Baptist Health Paducah offers team approach to heart valve disease

BosemugBaptist Health Paducah, the heart hospital our region prefers 3 to 1, offers a new team approach to treating heart valve disease.

Heart valve disease, any condition involving the four valves of the heart, affects five million Americans each year. Disease occurs when any of the heart’s valves either can’t open well enough to let blood flow through or can’t close well enough to prevent backflow of the blood.

If left untreated, valve disease gets worse and leads to heart failure, affecting quality of life and longevity. Patients with severe heart valve disease have a shorter life expectancy, so prompt treatment is critical.

If you’ve ever been told you have a heart murmur or a heart valve problem, you should speak to your doctor, who can refer you to our valve clinic for diagnostic testing.

A team approach
Baptist Health Paducah offers a coordinated team of cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons to help patients get the best treatment early, so they can continue their active lifestyles.
If the patient is considered a good candidate for surgery, he or she could have the valve repaired with a minimally invasive technique and then return to normal activity, which wouldn’t be possible if the disease is left untreated.

Brunch Bunch

You can learn more about valve disease and treatments when my colleagues – cardiologist Kenneth Ford, MD, and cardiothoracic surgeon Nicholas Lopez, MD – speak at the hospital’s free Brunch Bunch from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Feb. 25, in the Baptist Heart Center auditorium. Phone 270.575.2797 to register.

Also, mark your calendars for the annual Heart Health Fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 22, in the atrium of Doctors Office Building 2. Baptist staff will provide free blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol screenings. Fasting and advance registration are not required. Physicians and other providers will be available to answer questions.

If you’ve been diagnosed with valve disease, talk to our registered nurses 24/7 about options to improve your health. Phone Baptist Health Line at 270.575.2918.

–Cardiologist Sanjay Bose, MD, FACC

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Baptist Health Paducah stroke center is changing lives

Ashburn 043Why choose Baptist Health Paducah for your stroke care?

Baptist Health Paducah has the only certified stroke program in Kentucky west of Owensboro. It is certified by The Joint Commission as a primary stroke center and recently received the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for stroke treatment from the American Heart and American Stroke associations.

Plus, Baptist Health has neuroscience specialists – neurosurgeons and neurologists – working together in the diagnosis and treatment for disease and disorders involving the nervous system.

Why is stroke education important?

Stroke is one of the nation’s leading killers and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Baptist focuses on public education, so people of all ages know they should call 9-1-1 immediately if they see anyone experiencing signs of a stroke. Time saved is brain saved, so if they seek immediate treatment, the effects of stroke may be reduced or even reversed.
A stroke occurs when blood flow is interrupted in the brain, either from a blood clot or bleeding into the brain. Each minute oxygen and nutrients are blocked by a stroke, 1.9 million brain cells die – the reason quick intervention to restore blood flow is crucial.

I’ve had the joy of watching stroke patients recover and return to their active lives because they acted quickly. They knew the symptoms and got to the Emergency department in time to be treated with the clot-dissolving drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), which can reduce long-term disability if given within three hours after a stroke starts.

If treated in time, tPA treatment can improve the likelihood that their damage will be less severe and sometimes can be returned back to their baseline state. Occasionally, we have even seen patients experience nearly-immediate reversal of speech loss and paralysis after being treated with tPA. While this is a rare occurrence, it can and does occur.

Risk factors
Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, family history, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of exercise.
To determine if your symptoms indicate a stroke, keep F.A.S.T. in mind:
F=Face Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A=Arm Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S=Speech Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
T=Time If you observe any of these signs, phone 9-1-1 because ambulance staff can expedite treatment.

If you have any questions about stroke symptoms, talk to a Baptist nurse any time at the Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline: 1.800.575.1911. A stroke support group meets from 3 to 4:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month in the Baptist Heart Center conference room. Phone Mary Legge, RN, at 270.575.2880 for more information or to register.

– Neurologist Joseph Ashburn, MD
Medical director of Baptist Health Paducah stroke center

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Could you be living with the ‘silent killer’?

GHP-0212It is estimated that more than one million people are living with undiagnosed abdominal aortic aneurysms. Could you be one of them?

At least 95 percent of these can be treated successfully if detected prior to a rupture. Baptist Health Paducah and Life Line Screening are partnering to find vascular disease and other conditions so they can be treated before they become life-threatening.

If you’re over 50, with risk factors like high blood pressure, obesity and smoking, these screenings could save your life, for example, by finding an abdominal aneurysm so it can be repaired before it ruptures.

