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Archive for December, 2011

Trauma Surgeon David V. Feliciano, MD, Joins Atlanta Medical Center

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

David Feliciano, MD, a leader in general surgery and trauma care, has joined Atlanta Medical Center, Georgia’s most recently designated Level 1 trauma center.

“Dr. Feliciano is a nationally renowned trauma surgeon who brings a wealth of experience to our trauma team,” said Vernon Henderson, MD, FACS, Medical Director of Trauma and Critical Care at Atlanta Medical Center. “His expertise as a vascular and abdominal trauma surgeon complements our team’s depth in general and orthopeadic trauma.  In addition, as a teaching hospital with residency programs in general and orthopeadic surgery, his experience in research and education in general surgery, trauma and critical care will be invaluable for our residents.”

Dr. Feliciano is currently Professor of Surgery at the Mercer University School of Medicine and Associate Director of Critical Care at the Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG). He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Trauma, The American Surgeon, and the American Journal of Surgery. He has been president of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the Southwestern Surgical Congress, the Western Trauma Association, and the Georgia Surgical Society. He has held leadership positions with major national organizations in surgery, including director of the American Board of Surgery, and chair of the Advisory Council for General Surgery of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Feliciano’s knowledge and expertise will be considerable assets to Atlanta Medical Center’s patients and the community.


New Procedure Provides Relief to Severe Asthma Sufferers

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Interventional pulmonologists at Emory University Hospital are now offering Bronchial Thermoplasty, a new procedure that shrinks excessive airway smooth muscle (ASM) that lines the bronchial airways using controlled thermal heat. Removing some of the airway smooth muscle decreases the ability of the airways to constrict, leading to a reduction in the amount and severity of asthma attacks.

Patients with severe persistent asthma experience frequent symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, mucus production and severe asthma attacks, leading to a diminished quality of life. These symptoms account for a substantial portion lost work days, frequent physician office visits, emergency room visits, extended hospitalizations, and missed school or other daily activities.

“Many symptoms of asthma are thought to be due to the contraction of airway smooth muscle, leading to a constriction or narrowing of the bronchial air path.  Increased airway smooth-muscle mass is a characteristic feature of asthma, particularly in persons with severe asthma,” says Rabih Bechara, MD, director of interventional pulmonology and assistant professor of medicine, Emory School of Medicine. “Bronchial thermoplasty is a novel intervention where thermal heat energy is delivered to the airway wall during a series of bronchoscopies, resulting in a prolonged reduction of airway smooth-muscle mass.”

Bronchial thermoplasty is performed under anesthetic in three outpatient procedure visits, each scheduled approximately three weeks apart. The first procedure treats the airways of the right lower lobe, the second treats the airways of the left lower lobe and the third and final procedure treats the airways in both upper lobes.

During the minimally-invasive procedure, a thin, flexible instrument called a bronchoscope is inserted into the airway. The bronchoscope is a long flexible tube that has a camera on one end, and also allows the physician to see inside the lungs without an incision. Once inserted, the thermal heat energy is delivered to the airway smooth muscle, shrinking it, and, in effect, further opening the airway for improved breathing function.

The procedure is FDA-approved and, although still a relatively new procedure, it has proven successful for patients suffering from severe asthma. Currently, however, the procedure is not yet covered by Medicare or through most major insurance providers – although physicians expect that will change as success of the procedure continues to show a reduction in hospitalizations and other ongoing care related to severe asthmatic symptoms

“Thermoplasty has proven to decrease asthma exacerbation rates and lower rescue inhaler use. We have seen a much improved quality of life in the patients we have treated,” says David Berkowitz, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Emory. “The procedures are done on an outpatient basis. Most patients experience very minor discomfort and can quickly return to work or other normal activities within a day. The overall reduction in breathing discomfort, lost work or school days, and general disruption of normal life activities has been evident in most of the patients we treat.”

Learn more about bronchial thermoplasty by visiting Bronchial Thermoplasty


Nanette Wenger, MD, an Emory Cardiologist, Receives American Heart Association’s Highest Honor

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Nanette K. WengerThe American Heart Association’s Council on Clinical Cardiology has honored renowned Emory cardiologist Nanette Wenger, MD, with its highest accolade, the James B. Herrick Award, for her profound impact on clinical cardiology practice. Wenger is a professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, and former chief of cardiology at Grady Memorial, where she has worked to change the lives of patients for more than 50 years.

Wenger received the award at the 2011 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting, where she delivered the Herrick Lecture titled, “Women and Coronary Heart Disease a Century After Herrick: Understudied, Underdiagnosed, and Undertreated.” The award and lecture are named for pioneering physician James B. Herrick, the author of history’s first clinical description of coronary disease.

