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Archive for April, 2013

WellStar Foundation 16th Annual Grand Gala

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

April 20, 2013, Cobb Galleria. For more information, visit WellStar Foundation Gala


Stem Cell Injections May Relieve Arthritis Pain

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

By Kathi Baker

Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center is now one of a small number of clinics in the country to offer a cutting edge stem cell treatment for Osteoarthritis (OA).

The procedure involves extracting stem cell blood from the bone marrow in a patient’s hip, removing the plasma, concentrating the remaining fluid in a centrifuge, and then injecting the concoction directly into the damaged joint. Because the material is a patient’s own, there is little chance the body will reject it.

Kenneth Mautner, an expert in physical and rehabilitative medicine at Emory’s Sports Medicine Center, prescribes many conventional treatments for the pain associated with OA, such as physical and occupational therapy, cortical steroids and hyaluronic acid, but is most excited by the promise that stem cell therapy offers.

“There are only so many non-surgical options that are available,” says Mautner. “In the past we’ve done cortical steroid injections, which can give short-term relief for pain, but oftentimes the pain comes back, and it actually can worsen the problem over time.”

Mautner, who also is an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at Emory University School of Medicine, points out that while hyaluronic acid can help lubricate the joint and sometimes relieve pain, it does nothing to restore lost tissue. Stem cells, on the other hand, are cells that have the ability to develop into many different kinds of cells the body uses, such as new cartilage.

“We hope that by placing an abundance of those cells directly in the area that’s deficient, healthier cells will grow,” he says.

Osteoarthritis is one of the oldest and most common forms of arthritis, and is characterized by an erosion of the protective cartilage in joints.  As cartilage wears down, bones can rub against one another causing pain, stiffness and a loss of mobility. Load-bearing joints such as the knees and hips are often the first to feel the ravages of the disease. While the exact cause of OA is not known, factors such as age, obesity, injury and genetics all play a role in its progression.

Though some patients fare better than others with the treatment, side effects tend to be temporary and localized. Minor pain from the injection only lasts a few days, and most people are back to their normal activities within a short period of time.

Meanwhile, Mautner and others are learning more about which patients will ultimately make the best candidates for this type of therapy.  For many who are facing joint-replacement surgery, having a stem cell injection is a small gamble when the outcome may postpone or avert a major surgery.  Presently, that gamble is likely to come solely from the patient’s own pocketbook since the experimental treatment is not currently covered by most medical insurance.


Gwinnett Medical Center Announces Cardiology Practice

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) has announced that CardioVascular Group (CVG) has joined Gwinnett Medical Group. Lawrenceville, Ga.-based CVG has 11 cardiologists on staff and additional locations in Atlanta, Snellville, Buford, Duluth and Johns Creek.

CardioVascular Group provides services for both the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Services including:

  • Stress testing
  • Echocardiography
  • Vascular services
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Coronary interventions, including cardiac catheterization and angioplasty
  • Peripheral interventions, including percutaneous stenting
  • Transcatheter aortic valve implantation
  • Pacemaker implantation
  • Electrophysiology diagnostic procedures and therapeutic catheter ablation of cardiac arrhythmias

Physicians affiliated with the practice and their areas of expertise include:

  • Mary E. Bergh, MD, board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases and nuclear cardiology;
  • Lance B. Friedland, MD, board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases;
  • Louis I. Heller, MD, board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases and nuclear cardiology;
  • Laurence M. Lesser, MD, board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases;
  • Salil J. Patel, MD, board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases and nuclear cardiology;
  • E. Edward Proctor, MD, board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases;
  • Philip A. Romm, MD, board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases and interventional cardiology;
  • Manfred A. Sandler, MD, board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease;
  • Niraj Sharma, MD, board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases and electrophysiology;
  • Searle Videlefsky, MD, board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases and nuclear cardiology; and,
  • David A. Wilson, MD, board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases and electrophysiology.



