Lake Erie College is a private liberal arts college founded in 1856 that is located in Painesville, Ohio, approximately 30 miles east of Cleveland. As of the 2012-2013 academic year, the enrollment was approximately 1200 undergraduates and graduate students.Lake Erie is best known for its equine studies program, which attracts students from across the country, and around the world, and is the most popular major at the college. The George M. Humphrey Equestrian Center is located 5 miles to the south of the main campus, in Concord Township. In 2011, the Lake Erie College IDA team won champion honors at the 9th annual IDA National Championship held at the Canterbury Equestrian Show Place in Newberry, Florida.Prior to 1986, it was one of three remaining women's colleges in Ohio, along with Ursuline College and Notre Dame College, the latter of which is also now co-educational. Wikipedia.
News Article | May 5, 2017
Highmark Health today announced the appointment of Tony Farah, MD, to the newly created position of Executive Vice President, Chief Medical and Clinical Transformation Officer for the organization. “It is with great pride that I welcome Tony to our leadership team, as he has proven to be invaluable in accelerating Allegheny Health Network’s and Highmark Health’s collective efforts to reinvent the healthcare model and support long-term enterprise growth,” said Highmark Health President and Chief Executive Officer, David Holmberg. “Tony is a highly respected physician-leader who is passionate about changing the way health care is delivered, and he is the right person to take Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network to the next level when it comes to transforming clinical care to achieve the best patient experience and best outcomes at an affordable cost.” Dr. Farah has been a leading clinician, physician educator and health care executive in the western Pennsylvania region for more than three decades. As a noted cardiologist at Allegheny General Hospital and former longtime director of the institution’s cardiac catheterization laboratory, he and his team have played a pivotal role in the development of many of the field’s breakthrough therapies for cardiovascular disease, including disease fighting medications and plaque clearing technologies. The same leadership qualities that have driven Dr. Farah’s success in the clinical setting throughout his career have defined his many accomplishments as a physician executive as well. He has served in numerous high-level positions over the past 15 years, including chief medical officer of AGH, West Penn Allegheny Health System and Allegheny Health Network, and as a Trustee of one of his field’s most prestigious scientific organizations, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions. For the last four years, Dr. Farah has also served as President of Allegheny Clinic, AHN’s employed physician organization. Under his leadership, the Clinic has doubled in size to now more than 1,200 members. Dr. Farah played a critical role in the formation of AHN in 2013, and in his new capacity with Highmark Health he will oversee clinical transformation, deploying innovative models to create more value for Highmark members and all of the patients AHN serves by way of enhanced experience, access, clinical outcomes and affordable cost in every care setting. “I am extremely grateful for and excited about this unique opportunity to help further redefine the delivery of health care in western Pennsylvania and across Highmark Health’s vast and diverse footprint,” said Dr. Farah. “By leveraging the clinical knowledge at AHN with the financing expertise and population health insights of Highmark Health, we are well positioned to create a high-quality, value-based care model that will set a new standard, locally and nationally, for the experience it affords.” In order to effect a seamless transition to new leadership in the roles of Chief Medical Officer for AHN and President of Allegheny Clinic, Dr. Farah will continue to provide oversight of those areas as part of his responsibilities for Highmark Health. Once the positions are filled, they will report dually to Dr. Farah and AHN President and CEO, Cynthia Hundorfean. “For many years, Dr. Farah has been a tireless advocate for patients and for his colleagues at AHN,” Hundorfean said. “We expect that advocacy to only grow stronger in his important new role at Highmark Health and congratulate him on his well-deserved promotion. It is yet more evidence that AHN and Highmark Health are committed to creating and sustaining an integrated health care delivery and financing system that is both patient-centered and clinician-led.” About Allegheny Health Network Allegheny Health Network (AHN.org), part of Highmark Health, is an integrated health care delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is composed of eight hospitals, including Allegheny General Hospital, its flagship academic medical center in Pittsburgh, Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights, Canonsburg Hospital in Canonsburg, Forbes Hospital in Monroeville, Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Hills, Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh and Westfield Memorial Hospital in Westfield, NY. The Network provides patients with access to a complete spectrum of medical services, including nationally recognized programs for primary and emergency care, cardiovascular disease, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women’s health, diabetes and more. It also is home to a comprehensive research institute; Health + Wellness Pavilions; an employed physician organization, home and community based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,000 people, has more than 2,400 physicians on its medical staff and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University College of Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. About Highmark Health Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA based enterprise that employs more than 40,000 people nationwide and serves nearly 50 million Americans in all 50 states, is the second largest integrated health care delivery and financing network in the nation based on revenue. Highmark Health is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, and HM Health Solutions. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to nearly 5 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware as well as dental insurance, vision care and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses that include United Concordia Companies, HM Insurance Group, Davis Vision and Visionworks. Allegheny Health Network is the parent company of an integrated delivery network that includes eight hospitals, more than 2,800 affiliated physicians, ambulatory surgery centers, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute, a group purchasing organization, and health and wellness pavilions in western Pennsylvania. HM Health Solutions focuses on meeting the information technology platform and other business needs of the Highmark Health enterprise as well as unaffiliated health insurance plans by providing proven business processes, expert knowledge and integrated cloud-based platforms. To learn more, please visit http://www.highmarkhealth.org.
