American Heart Health Month

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(L-R) Dr. Winakur, Ms. Robinson-Dawkins, Dr. Wen, Fellow Joyce Roller, Go Red for Women spokeperson, Ali Blais, Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Dr. Baker-Smith and Dr. Fisher.

By: Allie Ondrejcak, Communications Intern

Last week, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a Press Conference recognizing American Heart Month. The event featured: Dr. Leana Wen, Health Commissioner at the Baltimore City Health Department; Dr. Shannon Winakur, Medical Director at the Women’s Heart Center at Saint Agnes Hospital; Ali Blais, Director of Development for Go Red for Women; Alfreda Robinson-Dawkins, a heart disease survivor; and University of Maryland Medical Center’s Dr. Stacy Fisher. UMMC Cardiologist Dr. Carissa Baker-Smith was in attendance as well.

Dr. Fisher specializes in complex heart disease with special interests in adult congenital heart disease, heart disease during pregnancy and pulmonary hypertension. She spoke about several important issues at the conference:

  • The differences in heart disease between men and women
    • Heart risks and heart disease during pregnancy—because women are having children at older ages, and with complex heath conditions like diabetes and obesity, they are at a higher risk of developing heart disease
    • If you have a known condition, talk to your health provider before planning a pregnancy and to continue to discuss any symptoms you experience throughout
  • The importance of knowing your family history and heart-related sudden death.
    • it is important to be screened, and to have your children screened, for heart conditions
    • Being screened and knowing your history can help to prevent heart-related sudden death

In the United States, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and it is the leading cause of death for both men and women. But the good news is 80% of heart disease and strokes can be prevented! The American Heart Association gives us 7 easy ways to lower your risk and improve your heath:

  1. Get Active
  2. Control Your Cholesterol
  3. Eat Better
  4. Manage Your Blood Pressure
  5. Lose Weight
  6. Reduce Your Blood Sugar
  7. Quit Smoking

Visit the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Center
for more information about our services and resources.

Also, check out UMMC’s “Never Skip a Beat” Heart Health Awareness Campaign for health tips, insights and information.

(L-R) Dr. Baker-Smith, Fellow Joyce Roller, Dr. Fisher and Dr. Winakur

 

Thanking Donors with All of Our Heart

By: Hope Gamper, Editorial Intern

Most people know February 14th as Valentine’s Day,  but February 14th also shares the honor of being National Donor Day. National Donor Day honors donors of organs, tissues, marrow, platelets and blood. This Valentine’s Day, consider giving the gift of life to someone in need and celebrate the amazing generosity of former donors.

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A Great Need for Organ Donors

Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the waiting list for an organ. While UMMC offers multiple listing, potentially allowing a patient to receive an organ sooner, the need for donors is still great.

As the demand for organs rises, so does the need for organ donors. There are two types of organ donors: deceased donors and living donors, and both play an important role in healing someone in need.

A donation from a deceased individual can save as many as 8 lives and the process is facilitated by the Living Legacy Foundation. Deceased donors can provide tissues, corneas and organs such as the kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart and intestines. Donations are only considered after all life-saving efforts have been exhausted. To prepare for this type of donation, update your driver’s license donor status through the MVA.

The living organ donation process allows living individuals the ability to donate whole kidneys or parts of the liver, pancreas, lungs and intestines. Most of these organs either regenerate on their own or can function without a small portion. Receiving a transplant from a living donor is often an alternative to waiting on the national transplant waiting list. Learn more about living donation for a loved one.

Where Donations Go

Transplant surgeons at UMMC perform a total of more than 420 transplants, but there are currently more than 123,000 people in need of lifesaving transplants. You may direct a donation to a specific individual or your donation may go to the next eligible person on the waiting list. Patients who receive your donation will be matched based on an array of factors including blood type and severity of illness.

To those in need, donating an organ is an indescribable gift.  Successful UMMC transplant recipients for heart, kidney, lungliver and other conditions, have gone on to live joyfully once again.