Wenger has contributed immeasurably to the field of cardiology, particularly heart disease in women. Wenger was among the first physicians to focus on women’s heart disease and to evaluate the different risk factors and features of the condition in women and men. Her pioneering and innovative research in gender differences in cardiovascular disease has influenced both health professionals and the public about these differences in disease development, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes.

A native of New York City and a graduate of Hunter College and Harvard Medical School, Wenger received her medical and cardiology training at Mount Sinai Hospital before coming to Emory University School of Medicine and Grady Memorial Hospital in 1958. Since then she has been a trailblazer in the field of cardiology as author and co-author of more than 1,400 scientific and review articles and book chapters.

Wenger co-authored the 1993 landmark publication in the New England Journal of Medicine that called attention to the fact that heart disease in women was ubiquitous, often overlooked, and usually inadequately managed. The article aggressively addressed the prejudice that heart disease was solely a man’s disease.

Wenger remains one of the most outspoken and best-known champions for women with cardiac disorders. Thanks to her clinical impact we know that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, accounting for 38 percent of all female deaths– more than all forms of cancer combined.

Wenger helped write the American Heart Association’s 2007 Guidelines for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Women and the recent 2011 update, Effectiveness-Based Guidelines for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women. She is a past vice-president of the American Heart Association, past governor for Georgia of the American College of Cardiology and a past-president of the Georgia Heart Association.

Wenger has served as a member and frequently chairperson of over 500 committees, scientific advisory boards, task forces, and councils of the American Medical Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Society of Geriatric Cardiology. In 2010, the Georgia Commission on Women honored Wenger with its prestigious Georgia Woman of the Year Award.

Most recently, Wenger has focused her efforts on raising the consciousness of the U.S. and international cardiology communities concerning heart disease in the elderly.


Childs Selected as Morehouse Department of Surgery Chairman

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Morehouse School of Medicine has named Ed W. Childs, M.D., chairman of its department of surgery. Childs will lead the revitalization of the department of surgery by playing a leadership role at Grady Health Systems, recruiting faculty and actively supporting faculty development as chairman.

“A well-established research specialist, sought after speaker and published author, Dr. Childs brings deep experience to the Morehouse School of Medicine,” said Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D., dean and executive vice president at Morehouse School of Medicine.  “We are honored to have him join our Morehouse School of Medicine family and look forward to his contributions and impact he will surely make to our mission to serve and advance the community.”

Renowned for his research in hemorrhagic shock and vascular hypermeability, Childs will continue to expand upon his research at Morehouse School of Medicine, and actively participant in the cardiovascular research institute.

“Morehouse School of Medicine is like no other medical school in the nation and I admire their commitment to the underserved communities of Georgia and the nation,” said Childs.  “I look forward to contributing to the institution’s great work and being a part of such an esteemed institution.”

Childs comes to Morehouse School of Medicine from the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine, where he was professor and vice chairman of their department of surgery. Prior to his leadership roles at Texas A&M, he was director of the division of trauma and critical care and acute care surgery, director of surgical ICU at University of Kansas affiliated hospitals and an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Childs is the recipient of more than $6 million in research funding from the National Institute of Health and other national funding agencies as well as a published author of more than 48 peer-reviewed publications in refereed journals.

Dr. Childs received his undergraduate degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Texas, and earned his medical degree from Texas A&M Health Science Center in College Station, Texas.  He went on to complete his residency training in general surgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.  and then a fellowship in trauma and critical care surgery at the University of California Davis in Davis, Calif.  A fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Childs is also a member of the American Medical Association, National Medical Association, Society of Critical Care Medicine and board certified in general surgery and critical care.


WellStar Kennestone Hospital Joins Georgia Trauma Care Network

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

The Georgia Department of Public Health designated WellStar Kennestone Hospital as a Level II Trauma Center, making it the only designated Trauma Center in WellStar Health System’s five county primary service area (Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas and Paulding Counties). The designation comes after nearly two years of planning, implementation of a formal model for trauma care and the hiring of key physicians and support staff.

“This is important not only WellStar but, more importantly, the residents of Northwest Georgia as they now have access to high quality trauma care closer to home,” said Candice Saunders, executive vice president and WellStar Kennestone Hospital administrator.

A WellStar Trauma Steering Committee, made up of physicians and administrators, has been in place for nearly two years working on developing a model for trauma care and the implications of trauma designation. As part of the process, WellStar submitted data to the State of Georgia Trauma Registry and underwent a state trauma site inspection from the Department of EMS/Trauma of WellStar Kennestone Hospital.

