But they saw something else on an ultrasound that caught their attention.

Patti had a hiatal hernia, which occurs when the upper part of the stomach bulges through the diaphragm. A hiatal hernia may cause acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), where stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. In some cases, that can cause the type of pain Patti felt.

Patti went to see James D. Givens, MD, FACS, at Riverside Surgical Group, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

Patti told Dr. Givens she’d been experiencing acid reflux symptoms for about two years. She noticed that when she ate certain things – including onions and fried foods – she would experience indigestion, heartburn and even a nagging cough. Sometimes, it would get so bad that she broke out in a sweat and felt nauseated. She treated it with medications, but it always came back.

“Medications can suppress acid reflux symptoms, but they don’t take away the core of the problem. Acid reflux continues to damage your esophagus,” Dr. Givens said. “The only way Patti was going to get relief was with surgery.”

Dr. Jim Givens

Dr. Givens told Patti about a new surgical option called LINX®. During this laparoscopic procedure, doctors implant a small, flexible band of magnetic beads around the esophageal valve. The string of beads opens and closes to allow patients to swallow food and liquids, but it doesn’t allow contents back up into the esophagus. The magnetic attraction between the titanium-coated beads keeps the valve closed to prevent reflux.

“LINX is the most important change in anti-reflux surgery in the last 70 years,” Dr. Givens said.

The procedure takes about an hour. Patients can go home within a day and are typically back to work and their regular routine in a week. According to Dr. Givens, someone who needs to take acid reflux medications every day to ease their symptoms should consider a surgical option such as LINX.

Patti underwent the procedure in February. During the operation, Dr. Givens also repaired her hiatal hernia.

After the surgery, Patti noticed clear differences and felt better. “I don’t have to take medication anymore for acid reflux,” she said. “Before the surgery, if I didn’t take medicine, I’d have bad indigestion and chest pain. That doesn’t happen anymore.”

For more information on surgical solutions for acid reflux disease, visit RiversideSurgical.com.

Finding the Right Beat: Pacemaker puts Blythewood Woman Back in the Cycling Seat

Sharon Sherbourne knew something wasn’t right. An avid cyclist and runner, she was training for a long-distance race when her legs felt heavy and her heart rate remained low even when she was exercising vigorously.

The 67 year old had begun an exercise routine about 15 years earlier, while she helped implement wellness programs as vice president of human resources at a Blythewood manufacturing plant. “I knew I had to walk the walk, so I started doing aerobics. A friend from church got me involved in the running community, so I started training for a 5K, and that morphed into doing an 8K.”

Sharon cycling in Blythewood

She eventually completed four full 26-mile marathons, along with numerous half-marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. About 10 years ago, she added long-distance cycling to her workouts, but recently, she found herself out of breath climbing a flight of stairs. She made an appointment to see a doctor.

“My first cardiologist told me I was simply getting older and I probably didn’t need to be doing all that stuff,” Sharon said. “But I knew it was more than that. You know your own body.”

Then, she was referred to Lexington Cardiology and William W. Brabham, MD, FHRS, an electrophysiologist with Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. Dr. Brabham specializes in the treatment of abnormal heart rhythms. He scheduled a treadmill stress test for Sharon.

“As her workload increased on the treadmill, her heart rate peaked in the 70s to 80s, which is very unusual for her age. At 67, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for her heart rate to reach the 150s to 160s, especially with the level of activity that she typically would participate in,” Dr. Brabham said.

He diagnosed her problem as chronotropic incompetence, which is the inability of the heart to increase its rate to a level that matches a person’s activity level, combined with AV block, a condition where the signals from the top chambers of the heart don’t make it to the bottom chambers.

“It appeared most likely a result of age-related changes in the conduction system of the heart,” he said. “Just the way the rest of your body ages, the conduction system in your heart can age to varying degrees.”

