Varicose Veins: Just Ugly or Potentially Harmful?

Are those unsightly veins in your legs just a cosmetic problem or is there a deeper issue? “Varicose veins can be primarily a cosmetic issue, or they can be a marker of severe underlying disease,” said Danielle Doucet, MD, vascular surgeon. “Patients should seek treatment when they have symptoms in their legs that are affecting their activities of daily living.” Hear what else Dr. Doucet had to say in the Health Watch segment below.

Dr. Keaney Collaborates with WPI on Blood Vessel Research

Dr. Keaney

A Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) research team is using vascular tissue engineering techniques to create vessels that exhibit characteristics of vascular conditions such as aneurysms and blockages. John Keaney Jr., MD, chief of cardiovascular medicine, is collaborating with the research team. The anticipated outcome is to provide scientists a better way to try new medications and speed up treatments. In a recent WPI news brief, Dr. Keaney said, “One of the hallmarks of making advances in medicine is to have models of the diseases so you can develop new treatments. Testing medicines and procedures in patients is both risky and time consuming. Having models that accurately reflect what is happening in patients’ bodies is very advantageous.” Read more about the research.

World’s Smallest Pacemaker Implanted at Our Medical Center

Micra, the world’s smallest pacemaker

The world’s smallest pacemaker, Micra, has made its debut at our Medical Center thanks to our heart and vascular team. Electrophysiologist Robert Hayward Jr., MD, who recently performed our first Micra implant, said, “For appropriate patients, this eliminates the need for a skin incision on the chest and for pacing leads, or wires, running from the inside of the heart to the chest.” The pacemaker is placed using a minimally invasive approach, and unlike other pacemakers, Micra is completely self-contained. It’s 93 percent smaller than conventional pacemakers, has an average 12-year battery life, and is FDA-approved for certain MRI scans. Congratulations to the heart and vascular team for bringing this technology to our patients. Watch an animation.

Get ‘On The Beat’ to Learn about Heart Risks and Foot Health

In the recent edition of On the Beat, our Heart and Vascular Center shares a delicious recipe for crab cakes, urges you to take a free heart-healthy risk assessment, explains the correlation between diabetes and heart health, and highlights the importance our limb preservation team plays in foot health. The e-newsletter is designed to help keep your health on track with tips and inspiration mailed straight to your inbox. On the Beat is produced by the Marketing and Communications Department. Learn how to sign up today and read the recent issue.

Register Today to Join Our Evening of Heart Health Education

Join us on Tuesday, May 1 at the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester for an evening of free heart health education programs presented by expert physicians from our Medical Center. From 5:30 to 6:30 pm, learn about peripheral artery disease from vascular surgeon Dejah Judelson, MD. From 7 to 8 pm, learn about getting off coumadin from electrophysiologist Kevin Floyd, MD, MS, and cardiologist Bryon Gentile, MD. Registration is required. Register online or call 855-UMASS-MD (855-862-7763) to register for one or both programs. Light refreshments will be provided and parking is free.

Cardiac Surgery Represents Medical Center at Conference

Pictured from left are Elizabeth Houk, NP; Donna Soja, NP; Colleen Cattaneo, PA-C; Stephanie Mayberg, PA-C; Julie Pappalardo, PA-C; Margo Wood, NP; Maureen Maloney, NP; and Ricardo Bello, MD.

More than 350 registrants from around the world recently attended the annual meeting of the Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery in Florida. Our Medical Center had an incredible showing of team members, sending 14 people, including advanced practice providers Chris Bianchi, PA-C; Maureen Maloney, NP; Yuliya Ariskin, NP; Betty Houk, NP; Margo Wood, NP; Donna Soja, NP; Colleen Cattaneo, PA-C; Julie Pappalardo, PA-C; and Stephanie Mayberg PA-C. Also representing the Medical Center were physicians Dejah Judelson, MD, vascular surgery; Ricardo Bello, MD, PhD, cardiac surgery; Nikos Kakourous, MD, interventional cardiology; Mohammed Akhter, MD, cardiology; and Ulises Torres, MD, trauma and critical care. Six of our caregivers were invited to give podium presentations. The meeting’s focus was on the latest treatments and frontiers in critical care and cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgeries.

Stay on the Beat with the Latest Cardiovascular E-newsletter

Can you burn calories without exercising? In the newest heart and vascular e-newsletter, On the Beat, we offer you a fun infographic with simple things you can do every day to burn those extra few calories. The newsletter also shares how to do hands-only CPR and how nurse Amy O’Connor used the technique to save Joseph Flask’s life after he went into cardiac arrest. On the Beat offers videos, recipes, news and more. Subscribe today and receive it every other month in your inbox. On the Beat is produced by the Marketing and Communications Department. To subscribe to other e-newsletters, visit our website.

Employee Kathy Escobar Shares Her Family’s Care Experience

Kathy Escobar, who works in our Heart and Vascular Center on the University Campus, has always had a lot of affection for both her work and her colleagues. When her father-in-law’s routine hospital visit escalated into something more serious, she experienced the dedication of her team first-hand. “I can recall Dr. Gibson explaining it,” she said. “He took the time to explain as many times as necessary … he was just so sweet and gentle. And the nursing team was phenomenal.” She added, “Everyone answered all of our questions — we are a big family, and trust me, we all had multiple questions, but not once were we made to feel like we were too much. Read more of Kathy’s story and other cardiac cath testimonials.

Patient Video Portrays Vascular Patient Needing Risky Procedure

Earlier this summer, Katy Drennan, 21, of San Jose, California, flew 3,000 miles to have a risky procedure by Louis Messina, MD, chief of vascular surgery. Dr. Messina previously performed the same procedure on Katy 18 years ago in San Francisco. Her story was the focus of many Boston area and local media outlets, including Channel 5, Channel 7, Worcester Magazine, Fox 25 and MassLive. You can watch her story in a newly launched patient testimonial video being used in a media campaign promoting heart and vascular care. The heart-warming video demonstrates the depth of care our vascular experts provide and the personalization that comes with being a patient at UMass Memorial. Watch the video.

You’re In the Right Place; Check Out Our New Ad Campaigns! 

right place heartThe Marketing and Communications Department launches a new campaign that includes radio spots, print ads, billboards, search engine marketing, digital components and a web campaign page build out. The message? When it comes to heart and vascular care and joint replacement, our patients will find exceptional care backed by quality data. “The goal of this systemwide campaign is to create a cohesive and compelling brand position for UMass Memorial Health Care so that potential patients are aware that they can receive world-class care right in their own community,” said Peggy Thrappas, director of marketing. Visit our website to view campaign creatives.