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To the Heart of the Matter – Ways You Can Help

  • Consider giving the gift of life this Donor Day. Learn more about providing a living donation for a loved one from the UMMC Transplant Center.
  • Become an organ donor by opting in the next time you renew your driver’s license or filling out the online registry form here: https://register.donatelifemaryland.org/
  • Sign up with the Red Cross for a UMMC blood drive to donate blood or platelets.

And most importantly, thank an organ donor and their heroic and truly altruistic gift that has given thousands of people a second chance at life.

A Little Hero Recovers from Heart Surgery to Run Like Superman


Editor’s note:
For 2-year-old Thaddeous McKenzie, the Baltimore Running Festival was just a fun day when he got to run fast with a bunch of other kids. For his mother, Jennifer McAnany, and others who formed “Team Thaddeous,” it meant a lot more.  

By Jennifer McAnany

(as told to Amy Katz)

I felt my son grip my hand tightly as he wiggled in anticipation of the race. He was restless, but only because he was excited to run in the Kids Fun Run at the Baltimore Running Festival. I looked down at him, beaming with pride. I could think only about how truly blessed I am to have a healthy child who is living life to the fullest and being a normal 2-year-old.

When I was pregnant with my son Thaddeous, I wanted the best care possible for my baby. Because of complications, I was already considered a high-risk pregnancy, so I went to see Dr. Geoffrey Rosenthal at University of Maryland Medical Center. At 20 weeks, doctors found a heart defect and diagnosed Thaddeous with Tetralogy of Fallot. In this heart defect, it is difficult for the heart to pump oxygen properly, causing the child’s lips, tongue, and fingers to turn blue from lack of oxygen. The most common treatment for TOF is usually open heart surgery, and this surgery usually must occur within the first few months of life. It was scary for me because we wouldn’t even know how bad the defect was until he was born.

The day Thaddeous was born was very nerve-racking for me. He was born at UMMC – where they were prepared to perform open heart surgery on him immediately, if he needed it. As soon as he was born, the nurses came and assessed him. I was thrilled when I learned little Thaddeous was well enough to be able to go home from the hospital with me when I was released two days later. He was monitored every couple weeks and seemed to be doing okay.

About 11 weeks later, when we went in for a genetics appointment with Dr. Julie Kaplan at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center (part of the UM Medical System), she noticed that Thaddeous was looking a little blue, demonstrating one of his heart-defect symptoms. They had to immediately transport us from Upper Chesapeake hospital to the UM Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. It was a horrible weekend because his oxygen levels would drop every so often and he wasn’t scheduled to have open heart surgery until Monday morning. This is when we started calling him our little Superman because he pulled through his surgery and came out of it as our little hero.

Thaddeous McKenzie recovers after surgery. He's now a healthy 2-year-old.

Thaddeous McKenzie recovering after heart surgery at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. 

 

The full-heart repair was a success and Thaddeous recovered fairly quickly. He was doing great. So when I heard about the Children’s Heart Program Running Team in the Baltimore Running Festival on Oct. 12, not only did I sign up to run – I signed up our little Superman. He even had his own bib number. And then several family members and friends signed up. As “Team Thaddeous,” we raised money for the program to be able to help other young patients and families.

Ready, Set, GO! The buzzer went off to signal the start.

Thaddeous ran as fast as he could, trying his hardest to keep up with the other kids and pulling me along with him. He was having a blast in his Superman shirt with his cape blowing in the wind, and I felt so glad he is still on the mend.

He will still have to have yearly check-ups for the rest of his life, but he is living life like a normal 2-year-old. He has his hiccups at times but what 2-year-old doesn’t? He walks, he plays, he kicks the ball and does everything he wants to do. The sky is the limit for him now.

As we crossed the finish line, still hand-in-hand, I once again realized how thankful I was.  He wouldn’t be able to be here running this race beside me for the Children’s Heart Program if it wasn’t for all of his doctors, nurses, and everyone who helped him get where he is today. I did the race for Thaddeous and to give back to the program that had helped us. It was like everything came full circle, and I can’t thank everyone at the University of Maryland Medical System enough.

Go to the Team Thaddeous page to see more photos of Thaddeous or to make a donation to sponsor his team’s fundraising effort.

Team Thaddeous

Team Thaddeous after running to raise money for the Children’s Heart Program and, below, with Dr. Rosenthal (third from left).