News Article | November 3, 2016
Doctors at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), a part of Allegheny Health Network, are the only healthcare providers in Pittsburgh offering an innovative, alternative technique to treat severe asthma that cannot be well controlled with medicines. Jennifer McBride, a 38–year-old resident of Moon Township, was among the first patients in Pittsburgh to recently undergo bronchial thermoplasty (BT) at AGH. During the procedure, excess smooth muscle is removed from the airways of the lung to reduce severe asthma attacks. The new therapy is being performed by AGH pulmonologists Marvin Balaan, MD and Antonios Zikos, MD, who work in consultation with Deborah Gentile, MD, Director of Allergy and Asthma Clinical Research in AHN’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine. Doctors at AHN’s Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie also perform the new procedure. “It is very exciting to have a viable non-drug treatment for asthma, because medication alone does not work for every patient,” said Dr. Balaan, System Division Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care at AHN. Boston Scientific’s Alair™ bronchial thermoplasty (BT) system is the first non-medical treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating severe asthma in adults when inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists such as Advair, Symbicort and Dulera do not provide good asthma management. BT does not replace maintenance medications, but works with the patient’s medication to provide long-term stability in symptoms and lessen severe attacks. “Asthma is a chronic disease with a high burden of recurring medical costs and a negative impact on quality of life,” said Dr. Gentile. “Bronchial thermoplasty could reduce the impact of lifelong medical management of asthma for many patients who don’t achieve good results with medications alone.” During an asthma attack, smooth muscle in the airways constricts, making it more difficult to breathe. BT uses mild heat to reduce the amount of smooth muscle in the airways and minimize their narrowing during asthma attacks. “No incisions are required for the procedure. The BT device is introduced into the lungs with a bronchoscope inserted through the nose or mouth,” said Dr. Zikos. “BT is performed under moderate sedation or general anesthesia in three separate treatments scheduled three weeks apart. Each session lasts approximately 30 minutes and focuses on a different area of the lungs until all areas are treated.” McBride’s asthma had become so severe that she estimates she visited the emergency department or was admitted to the hospital “40 to 50 times over the last four years,” she said. “It got to the point where everyday things became hard for me. And there was no simple cold; it would turn into bronchitis or pneumonia. With a husband and two teenage daughters, I just couldn’t handle that anymore. “Since I finished the BT procedures, though, I can do things I couldn’t do before. I don’t use my rescue inhaler as much – before, I’d use it just to get up the stairs,” McBride added. “I can get through the day without having to stop and catch my breath at work. And I just got over a common cold that, for the first time in years, didn’t turn into something worse.” “BT is a valuable tool in our arsenal to help patients with severe asthma find relief and regain their quality of life,” said Dr. Zikos. “With documented poor air quality and an unusually high asthma rate in our region, BT could play an instrumental role in treating Pittsburgh’s asthma epidemic.” According to the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report, the Pittsburgh metro area ranked as the 14th-most polluted area in the country for daily fine particle emissions and the eighth worst for annual particle pollution. Particulate matter pollution is tied to multiple illnesses, including asthma. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) also ranks Pittsburgh as the 27th-most challenging U.S. city in which to live with asthma, based on factors such as high level of exposure to known asthma triggers such as poor outdoor air quality, indoor allergen exposure, tobacco smoke exposure and high poverty rates. Nearly 25 million Americans live with asthma. According to the AAFA, asthma contributes to more than 14 million doctor visits, 2 million emergency room visits, almost 500,000 hospitalizations and nearly 4,000 deaths each year. The annual cost of asthma is about $56 billion, including more than $50 billion in direct costs, such as hospital stays, and nearly $6 billion in indirect costs, such as lost wages from illness or death. The VITAL Innovation Program of Highmark Health helped to bring BT to AHN as part of its commitment to supporting the study and availability of novel technologies and therapies in the community that may offer better solutions for chronic diseases. Launched in 2015, the VITAL program was designed to provide the missing link between FDA approval of a new technology and its full reimbursement by commercial insurers. VITAL is currently supporting the study of several additional leading-edge medical breakthroughs at AHN hospitals, including: the LINX® Reflux Management System for treating patients with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD); the Avinger Ocelot™ lumivascular and Pantheris™ atherectomy systems to treat peripheral artery disease; the HeartFlow non-invasive diagnostic technology that offers physicians insight into both the extent of a patient’s coronary arterial blockage and the impact the blockage has on blood flow; and the Freespira Breathing System for patients who suffer from panic disorder. About Allegheny Health Network Allegheny Health Network, part of Highmark Health, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of eight hospitals, including its flagship academic medical center Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Westfield Memorial Hospital and West Penn Hospital; a research institute; Health + Wellness Pavilions; an employed physician organization, home and community based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,000 people and has more than 2,400 physicians on its medical staff. The Network also serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. ###
News Article | February 15, 2017
The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh has promoted physiatrist Justin Berthold, DO to its leadership team as Senior Medical Director. In his new role, Dr. Berthold will direct all medical and clinical services provided at The Children’s Institute. Dr. Berthold joined the physical medicine and rehabilitation team at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh in 2015. Since then, he has been providing inpatient and outpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation services to adolescent and young adult patients, and serving as medical director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation services. “Dr. Berthold brings extensive clinical expertise, strong leadership and unmatched commitment to our children and families,” said David Miles, president and chief executive officer, The Children’s Institute. “In addition to maintaining his patient care responsibilities, Dr. Berthold will lead our dedicated medical team that provides high-quality care to children and young adults with medically complex conditions. Under his leadership, we’ll also continue to advance therapeutic interventions and treatment methods for children by employing new techniques and technology.” Dr. Berthold is a graduate of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency at the UPMC Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program. He is also a member of numerous osteopathic medicine associations including the American Osteopathic Association, and is board certified through the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Prior to joining The Children’s Institute, Dr. Berthold founded the private practice Rehabilitation Physicians of Pittsburgh. He also serves as a consultant for Golden Living Skilled Nursing Centers. In addition, Dr. Berthold is the team physician for the Pittsburgh Vengeance Junior A Ice Hockey team and is currently on the clinical faculty at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine at Seton Hill. About The Children’s Institute Established in 1902, The Children’s Institute is an independent, nonprofit, licensed organization, dedicated to improving the quality of life for children, young people and their families by providing a specialized continuum of services that enables them to reach their potential. Its pediatric rehabilitation programs are nationally-recognized. The Children’s Institute is the only CARF-accredited freestanding pediatric specialty rehabilitation hospital in Pennsylvania, and one of only five in the nation. The Day School is an approved private school serving nearly 200 students from 67 school districts. Through Project STAR, The Children’s Institute offers a wide array of family-centered adoption and foster care services. Visit http://www.amazingkids.org or call 412-420-2400 to learn more.