“Obtaining this designation was a lot of work by many key individuals,” said Saunders. “Additionally, we had to create several key roles to support the trauma program, including a trauma program manager, a trauma registrar and a medical director for trauma services. As a Level II Trauma Center we also are required to have 24/7 access to certain medical specialists, such as a neurosurgeon, orthopaedics and oral maxillofacial.”

With the addition of WellStar Kennestone to the Georgia Trauma Care Network, there are now 19 designated Trauma Centers (two of which are pediatric) in the state. Trauma Centers must meet guidelines to become a “designated” trauma center and are ranked at Levels I-IV. A Level I Trauma Center offers 24-hour, seven-day-a-week in-house availability to an attending surgeon and is usually aligned with an academic institution (i.e. medical school) as trauma research is required. A designated Level II Trauma Center has the same standard of care as a Level I, but does not provide training programs for surgery residents or fellows.

“The formalized trauma program will enhance the training of staff in the Emergency Department and improve the coordination of care,” said Barry Renz, M.D., a traumatologist who is serving as medical director for trauma services. ”Additionally, trauma patients who come to the WellStar Kennestone Hospital Trauma Center are more likely to survive as trauma mortality rate is 25 percent lower in trauma centers compared to non-trauma centers.”


Manfred Sandler, MD, Leads Open Heart Program at Gwinnett

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Gwinnett Medical Center’s (GMC) Strickland Heart Center, a 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility featuring the latest in life-saving technology, is slated to open in January 2012. Manfred Sandler, M.D., medical director of cardiology at GMC, led the successful campaign to obtain the required Certificate of Need for open heart services and helped raise more than $9 million to fund the new Heart & Vascular Center.

Sandler has been voted as one of Atlanta’s top cardiologist by his peers since 2005 in Atlanta Magazine’s annual Top Doctors issue. In addition, he was listed in US News and World Report as one of the top 10 percent of cardiologists in the nation in 2011. He currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Gwinnett Hospital System and as chairman of GMC’s Foundation Board of Directors, a position he’s held since 2008. However, his commitment to the community is most evident in his leadership circling GMC’s Open Heart Program, which the new Heart & Vascular Center will showcase.

Sandler said that the Strickland Heart Center is part of GMC’s response to a growing need among area residents.

“We built this facility because the community realized the importance of cardiac services in Gwinnett,” he explained.

The Strickland Heart Center represents a $33 million capital investment and includes two state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs, two open heart surgery operating rooms with LED lighting and high definition integrated video monitors, and 12 private recovery bays. Some of the open heart procedures that will be performed at GMC include coronary artery bypass grafting, aortic valve replacement and repair of an atrial septal defect. GMC has projected an open heart surgery volume of about 340 patients in 2012.

In addition to his responsibilities at the hospital and with The Cardiovascular Group, P.C., where he has practiced for 13 years, Sandler volunteers his time by conducting annual cardiac physicals for Norcross High School athletes and the Georgia Force. He’s also worked with American Heart Association, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Medical Association of Georgia, the American College of Cardiology, Gwinnett Chapter of the American Heart Association and Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful.


North Georgia Medical Managers Association Annual Holiday Event

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

December 8, 2011 at Farm Golf Club, 

Rocky Face, GA. For more information, visit NGMMA 2011 Holiday Event


Emory Johns Creek Hospital Receives Accreditation for Vascular Ultrasound

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Emory Johns Creek Hospital has received accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR) for its Vascular Ultrasound imaging services. The accreditation means that:

•    The hospital has voluntarily gone through a rigorous review process to be sure it meets nationally accepted standards with respect to vascular ultrasound.
•    The hospital’s personnel are well qualified, through education and certification, to perform and interpret vascular ultrasound images.
•    The hospital’s equipment is appropriate for use in performing vascular ultrasound.
•    The hospital meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines with regard to vascular ultrasound.

“The designation signifies that we perform continuous quality control — that we are constantly evaluating and maintaining the quality measures we have put in place,” said Douglas Yim, M.D., Director of Interventional Radiology at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. “For patients, this accreditation ensures the quality and accuracy of the vascular ultrasound they’re going to receive and that their diagnosis will be of the highest quality as recognized by the American College of Radiology.”

ACR’s Ultrasound Accreditation Program has rigorous requirements that address a wide spectrum of measures to be evaluated including personnel qualifications, image documentation and quality control, peer review and continuing education. Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s vascular ultrasound accreditation effort was spearheaded by Shirley Fuller, lead ultrasound technologist.

“We, both as a department and as Emory Johns Creek Hospital, are extremely proud of this milestone,” said Leonel A. Vasquez, M.D., Chief of Radiology Services and Division Director of Community Radiology Specialists. “The department of radiology and imaging sciences is committed to providing service excellence and continues to strive for quality improvement.”



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