 

Group picture with Dr. Rosenthal

 

Recovering Cancer Patient Takes Control of Health and Weight

Verna Prehn, before and after

My Story of Getting Healthy

By Verna Prehn

Three years ago I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At the time of my diagnosis, I was a very large woman (weighing more than 300 lbs) with a very high “at-rest” heart rate and (we would find out later) severely malnourished.

I went through tough but successful treatment, including two surgeries, chemotherapy, artificial feedings with a nasogastric tube, and blood transfusions, under the care of Dr. Sarah Temkin at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Chemo had many side effects, including bone pain, hair loss and weight loss (97 pounds), but it has successfully freed me from cancer for now, and Dr. Temkin keeps a close watch on my health, vigilant for a recurrence that would require additional treatment. Dr. Temkin told me that keeping the weight off that I had lost with chemotherapy treatments would be healthy for me and increase my survivorship.

After treatment was complete, I began to put on weight, but Dr. Temkin said not to worry too much because everyone puts on a bit of weight after they have completed treatment. But my little bit of weight became a lot more weight until I had put on all 97 pounds I had lost.

I went to Dr. Tais Baig in UM Family Medicine as my primary care physician to have her regulate medication for my high blood pressure and rapid heart rate. She ran tests and found that my blood glucose was high enough to suspect diabetes. Dr. Baig talked with me for a while, getting to know me and asked how she could best help me with my health.

I told her that I wanted to get the weight off because I wanted to increase my survivorship and I knew that being so heavy is a threat to my health. I told her that I didn’t know how to do it. I don’t know what good nutrition is, what’s good or bad to eat, and how to come up with a plan to lose weight. She told me about the University of Maryland Medical Weight Management Program through the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Baig helped me through getting an appointment to begin.

I met Dr. Verlyn Warrington at my first appointment. She explained the program, gave me lots of information and set me up for the group meetings with a licensed clinical social worker and behavior therapist. I was taking medication for high blood pressure and rapid heart rate, thyroid medication for an under active thyroid, an inhaler for asthma, and Dr. Warrington wanted to put me on medication for diabetes.

My first meeting with the support and accountability group was overwhelming. We talked about protein, protein, protein. We talked about portion size. We talked about eating several times a day and not skipping meals. Harriet told us that if we followed the plan we would lose 10 percent of our body weight in three months. It took me about a week-and-a-half before I gave the plan a try because I was afraid and overwhelmed. In three months, I did indeed lose 10 percent of my body weight. In fact, I lost 35 pounds that first three months.

Additionally, Dr. Warrington explained that I needed to increase my activity level. I had some restrictions on what I could do because of my knees and asthma. I began walking. I started walking around the perimeter of my neighborhood, which measures out to just over a mile. At first, I couldn’t walk and talk at the same time and I had to stop frequently to rest and catch my breath. As I have lost more weight and have increased my cardiovascular endurance, I have started exercising to on-line walking videos

I have learned so much from Harriet, Dr. Warrington, Dr. Vivienne Rose and the people in our support and accountability group. I know how to think and make good choices about eating. HALT is a good motto to follow because my emotions drive my eating habits. So I think: HALT – am I HUNGRY? Or am I ANGRY? or am I LONELY? or am I TIRED? Actually, I add an “S” to it (HALTS) – am I STRESSED?

I read the labels on food and check them for calories, fat and sugar content. I measure my food so that I keep healthy portion sizes. (Portion size was a huge surprise to me. I had an unrealistic concept of what an individual serving was and what was actually food for two or three people.)

I keep track of my food in a food journal through MyFitnessPal.com. It also keeps track of my exercise and activity level. Dr. Warrington told me about this tool to use because I had gone about two months and had only lost one pound. Dr. Warrington and the food journal help me to realize that I was eating too few calories – I wasn’t eating enough food.