What is abdominal aortic aneurysm?

Abdominal aortic aneurysm, also known as AAA, is the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for more than 15,000 deaths each year, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery.

An aneurysm in the abdominal aorta, the large artery running through the main trunk, occurs when a weak portion expands. The pressure from blood flowing through the aorta causes its weakened part to bulge, much like a balloon.


Non-invasive ultrasound can detect an enlargement of the abdominal aorta; find plaque in the neck’s carotid arteries, which can lead to stroke by obstructing blood flow to the brain or breaking off and flowing to the brain; and estimate bone density. Other screenings use EKG to detect heart arrhythmia, which can lead to stroke; and the Ankle-Brachial Index for lower extremity vascular disease, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.  

Upcoming screenings dates and locations are available, by appointment only:

  • Feb. 12 – 11 a.m., Joe Creason Community Building, Benton
  • Feb. 13 – 9 a.m., Caldwell County EMS, Princeton
  • Feb. 26 – 11 a.m., Memorial Baptist Church, Murray
  • Feb. 27 – 9 a.m., Cadiz United Methodist Church, Cadiz
  • March 12 – 11 a.m., Concord Christian Center, Paducah
  •  March 13 – 9 a.m., Lyon County Convention Center, Eddyville

Screenings are priced individually or in a package. Use code PBHP-001 for discounted prices at 877.237.1383 or Five screenings, plus a disease risk assessment, are $209 or the stroke and vascular package is $139.

For information, phone Baptist Health Line at 270.575.2918.

– Griffin Bicking, DO, vascular surgeon

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Get the right MRI the first time at Baptist Health Imaging

Dr. David SaxonNot all MRIs are the same.

When our patients need an MRI or other imaging services, we send them to Baptist Health Imaging for high-quality and fast results to avoid expensive re-testing.

It’s convenient for the patient with parking near the door of the outpatient center, located at 2705 Kentucky Ave., next door to Baptist Health Paducah.

It’s also fast, with same-day results from on-site radiologists, so patients and their doctors don’t have to wait long before moving to the next step of their treatment.

Most important, the nationally-accredited radiology services offer the best images available, so we get a clear look at their problem the first time. Avoiding repeat tests saves the patient time and money.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to allow physicians to explore the inner workings of the human body. MRI gives physicians high quality images to uncover stroke damage, assess spine and brain problems and even detect cancer in its earliest stages. But not all MRIs, especially older ones, offer the same quality, so it’s important to ask your doctor to go to a center with the latest technology.

The technology at Baptist offers fast scan times, so patients don’t have to lie still for as long and includes the comfort of an open MRI for larger and claustrophobic patients.

For information about Baptist Health Imaging, phone 270.415.7241 from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

William Conyer, MD, and I – along with experienced nurse practitioners – provide walk-in care at Baptist Health Prime Care when illnesses and non-life threatening emergencies show up unexpectedly. Prime Care is located on the main campus at 2501 Kentucky Ave., with designated parking. It is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Phone: 270.415.4860.

– David Saxon, MD, family practice physician

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How can you give your baby a healthy start?

Amber Savells, M.D.Are you 36 weeks pregnant and eager to have your baby now? A healthy, full-term pregnancy of 40 weeks should be at the top of your list to give your baby the best possible start in life.

Prematurity risks

The benefits of carrying your baby full-term or 40 weeks definitely outweigh any inconveniences it may cause for a short period. For that reason, we do not support medically-unnecessary or elective deliveries before 39 weeks.

It is not just babies born two or three months early who are premature. Every week of pregnancy is critical to a baby’s health, so babies at 36 and 37 weeks are considered premature as well.

Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn infant death. In the U.S. and in Kentucky, about one in eight babies is born prematurely (before 37 weeks). Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births.

Babies born even three or four weeks early can have problems with feeding and jaundice. They often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities.

Champions for healthy babies

At Baptist Health, we are dedicated to lowering the number of premature births. We are among 100 hospitals nationwide working with the March of Dimes “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait®” campaign, including the 39 weeks+ Quality Improvement Service Package to reduce medically-unnecessary (elective) inductions and Cesarean deliveries scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

Babies have been important throughout the 60-year history of Baptist Health Paducah. The first baby was born here just four hours after the hospital opened in 1953 and more than 78,000 have followed – more than four times the number at the area’s other hospitals combined. It has the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the area and has been named among America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics by WomenCertified®.

In case your baby does come early, it’s comforting to know the NICU stands ready to care for babies who are at least 28 weeks, providing expert care close to home.