News Article | November 7, 2016
MENTOR, OH, November 07, 2016-- Ernest Brass has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.For the past three years, Mr. Brass has been named a Five Star Professional by Cleveland Magazine, and recently, he was recognized as a top financial planner in the city. Serving as the president of Money Concepts at EHB Financial Services since 1992 and received his 25 year award. Mr. Brass has certainly accomplished a great deal in the field of financial planning. Currently he serves as a faculty member at Notre Dame College and Cuyahoga Community College. Previously he served as the marketing and sales director for Kuehne + Nagel Inc., and an assistant professor and director of the Small Business Institute at Capital University and Lake Erie College. He has also written articles that have been included in professional journals. Mr. Brass' most notable professional accomplishments include developing classes detailing both the history of the Federal Reserve System and the history of immigration in Cleveland, Ohio.Since 1990, Mr. Brass had been featured in Financial Planning, and he will appear in Cleveland Magazine in 2017. Furthermore, he has been listed in Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Fortune in 2015 with a five-star professional rating. His efforts have earned him inclusion in Who's Who in America as well. Other awards earned include the Local Small Business Administration Award and the Retention & Expansion Employment Award. To prepare for his career as a financial planner, Mr. Brass earned a Master of Arts in economics from Case Western Reserve University in 1978. He also possesses a Master of Arts in management and holds an ABD status with the University of Bradford in England.Aside from his work as a financial planner and educator, Mr. Brass has made numerous contributions to his community. He has served as the vice president of the Ohio Foreign Commerce Association. He is currently a trustee of The Economic and Social Research Institute and Lake County Development Council, past president of the Institute of Management Accountants, Cleveland East Chapter, and board member of the Lake County Ohio Visitors Bureau's Arts & Culture Committee. In the past, Mr. Brass was a member of the National Advisory Council of Small Business Administration and the Cleveland Small Business Administration Advisory Council. Furthermore, he is dedicated to learning about new developments in his industry. He accomplishes this through his alignment with the Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists and the Small Business Institute Directors' Association.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis now publishes many Who's Who titles, including Who's Who in America , Who's Who in the World , Who's Who in American Law , Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare , Who's Who in Science and Engineering , and Who's Who in Asia . Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com
News Article | December 13, 2016
After Maverick Schiff was born prematurely on Nov. 24, 2016, his parents Jena Trimarki and Matt Schiff spent many hours at West Penn Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), cuddling, feeding and doting on their 4-pound, 13-ounce pocket of joy. And when the Burgettstown couple couldn’t be at the hospital, all they had to do was press a few buttons on their phones or home computers. They quickly enjoyed a real-time view of Maverick in his isolette, and a dose of reassurance that he was doing fine in their absence. Jena and Matt were among the first parents to use the newly installed NicView web cameras at West Penn’s NICU. The small-camera system allows parents, family and friends to view their infants in real time, 24-7, through a secure online portal. “We believe every family should be able to see their baby at any time, and at any location,” said West Penn NICU Medical Director Barbara Clouser, MD. “Not only do the webcams help strengthen parent-child bonds, they allow family members who live in other states, or are stationed with the military overseas, to enjoy the new addition to the family.” Jena and Matt agree the cameras are a godsend for family members that live about an hour from Pittsburgh. “My mother was watching every second,” Matt said. “And my grandmother got to see the baby up close without having to drive here.” More than a convenience, the web cameras can help reduce parents’ and families’ stress, ultimately benefiting the babies, said Gretchen Kimmel, DO, Associate Director of the West Penn NICU. Dr. Krimmel and Cynthia Mueller, BSN, RNC-NIC, Supervisor, NICU, worked together for many months to make the webcams a reality. “When parents feel deeply involved with their babies’ progress, when they feel reassured that the baby is doing fine, their stress levels begin to wind down,” Dr. Krimmel said. “For mothers, decreased stress translates into improved breastfeeding rates and duration, which in turn tends to decrease babies’ length of stay in the NICU and their risks of infection.” For Mueller, a longtime NICU caregiver, seeing parents’ joy when they are told they’ll be able to see their babies at any time of the day is a delight. “The response we’ve gotten from parents has been overwhelming” Mueller said. “Some have been so happy and thankful that they’re in tears.” The cameras were paid for in part by the NICU’s Patient Enhancement Fund, which is funded by a yearly benefit golf tournament designed and hosted by NICU staff. The 43-bed Level III NICU at West Penn Hospital, part of the Allegheny Health Network, has been a major regional referral center for critically ill infants for many years. Highly skilled nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, physician assistants, neonatal respiratory therapists, and a physician staff of board-certified neonatologists provide in-house care for sick newborns 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Family members, including both parents and siblings, are encouraged to visit the babies at any time and participate in their care. Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their babies, and the staff advocates soothing skin-to-skin contact between premature babies and their parents to promote healing, growth and bonding. About the Allegheny Health Network: Allegheny Health Network (AHN.ORG), part of Highmark Health, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of eight hospitals, including its flagship academic medical center Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Westfield Memorial Hospital and West Penn Hospital; an employed physician organization, a research institute, health + wellness pavilions, home and community-based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,500 people, and has more than 2,100 physicians on its medical staff. The Network also serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
News Article | December 21, 2016
Jefferson Hospital, part of Allegheny Health Network (AHN), has received an accreditation and honors that recognize its commitment to and skill in treating patients who suffer the most severe kind of heart attack, known as an ST-elevation myocardial infarction or STEMI. The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® STEMI Accreditation program named Jefferson a Mission: Lifeline Heart Attack Receiving Center through July 2019. Jefferson is the first and only hospital in western Pennsylvania to earn this accreditation. Additionally, the American College of Cardiology tabbed Jefferson a winner of the NCDR ACTION Registry—Get With The Guidelines™ (GWTG) Platinum Performance Achievement Award for 2016 for implementing certain quality improvement measures for the treatment of severe heart attacks. “There is a large risk of death and disability from STEMI, which is why a coordinated, rapid response is so critical to saving these patients’ lives,” said Chong S. Park, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Jefferson Hospital and Medical Director of the AHN Cardiovascular Institute at Jefferson Hospital. “It is the most dangerous of all heart attacks because STEMI means there is complete artery blockage. Every year, more than a quarter-million people suffer a STEMI. It is crucial to restore blood flow to the heart as quickly as possible.” The AHA launched Mission: Lifeline in 2007 with the goal of improving patient outcomes by breaking down the obstacles that prevented patients from having access to and receiving the right treatments. The Mission: Lifeline system starts with the initial 9-1-1 call or the patient’s first contact with the emergency system and continues into the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab and through discharge. For hospitals to earn this accreditation, they must meet standards for prompt, appropriate heart attack treatment. That includes offering 24/7 percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), better known as angioplasty, a non-surgical procedure used to open narrow or blocked arteries. Jefferson’s Mission: Lifeline accreditation comes on the heels of the hospital earning the Platinum Performance Achievement Award for the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) ACTION Registry – GWTG program. Jefferson is one of just 223 hospitals across the country to receive the honor. “This award recognizes our success in applying a higher standard of care for heart attack patients,” said Louise Urban, President and CEO, Jefferson Hospital. “It also speaks volumes about our commitment to reaching an aggressive goal in treating STEMI patients with standard levels of care from the ACC and AHA. This means we are saving lives and improving the outcomes for our heart attack patients.” To receive the Platinum Performance Achievement Award, Jefferson consistently followed the ACTION Registry—GWTG protocol for eight consecutive quarters and met a performance standard of 90 percent for specific performance measures. Full participation in the registry engages hospitals in a robust quality improvement process using data to drive improvements in adherence to guideline recommendations and overall quality of care provided to heart attack patients. ACTION Registry–GWTG is a partnership between the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association with partnering support from the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. ACTION Registry—GWTG empowers health care provider teams to consistently treat heart attack patients according to the most current, science-based guidelines. It also establishes a national standard for understanding and improving the quality, safety and outcomes of care provided for patients with coronary artery disease, specifically high-risk heart attack patients. About Allegheny Health Network Allegheny Health Network, part of Highmark Health, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of eight hospitals, including its flagship academic medical center Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Westfield Memorial Hospital and West Penn Hospital; a research institute; Health + Wellness Pavilions; an employed physician organization, home and community based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,000 people and has more than 2,800 physicians on its medical staff. The Network also serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