Dr. Vivienne Rose and Harriet Mandel present Mrs. Verna Prehn with a congratulatory plaque marking her 100 pound weight loss

Dr. Vivienne Rose and Harriet Mandel present Mrs. Verna Prehn with a congratulatory plaque marking her 100 pound weight loss

 

It has been 14 months since Dr. Warrington, Dr. Rose and Harriet helped me make a lifestyle change that is healthier for me and increases my rate of survivorship. At my last appointment and weigh-in, I had lost 100 pounds. It took 13 months. I am no longer on medication for my heart or blood pressure or thyroid. My blood glucose is no longer in the diabetic or pre-diabetic range. I have walked two 8k walks. I walk to videos or outdoors five times a week. I do strength training exercises with weights and bands. I am starting a faith and fitness class with a trainer and will begin a gym membership soon. I can walk my entire neighborhood in 20 minutes without stopping and while carrying on a conversation at the same time.

I still have a considerable amount of weight to lose to get to a healthy weight that I am comfortable with. I feel so much better already. I take the steps instead of the elevator and it doesn’t hurt my knees! I know so much more about what is a healthy food choice and portion size. The University of Maryland Medical Weight Management program, Dr. Warrington, Dr. Rose and Harriet have helped me claim a new healthier way of living.

Verna Prehn

Elkridge, Md.

Nurses Run for their ‘Heart Kids’

By Jen Arrington, MS, RN, CPN, and Kristen Fantel, BSN, RN, CEN

On Oct. 12, 17 nurses and friends of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) will be running in the Baltimore Running Festival to raise money for the UMMC Children’s Heart Program. When people ask us why we run, there’s one easy answer. We run for patients like Brandon Kerrigan and all of the heart kids that we care for everyday.

When Brandon celebrated his 15th birthday on Aug. 16, no one had any idea that two days later he would be fighting for his life. Brandon was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, and went into cardiac arrest while being flown from Easton to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. Once Brandon was stabilized, his family was told that he would need a heart transplant. Since his arrival to the PICU, Brandon has been determined to get strong while he waits for his heart. He charms the nurses and staff with his bright smile and Nerf guns, just trying to be a normal 15-year-old, while cooped up in the hospital. You can see how charming he is in this picture of us with him at the bottom of our team page.

Brandon is only one example of a patient we are running for. We care for many cardiac patients in collaboration with the Children’s Heart Program. This program provides comprehensive cardiac care for children with a wide range of conditions — from rhythm abnormalities to childhood hypertension, from heart murmurs to serious birth defects requiring complicated heart surgery. While we care for these complex patients, they quickly become a part of our unit – we offer an encouraging smile to their parents in the hallway, we say our silent prayers. And on good days – we dodge Nerf guns as we enter the patient’s room.

The strength and resilience of these children, who battle against all odds, is simply inspiring. As nurses, we are often left with the feeling of wanting to do more. We carefully assess these patients for any changes in condition, we give medications, we advocate for their every need, and we attempt to play and create normalcy whenever we can. But we want to do more.

This is why we decided to run as part of the Children’s Heart Team. We don’t have a miracle drug and we can’t take away the heartache in the eyes of the parents of these patients. But we can run.

As with all of the patients we care for, the teamwork involved in the care of these patients is also inspiring. The team includes Nurses, Doctors, Child Life Specialists, Respiratory Therapists, OR and Cath Lab Staff, Rehabilitation Services – and many, many other people who deserve to be celebrated.

This strong team work was the inspiration for our fundraising efforts. We created a T-shirt that recognizes this team effort, and we are selling the T-shirt around the hospital in order to raise money for the Children’s Heart Program.

In addition to the shirt, we are also hosting a fundraiser at a local restaurant. Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Blue Hill Tavern in Canton. The restaurant will be donating 20% of its proceeds from the day to our cause. Schedule a lunch with your co-workers, dinner with your family, or join the PICU nurses for Happy Hour – and help an important cause.

Want to join us in our effort to do more? Contact us! Maybe today we can give back a little bit of the inspiration that we have received from these amazing children.

To make a donation: http://www.ummsfoundation.org/picuheart

Man Celebrates Six-Year Anniversary of Heart Transplant during April’s Donate Life Month

Bidwell photo3

When I first found out that I needed a heart transplant, I didn’t believe it. I was in denial since I was in such good shape all of my life. I hardly even got a cold. I couldn’t believe that my heart was giving out.