If you have a question about your pregnancy, ask our nurses at StorkLine 24 hours a day at 270.575.BABY.

– Amber Savells, MD, obstetrician

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Pink Glove Dance star counts her blessings

AroundBHP_Rebrand02Cindy Adams didn’t feel like dancing in last year’s Pink Glove Dance video for Baptist Health Paducah. Adams, R.N., nurse manager for the Baptist Heart Group, had just received a devastating breast cancer diagnosis at the time.

This year it’s a different story. Adams, 55, has put on her dancing shoes to be the star of the video after successfully recovering from a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.

Baptist Health has participated in the national contest since 2011 to remind women to get annual mammograms for early detection of breast cancer. This year’s video features about 15,000 people, including Adams and other breast cancer survivors; hospital employees; and student groups and fans at the first ever McCracken County High School home football game and at the 100th anniversary of the Paducah Tilghman-Mayfield rivalry.

GHP-9631Why dance? To celebrate survivors and encourage women to be diligent with their annual screenings so more women will survive. “It’s about more birthdays, more anniversaries and more grandchildren,” said Charles Winkler, M.D., oncologist.

As a survivor, Adams couldn’t agree more. “I’m learning every day to count my blessings,” Adams said. “Special days are no longer just holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. Every day is a special day. I choose to live in the moment. If you ask, ‘How are you today?’ my standard reply is ‘Blessed!’”

GHP-9911Adams has been taking care of patients for 35 years, but that didn’t make her diagnosis any easier.

“My love is cardiology and helping others, but breast cancer was new to me,” she said. “My journey physically led me into a deeper spiritual experience. My motto throughout this journey became, ‘If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.’ I can truly say at this date that my prayers were answered.”

View the Baptist Health Paducah video Oct. 25 through Nov. 8 at Vote once daily from each of your e-mail accounts.

Baptist Health has placed in the top 8 the last two years and is striving to place in the top 3 this year to win prize money for the Kentucky Cancer Program’s mammography services.

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Can your diet make you sad?

AnAppleADayRebrand2Are you biting off more than you can chew? Depression is a common mental health problem, affecting one in 10 U.S. adults at some point in their lives. Depression causes difficulties in the workplace, an increased number of absent days and temporary disability. It also can have lasting consequences for health. 

Depression was once thought of as a purely psychological phenomenon or caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. As scientific knowledge increases, it is now known that depression can be triggered by inflammation, by exposure to infection and even by the foods we eat.

Inflammation is a function of the immune system and is caused by white blood cells and anti-infectious agents rushing to a site of injury or viral or bacterial invasion. Short-term inflammation is good for you, as it’s one of your immune defenses, but chronic inflammation as part of a long-term disease process can cause mental health problems.

The diet and mental health link

Your diet plays a key role in determining how much inflammation is in your body and the likelihood you may suffer from depression. People who eat more fruits and vegetables don’t suffer depression at the same rate as people who eat junk food. This is because fresh, unprocessed food contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants and nutrients that help the consumer avoid depression.

These foods also may also help you beat depression:

  • Omega 3 from fish and fish oil, eggs, plant oils like soy, rapeseed and flaxseed oil, leafy green vegetables and nuts and seeds.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. The Journal of the American Medical Association said people consuming a Mediterranean diet, including lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans and fish had less risk of developing depressive disorders. 
  • Fresh vegetables. To get the best anti-inflammatory effect, you should aim to have five portions of brightly-colored vegetables every day. 
  • Fresh fruit. Purchase fruit in season because it tastes better and has more nutrients. 
  • Whole grains. You need to eat three to five portions of these a day.
  • Herbs and spices, such as garlic, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, have anti-inflammatory effects. Garlic has a sulphur compound that is so powerful it helps ease arthritis and reduce the symptoms of depression. 

Baptist Health dietitian Lorrie Terry said Vitamin D also is recommended to fight depression.

“Other foods that can help ward off depression include magnesium, vitamin B12, iron and protein,” Terry said. “It is important to note that if you are taking a prescription for depression to not stop taking your medication unless you have first discussed with your physician. It also is important to discuss taking Omega 3 fatty acids with you physician because they can inhibit your ability to clot blood.”

Drink water

Lastly, don’t forget to drink water if you are feeling down or have been diagnosed with depression. Lack of water can cause dehydration, which can make people irritated and unable to concentrate.  

Send us your health and nutrition questions, and our team of dietitians will answer them in an upcoming blog. Check here each month for more tips and answers to your questions.

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