News Article | February 23, 2017
The results of a major study on the safety of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a diagnostic procedure for patients with implantable cardiac devices were published today in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Robert Biederman, MD, Medical Director of the Cardiovascular MRI Center at Allegheny General Hospital’s Cardiovascular Institute, co-authored the study. AGH, part of Allegheny Health Network (AHN), was one of just 19 medical centers nationwide to participate in the study – and the only hospital in western Pennsylvania. The study, performed from 2009 to 2014, examined a total of 1,000 pacemaker and 500 implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) cases using MRI. Researchers reported no deaths, lead failures or ventricular arrhythmias. “MRI is simply too important a diagnostic tool not to be able to have it in our arsenal to evaluate and help determine the best treatment for patients who have implanted devices,” said Dr. Biederman. “For years, we had what are essentially two life-saving technologies – MRI and implantable devices – that could not be in the same room together. The findings of this study, though, should help solve this critical dilemma. Hospitals like AGH with advanced capabilities can safely perform MRI on this patient population.” The New England Journal of Medicine article states that an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. and additional 6 million worldwide have implantable cardiac devices that, until now, would have been considered incompatible with MRI because of concerns that the powerful magnetic and radio frequency fields generated during MRI might damage the implanted device and harm the patient. The study also notes that at least half of those patients are expected to require an MRI at some point during their lifetime. Patients with implanted cardiac devices who are referred for MRI undergo an extensive evaluation of their cardiovascular health and level of device dependence. Once a patient is cleared to undergo MRI at AGH, Dr. Biederman and his team perform a baseline device interrogation and then convert the pacemaker to a safer mode of operation for the length of the test. If patients are determined to be non-pacemaker dependent under baseline conditions, the device may be turned off completely while the imaging takes place. During the procedure, a patient’s heart rhythm is monitored in real-time in the MRI suite and the entire process is closely supervised by Dr. Biederman, a cardiovascular physicist and the Cardiovascular MRI Center’s team of nurses and technologists. Once the MRI is completed, the implanted device is reprogrammed to its original settings. In a subsequent study conducted at AGH, Dr. Biederman found that MRI is not just safe for patients with implantable cardiac devices, but also effective. The research, believed to be the first ever focused solely on the value of MRI in this patient population, was presented last year at the annual Society of Cardiovascular MRI Scientific Sessions meeting in Los Angeles. “This ongoing study has shown that using MRI on patients with implanted pacemakers and defibrillators has added substantial clinical value to patient diagnosis and subsequent patient management, justifying the risk of the procedure,” said Dr. Biederman. AGH specialists evaluated 157 patients, including 114 neurology/neurosurgery cases, 36 cardiovascular cases and seven musculoskeletal cases. For 88 percent of the neurology/neurosurgery cases, the MRI scan added value to the final diagnoses – with 18 percent of those cases seeing a change to the original diagnoses thanks to the use of MRI. And 92 percent of the cardiac cases saw a benefit from the use of MRI, while 100 percent of the musculoskeletal cases realized a benefit from using MRI. Additionally, Dr. Biederman reported, there were no adverse clinical events associated with it for any of the patients studied. Allegheny Health Network, part of Highmark Health, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of eight hospitals, including its flagship academic medical center Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Westfield Memorial Hospital and West Penn Hospital; a research institute; Health + Wellness Pavilions; an employed physician organization, home and community based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,000 people and has more than 2,400 physicians on its medical staff. The Network also serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Continuing its tradition of being at the forefront of cardiac care in the region, Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), part of Allegheny Health Network (AHN), is the only medical center in western Pennsylvania participating in a clinical trial to see if a less-invasive technique called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is as effective as open heart surgery for patients with severe aortic stenosis at low-risk for surgery. The Edwards Lifesciences PARTNER 3 trial will include approximately 1,200 patients at up to 65 sites across the country, including AGH. Patients who qualify will receive the SAPIEN 3 valve via TAVR or undergo open heart surgical valve replacement, which is currently the standard of care. “This trial has the potential to change the standard of care in low-risk patients,” said Stephen Bailey, MD, Director of Cardiac Surgery at AGH and the hospital’s principal investigator for the trial. “If TAVR is found to be an effective treatment alternative in this new subset of patients, it could expand its utilization considerably across the country. Patients will be followed for 10 years to help ensure that this newer approach has comparable, exceptional, long-term performance.” Aortic stenosis – a severe narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart – forces the heart to work harder to push blood through the damaged aortic valve, eventually weakening the heart muscle. Aortic stenosis can cause fainting, chest pain, heart failure, irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), and cardiac arrest. TAVR is a less-invasive treatment for heart valve disease that involves replacing the damaged aortic valve with a new one while the heart continues to beat on its own. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) originally approved TAVR in 2011, providing a new viable option for patients with severe aortic stenosis at high-risk for undergoing open heart surgery. Last year, the FDA approved TAVR for patients with severe aortic stenosis at intermediate-risk for undergoing open heart surgery. According to organizers of the PARTNER 3 trial, nearly 80 percent of all surgical aortic valve replacements (SAVR) are currently done in patients with severe aortic stenosis at low-risk for surgery. “TAVR means no major chest incision, less pain, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to normal activity,” said David Lasorda, DO, Director of Interventional Cardiology at AGH. “It could become the new preferred approach for patients.” In October, doctors at AGH performed the hospital’s 500th TAVR procedure, and in 2015 they were the first in western Pennsylvania to implant the latest-generation SAPIEN 3 transcatheter heart valve (THV), which includes a major design change to minimize leakage around the valve. AGH was among the first medical centers in the country to offer two varieties of the minimally invasive valve replacement technique. In transfemoral TAVR, the femoral artery serves as a conduit to access the heart. Surgeons make a small incision in the groin and use a catheter to guide the replacement valve through the femoral artery to the heart. With transapical or transaortic TAVR, a catheter is inserted through a small chest incision that provides direct access into the heart, providing a new option for patients with smaller or diseased peripheral blood vessels who may not be candidates for the transfemoral approach. For more information about the trial at AGH, please contact Kenneth Rayl at kenneth.rayl(at)ahn.org or call 412.359.6860. Allegheny Health Network, part of Highmark Health, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of eight hospitals, including its flagship academic medical center Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Westfield Memorial Hospital and West Penn Hospital; a research institute; Health + Wellness Pavilions; an employed physician organization, home and community based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,000 people and has more than 2,400 physicians on its medical staff. The Network also serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
News Article | October 28, 2016
Allegheny Health Network (AHN), home to one of the nation’s most comprehensive bloodless medicine programs, has named Erin Suydam, MD, its Medical Director of Patient Blood Management & Bloodless Medicine. Dr. Suydam, who has been part of AHN’s Level I Trauma Surgical Service team since 2014, also will serve as Chair of the Network’s system-wide Patient Blood Management Steering Committee. Since 1998, AHN’s Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery (CBMS) at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) has provided an option for thousands of patients who request treatment without the use of blood or blood products. Whether because of religious convictions or concerns over the safety of blood transfusions, a growing number of people each year are expressing an interest in bloodless medicine programs. AGH healthcare professionals perform numerous highly complex surgical procedures without requiring blood transfusion, including organ transplantation and brain, vascular, gynecological, cardiac, orthopaedic and gastrointestinal surgery. “It is crucial that everyone involved in the treatment of a bloodless medicine patient understand and adhere to a certain philosophy,” said Tony Farah, MD, Chief Medical Officer for AHN. “In her new role, Dr. Suydam will help ensure that our caregivers remain up to date on the latest developments in transfusion-free medicine so that we are able to continue to provide the highest level care to those patients who require it.” Dr. Suydam is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who completed her general surgery residency at the Medical College of Georgia followed by a surgical critical care fellowship at the University of Hawaii. She also holds a certificate in patient blood management (PBM) from the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management. PBM expands on AGH’s expertise in the field of bloodless medicine. PBM supports evidence-based transfusion practices and seeks to provide the right care, in the right setting, in the right way, every time for all patients. About Allegheny Health Network Allegheny Health Network, part of Highmark Health, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of eight hospitals, including its flagship academic medical center Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Westfield Memorial Hospital and West Penn Hospital; a research institute; Health + Wellness Pavilions; an employed physician organization, home and community based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,000 people and has more than 2,400 physicians on its medical staff. The Network also serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. ###