Ten years ago after years of being an avid runner, I was growing more and more tired. I went to my general doctor who did an EKG, and he found something abnormal. It was determined that the right electrical node in my heart was not firing correctly, so I had a pacemaker put in. I continued running for the next two years. Then the same problem occurred on the left side of my heart and another pacemaker was put in.

After four years and two pacemakers, my heart started to completely deteriorate. I had an interview with Dr. Erika Feller who determined that I was a transplant candidate. I was added to the transplant waiting list and admitted to UMMC. Throughout the week they had to run tests on me. While at the hospital, I went into cardiac arrest, and I was upgraded to a pump. A couple days later a match was found. I felt great and relieved; it was only five days between the cardiac arrest and the time I got my new heart.

I didn’t wake up initially after the transplant. The toxins in my blood were at such a high level that they brought me into exploratory surgery where they discovered that I also needed my gall bladder removed.

Recovery was pretty good for me. The doctors and staff at UMMC were great. They took good care of me and got me up and walking soon after the surgeries. Two weeks after the transplant I returned home and continued walking around my community. In less than three months after my transplant, I was able to return to work.

It has been six years since my transplant, and I’m able to run again. Every weekend I go walking with the guys in the neighborhood, about 4 to 5 miles. I am also very passionate about sailing. I sail a fair amount and send Dr. Feller a picture of me on my boat every April, which is the anniversary of my transplant.

I would highly recommend that people indicate they want to be organ donors on their driver’s license. Organs are greatly needed, and you may save someone’s life. You never know when tragedy may strike or when your health may deteriorate. But even with a sad tragedy, some good can come out of it. If it had not been for the generosity and foresight of my donor, I probably would not be here.

Keep the Beat: UMMC Hosts Dance Party for Baltimore City Senior Citizens

By Sharon Boston

Media Relations Manager for University of Maryland Medical System

More than 300 Baltimore seniors got their feet moving and their heart rates up at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s third annual “Dance for the Heart” event at the Virginia S. Baker Recreation Center in PattersonPark.

The participants came from senior centers throughout the city to take part in dance demonstrations, line-dancing and blood pressure screenings. It was a fun way to get their heart rates up, keep their feet moving and dance their way to better health. Many of them arrived already enjoying dance. Some dancers really had some signature moves, and others just enjoyed swaying. At least one dancer used his cane to safely join the fun.

Dance for the Heart video

The Medical Center, which provided “Dance for Your Heart” shirts for everyone, partnered with the Baltimore City Health Department and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks for the event.

University of Maryland family medicine specialist Georgia Bromfield, MD, also talked to the folks about the “ABCs” of heart disease, and they had lots of questions for her.

“Dance for Your Heart” is part of the Medical Center’s community outreach efforts. The annual dance is one of a series of heart-health events the Medical Center is hosting during February, which is American Heart Month.  Be sure to visit the Medical Center at the B-More Healthy Expo, February 23-24 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

To learn more about other upcoming activities, visit our community outreach page: www.umm.edu/events

 

 

 

Mid-Term Fall Nutrition: Easy as ABC

By Mindy Athas, RD, CSO, LDN

Outpatient Oncology Dietitian

Has that initial back-to-school resolution to pack healthier lunches and make more nutritious choices throughout the day started to wear thin? Have autumn tasks and responsibilities and pre-holiday stress led you down the junk food trail? It’s time to get back into healthy habits before the festivities and post-holiday winter hibernation kick in.  So grab your notebook, pencil and calculator, and meet me for some Nutrition 101.

Reading: start gathering healthy recipes from friends, family, books, magazines and online sites. Two great resources for healthy eating include www.cookinglight.com and www.eatingwell.com.  Head to the book store for the bargain cookbooks and look for words like “low-fat”, “heart-healthy” and “light or lite” recipes.  Or stop by the library and grab a handful of healthy eating cookbooks to peruse; if you find some keepers, you can always order the books online.  Cooking magazines include Cooking Light, Cooks Illustrated, and Bon Appétit, all of which also have online sites.  For more general healthy reading, check out www.eatright.org, www.mayoclinic.com, www.heart.org and www.diabetes.org, all of which have printable general information handouts geared to the basics.