Dr. William Brabham, Lexington Cardiology

He recommended a pacemaker, a device that monitors heart rate and stimulates the heart if it drops below a pre-programmed rate. A dual-chamber pacemaker, the type Sharon has, also restores the connection between the top and bottom chambers of the heart.

Sharon’s pacemaker was implanted in March; by late June, she was training for a 100-mile bike ride.

“I feel fantastic. It had gotten to the point where, when I was walking up stairs at the house, I’d get to the top and I’d be completely out of breath. So I had my pacemaker implant on March 7, I came home March 8 and the very first thing I did was walk up the stairs to see if it had made a difference. It had.”

For Sharon, a mother of two, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of one, the experience drove home the importance of listening to her body and going the extra mile for answers.

“Age should not be the marker for anything. Your physical fitness level, what you enjoy doing, what you’re used to doing — that should be what drives your behavior and drives your medical practitioner’s response,” she said. “I felt that Dr. Brabham really understood that and worked with me to make all of it happen.”

Teacher’s Baby Story Receives High Marks

It was anything but a normal day of school for Katie Laney, a second grade teacher at Bethel-Hanberry Elementary in Blythewood.

Katie was seven-and-a-half months pregnant with twins.

One morning in May, the unexpected happened right outside her classroom.

Katie Laney with her husband Jordan and their twin sons inside Lexington Medical Center’s Special Care Nursery.

“My water broke. I couldn’t believe it. I was frantic — a nervous wreck,” she said.

Katie was only 34 weeks pregnant. Her babies weren’t supposed to arrive until July.

“It was so early that it really scared me. I wasn’t ready. Nothing was ready at home.”

With her students anxiously peering through the classroom door to see what was happening, the school principal whisked Katie to the nurse’s office in a wheelchair.

Katie’s husband arrived and drove her to Lexington Medical Center. Inside Labor and Delivery at the hospital’s new patient care tower, a team of clinicians monitored the babies’ heartbeats and performed an ultrasound.

“I thought, ‘Are they OK? Is everything going to be OK?’” she said. “I just wanted them to be healthy and perfect.”

After a long labor, Darci Putnam, a certified nurse midwife with Lexington Women’s Care, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, delivered Katie’s twins. Baby Grayson came into the world at 4:56 p.m. on Friday, May 31, weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces. His brother Cooper followed at 6:37 p.m., 5 pounds, 1 ounce.

“They put each of them on my stomach for a split second – they cried and I felt comforted.”

But then, the nurses rushed the babies to the Special Care Nursery. As preemies, the twins needed extra attention.

Katie got a long look at her sons for the first time when she arrived in the Special Care Nursery later that evening. She still tears up talking about it.

“I was emotional seeing them because they were hooked up to all kinds of wires,” she said.

That’s when Lexington Medical Center’s Special Care Nursery nurses offered reassurance.

“They took time to explain what each wire was for,” she said. “They took time to get to know me, my husband and our family. Not only did they take care of our babies, they took care of us as well.”

The nurses explained that before the twins could go home, they needed to show they could breathe on their own, regulate their temperature and tolerate all of their feedings.

It was a waiting game. Katie and her husband spent all day every day in the Special Care Nursery. The 20-bed unit has all private rooms, which is a new model of care for Lexington Medical Center. Katie said it made a big difference.

“I couldn’t imagine sharing a room in such a sensitive situation or seeing other families coming and going,” she said. “The private rooms also helped us connect with our nurses even more.”

When Katie was discharged from the hospital, the twins had to stay.

“It was so hard leaving every night, but I knew the boys were cared for by nurses who loved them and would be there for them,” she said. “That made it easier for us.

Day by day, Grayson and Cooper made progress. One by one, the wires went away. Cards from Katie’s students filled the room.

After more than two weeks, the babies came home from the hospital on June 17. Today, they continue to grow and thrive.

Katie and her family remain grateful for the care they received at Lexington Medical Center.
“I can’t sing the hospital’s praises enough.”

To find a physician who delivers babies at Lexington Medical Center, visit LexMed.com/OBGYN.