Piedmont Physician is Co-Principal Investigator of Global Clinical Trial to Treat Hypertension

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

David Kandzari, M.D., director of interventional cardiology and chief scientific officer at Piedmont Heart Institute, has been named the national co-principal investigator of a global clinical trial to treat hypertension.

The trial, which is called SYMPLICITY HTN-4, is entering its fourth stage of investigation and is only available for investigational purposes in the United States. The clinical evaluation program of the system, however, includes more than 5,900 patients worldwide. At this time, Piedmont Heart is a leading site in the world for enrollment in current investigations with this technology.

The SYMPLICITY trial uses a renal denervation device to disrupt the hyperactive nerves surrounding the artery to each kidney that causes increased blood pressure. A tube is inserted in the groin area and the device is placed into the arteries leading to the kidney. Using radio-frequency energy, multiple treatments are performed in each artery to interrupt the renal nerves’ hyperactivity. The device is removed once the trial procedure is complete.

“One of the body’s primary methods for controlling blood pressure involves the sympathetic nervous system, which includes the brain, heart, kidney and blood vessels,” said Dr. Kandzari. “A key factor in long-term blood pressure regulation is the kidney. Renal nerves, which surround the kidney, communicate information from the kidney to the brain, and vice versa. For people with hypertension, the renal nerves are excessively active, which raises blood pressure and contributes to heart, kidney and blood vessel damage.”



WellStar Cobb Welcomes New Chief Nursing Officer

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Veronica Martin, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, has been named chief nursing officer for WellStar Cobb Hospital. She will be responsible for leading the nursing division, establishing strategic direction for patient care services and implement contemporary models of care.

Prior to joining WellStar, Martin served as associate chief nursing officer for Tampa General Hospital, where she helped lead the clinical implementation of their Epic® electronic medical records system, a system WellStar is currently implementing. During her career, Martin also held nursing leadership roles at Medical Center of Louisville and University of South Alabama Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

Martin has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of South Alabama and is working on her doctorate degree at Florida State University.


NGPG Psychiatry Welcomes Heerain Shah, M.D.

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Heerain Shah, M.D. has joined Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) Psychiatry.

Dr. Shah received his medical degree from Medical College of Georgia.  He completed his residency in general psychiatry at Medical College of Georgia and a residency in child and adolescent psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.  He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  Dr. Shah is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.



AMGMA Meeting: Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Employers

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

April 11, 2013. For more information, visit Atlanta Medical Group Management Association



Piedmont Healthcare Names New President and CEO

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Kevin Brown has been named president and chief executive officer of Piedmont Healthcare effective May 2013. Brown, the 46-year-old chief executive officer for Swedish Health Services in Seattle, Wash., succeeds R. Timothy Stack, who was CEO of Piedmont Healthcare until his death on July 30, 2012, following a brief illness.

“Kevin is a great fit for Piedmont,” said Patrick M. Battey, M.D., chair of the Piedmont Healthcare Board of Directors who also has been serving as interim CEO for the five-hospital, not-for-profit health system. “He has a long track record of promoting partnerships with physician leaders and has demonstrated a commitment to keeping the patient at the center of organizational decisions with a relentless focus on quality and safety. The fact he comes from an area on the forefront of healthcare reform also is very valuable.”

Before Brown was named CEO of the largest not-for-profit healthcare provider in the greater Seattle area in 2012, he was chief strategic officer and led the development and oversight of the strategic planning office for the five-hospital health system. As the senior vice president and chief administrative officer, he had operational responsibility for the ambulatory care division which includes Swedish/Lake Sammamish, Swedish/Redmond and Swedish/Mill Creek. He also had operational responsibility for 163-bed Swedish/Ballard and 175-bed Swedish/Issaquah. His other major accomplishments include the creation and growth of Swedish Medical Group, the re-development of Swedish Ballard, the opening of a new hospital in Issaquah, Wash., and the development of an innovative ambulatory care strategy. Prior to Swedish, Brown worked for the Providence Health System leading various strategic and business development projects. He spent five years in the early 1990s working as part of the start-up management team for PacifiCare of Washington.

Brown earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Arizona State University.



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