 For more detailed info and healthy eating plates and pyramids, see www.choosemyplate.gov, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/ and oldwayspt.org/resources/heritage-pyramids/mediterranean-pyramid/overview.  

You may want to start an online or paper recipe journal or folder to keep all your healthy fall picks in one place.  For specific cancer-fighting foods, check out American Institute for Cancer Research’s www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/ , for a list of nutrition fact sheets, see the National Cancer Institute’s www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/diet  and the American Cancer Society’s www.cancer.org/Healthy/EatHealthyGetActive/index for cancer prevention nutrition strategies.

Writing: Jot down some weekly dinner ideas to help organize your food shopping list.  Start with protein but add in at least one meatless meal: good for your budget, your waistline and the environment!  Meatless meals can include beans, nuts, tofu or just a mixture of grains (think bean chili and pasta marinara).  Animal protein includes poultry, fish, eggs, and lean cuts of meats, but limit red and processed meats as much as possible. Then add vegetables (seasonal and local items should top the list), and finally a starch (if you even need one with all the wonderful root vegetables in season now).  Add fruit for a quick and easy dessert.

Check your local food stores’ weekly flyers for sales, which will change often, ensuring a nice food variety while helping you save money.  For some meal and menu ideas: www.makedinnereasy.com which includes a weekly grocery list to print, www.dinnerplanner.com with step-by-step photos and tips, www.health.com/health/eating  which includes a free email newsletter, and www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/index.html which has an A to Z foods list.

Remember to cut back on salt and salty ingredients and increase the amount of fruits or vegetables in the recipes.  Always aim to keep the base of your meal coming from plants: veggies, fruits, beans, nuts and whole grains.  Eat a rainbow of colors daily as well to ensure you get a myriad of different nutrients.  

School  Supplies: When making your fall food list, stick with some basics to keep in your kitchen all season. These include good quality olive oil (extra virgin), canola oil (expeller-pressed), balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar if you prefer), fresh garlic (don’t refrigerate), fresh herbs (which you can buy as plants and keep in a sunny window), dried herbs (curry powder, cinnamon, cumin), shallots and onions (organic if you can get them), a pepper mill for fresh ground pepper, and any other herbs and spices you like. 

Cutting back on salt at home will help you lower your salt threshold for when you eat out, encouraging better restaurant choices. Remember to pick what’s in season now, in your area:  in addition to a variety of apples, look for local pumpkins, gourds, pears, beans, turnips, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and honey.  Try acorn or butternut squash simply baked with some olive oil or real Maple syrup (which you can also buy locally and which is considered an antioxidant). 

For more seasonal eating information:, see Sustainable Table at www.sustainabletable.org/shop/seasonal/ , the Natural Resources Defense Council www.simplesteps.org/contact which has an Eat Local app for your phone, www.marylandsbest.net  which includes a listing of local markets and farms, and www.pickyourown.org/MDharvestcalendar.htm which has a complete annual harvest chart.  Taking a trip on a beautiful fall day to pick apples off the tree combines exercise, fun and sustainable eating: that’s putting your money where your mouth is!

New Teacher: don’t be afraid to try new foods! Check out the plethora of gourds, pumpkins, root vegetables, and colorful fruits showcased at the farmers’ markets this fall.  Don’t know what it is? Buy it and try it: your farmer or grocer will get you started. (Did you bring your recipe notebook?) Write down the names of unusual foods (Parsnip? Dragon fruit? Fiddleheads? Lychee?) so you can search recipes later.  Haven’t tried brown rice, amaranth, quinoa or chia seeds yet? Don’t be a flunky: get hip to the multitude of whole grains available at almost every supermarket.  Look for the words “100% whole”, “whole wheat,” “stone ground,” “multigrain” and “whole grain” on packages. Choose grains with the most fiber: aim for 3 grams per serving for breads and crackers, and 5 grams per serving for starches.  Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are also great fiber sources, and remember an apple for the teacher!  Some other nutrition superstars which always seem to be in season include mushrooms, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, pomegranates, and kale.   For other great healthy food ideas: www.appforhealth.com/tag/healthiest-produce/ , www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php and www.divinecaroline.com/22175/52070-twenty-healthiest-foods-1

