Hybrid Operating Room – Not Your Typical Delivery Room

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 11, 2015

Chelsea Phaneuf and her family.

It’s not every day that a baby is born in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) cardiovascular hybrid operating room (OR), but that’s where a multidisciplinary cardiovascular and obstetrics team was at the ready as 29-year-old Chelsea Phaneuf delivered her daughter, Aria, this spring. Chelsea had been admitted to the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center with a failing heart valve about a month before Aria’s arrival.

At the age of 23, an echocardiogram showed that Chelsea’s bicuspid valve had suddenly deteriorated and needed to be replaced. At such a young age, Chelsea was concerned about how the surgery would impact planning for a future family. The daily blood-thinning medication required for patients who undergo a valve replacement with a mechanical device is a risk to a developing fetus. Chelsea, therefore, opted for a biological valve, even though they don’t last as long as a mechanical valve.

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Defying the Odds: Heart Patient Welcomes New Baby

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 10, 2014

Ali Barton with her newborn son, Ethan.

When Ali Barton, 31, was about 18 weeks pregnant, she began experiencing “bizarre” swelling in her legs, sudden weight fluctuation, and intense nausea after just a few bites of food. Her local care team at the time attributed these symptoms to her pregnancy, but a few weeks later, Ali went to her community emergency department, worried that she may have a virus.

Following an echocardiogram, she was immediately transferred to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), where a team of high-risk obstetricians and heart failure specialists were intensely focused on her care. Ali previously had been diagnosed with endomyocardial fibrosis, a rare disease that causes a thickening of the walls of the heart, resulting in difficulty pumping and fluid retention.

Ali’s physicians at BWH had never seen a case of endomyocardial fibrosis in a pregnant woman, and with no experience to go on, they were deeply concerned for the health of both Ali and her unborn baby.

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Healing the Heart – From Heart Failure to Recovery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 12, 2014

Matt Fogg and nurse practitioner Leslie Griffin.

Sometimes a story hits your right in the heart. Matt Fogg’s experience with battling chronic heart failure to eventually overcoming it is one of those.

Typically, when patients receive a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), it serves as either a bridge to transplant, or as a lifetime therapy if the patient is not a candidate for transplantation. But one Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) patient became the hospital’s first chronic implant patient in recent years to successfully recover heart function with targeted therapy and, ultimately, have the device removed.

When Fogg, now 24, arrived at BWH two years ago, he was suffering from heart failure. His heart was so damaged that it was unable to provide enough blood to his organs. After Matt had received care at BWH for a month, cardiologist Dr. Eldrin Lewis of the Center for Advanced Heart Disease advocated for him to have an LVAD implanted. “Given that Matt was so young, we thought he would do well on an LVAD,” says Lewis.

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Physicians for Haiti – Doctors Helping Doctors

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 13, 2014

Dr. Aaron Berkowitz joins Haitian physicians on rounds to assess a patient at St. Boniface Hospital.

Today’s post was adapted from an article that originally appeared on  the BWH Global Health Hub blog.

On January 13, 2010, just one day after a devastating earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti, a group of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) physicians huddled in the Department of Medicine’s Eppinger Conference Room to ask: What can we do to help?

One of them, Michelle Morse, MD, MPH, went to Haiti during her residency in Global Health Equity at BWH. After the earthquake, she met Zadok Sacks, MD, a resident at BWH and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Together, Sacks and Morse founded an organization called Physicians for Haiti, which supports the work being done around medical education in Haiti.

“Haiti is full of amazing health care professionals, and they deliver care without access to any of the resources that we have here – the network of colleagues, technology, and equipment,” says Sacks.

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Innovation Units: Helping Patients Transition Back Home

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 11, 2013

Orthopedic Surgery nurses continue to care for patients who have returned home.

These days, it’s routine for patients who have had orthopedic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) to receive a phone call from the nurses who cared for them at the hospital after they go home.

“We ask patients if they had trouble getting pain medications, how their pain is, whether the visiting nurse and physical therapist came to the house and if they know when their follow-up appointments are,” said Mary Anne Kenyon, MPH, MS, RN, ONC, Nursing Director, Department of Orthopedic Surgery.

Through the calls, BWH nurses have learned how they can ensure that patients have a smooth transition back home. This includes making sure prescriptions for pain medications are available and that patients learn how to take their medications correctly before they leave the hospital.

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Research, Meditation, and the Dalai Lama

Posted by Blog Administrator June 4, 2012

Researchers with Dalai Lama

David Vago (second from left) was one of six scientists from around the world selected to share research with the Dalai Lama (center).

On a day in late April, David Vago, a research scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), woke up thinking, “There will not be many days like this in my life.”

That day, he had the rare opportunity to present his research on mindfulness and contemplative neuroscience to His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Vago, who works in BWH’s Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, was one of six scientists around the world selected to participate in this private meeting, entitled “Mind and Life XXIV: Latest Findings in Contemplative Neuroscience.”

“It was a privilege to meet the Dalai Lama, and an even greater honor to be able to present my scientific research to him and have a dialogue about the mind,” said Vago. “To have his feedback is invaluable.”

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Treating Violence as a Disease

Posted by Blog Administrator May 2, 2012

violence prevention team

From left: Nurse Dawn MacDonald, Dr. Selwyn Rogers, David Crump. “We find ways to manage other diseases and prevent them – we need to work with victims of violence in the same way.” – Dr. Selwyn Rogers

It started on a July Fourth weekend, when a 17-year-old who had been shot in the neck a few days earlier returned to the hospital with a bullet in his stomach. “That’s when I knew there was something wrong with the system,” recalls Dr. Selwyn Rogers, now chief of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Trauma, Burn, and Critical Care Surgery.

The problem, Rogers realized, is that violence – whether experienced as the victim or the aggressor – needs to be addressed as a disease. “For diabetes, you take insulin and glucose every day, not just when you don’t feel well,” Rogers notes. “We find ways to manage other diseases and prevent them – we need to work with victims of violence in the same way.”

That’s where David Crump – a Boston streetworker who has worked throughout his career to support victims of gang-related and other forms of violence – comes in. Last fall BWH recruited Crump to help launch a new Violence Intervention and Prevention Program.

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