A is for Autumn: Eat plenty of fresh (local and seasonal) produce this fall. Choose 3 or more servings of vegetables daily and 2 or more servings of fruit daily. This is equivalent to about 2 cups daily of fruits and veggies combined.   For details, see www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate/index.aspx

B is for Bread: think making your own bread is hard? You have mastered many difficult school subjects, so baking bread from scratch (or using your bread machine) is a veritable piece of cake!  Start with an easy basic recipe using a combo of all-purpose, bread and whole wheat flour.  Use up all those fresh apples and pears in muffins and fruit pies with added nuts to add healthy fats, fiber and protein.  Sprinkle in some oat bran or flax seed for crunch, and substitute some of the oil in the recipes with yogurt or applesauce.  Try this pear and granola muffin recipe from Martha Stewart, which includes whole grains and cinnamon: www.marthastewart.com/317980/pear-and-granola-muffins.   

C is for Cooking: Think how great your home will smell with a big pot of creamy butternut squash soup (yum!) on the stove. Throw in some cinnamon and the neighbors will be coming by.  Cook large batches of soup, stew, chili, casseroles, quiche, or tomato sauce. Cool in shallow dishes, then freeze in small glass containers for a quick dinner. Make chili with beans or try a white chili with ground turkey or chicken. 

If you’ve never had fresh beets, try: www.finecooking.com/recipes/jewel-roasted-vegetables.aspx?nterms=53248,50300. And for a low-carb pasta swap, try spaghetti squash instead, with turkey meatballs: www.wholeliving.com/131539/spaghetti-squash-turkey-meatballs?czone=/fall-recipes/main-courses&center=185179&gallery=185173&slide=131539.

For a twist on fresh pumpkin, consider a warm pumpkin salad over polenta: www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Warm-Pumpkin-Salad-with-Polenta-and-Candied-Pumpkin-Seeds-105581 or stick with the traditional soup: www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Curried-Pumpkin-Soup-2 where you can sub fresh pumpkins (look for the small round kind for cooking, not the big kind for carving at Halloween) instead of canned.

Watch your Math: Remember to watch portion sizes, added fats and sugars. With all the tasty fresh fall produce, you won’t need many calorie-rich condiments.  Cream, butter, excess oil, sweet sauces, salad dressings, cheese and fried items can easily overload your calorie budget.  Seek lower or no-sugar-added items and try making your own salad dressing with olive oil, vinegar and mustard or a squeeze of fresh lime juice.  Retrain your taste buds to appreciate the delicate flavors found naturally in fresh foods. Remember fresh garlic, shallots and onions in dishes for a pop of flavor and substitute fresh herbs for dried as able.  Use the plate method: half your plate (and try to use a smaller diameter plate) with vegetables and fruits, then ¼ whole grains and ¼ protein foods. For more ideas on adding produce: www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.   Continue to add daily physical activity to your life: just walking 10 minutes after each meal can help keep your body healthy and relieve stress.  Try sleeping in a dark room at night for a solid 7- to 8-hour stretch and laughing more, both of which can strengthen your immune system.  For more healthy living ideas: www.fns.usda.gov/eatsmartplayhardhealthylifestyle/ and www.hhs.gov/safety/index.html.

Congratulations on passing your Mid-Term Fall Eating class: enjoy all of autumn’s bounty, and it’s OK to encourage others to copy.

 

Mandatory Pulse Oximetry Screening for Newborns Takes Effect in Maryland

By Carissa M. Baker-Smith, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Pediatric Cardiologist, University of Maryland Children’s Heart Program

A quick, painless and non-invasive test to determine the amount of oxygen in a newborn baby’s blood is a first step in screening infants for congenital heart defects. Beginning September 1, 2012, hospitals in Maryland must administer the test to all newborns.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) occurs in approximately 8 of every 1,000 children.  Infants born with congenital heart disease have structural defects of the heart. Approximately 25% of all CHD cases are critical and require intervention during the infant’s first month of life. Interventions can include the administration of special medications or even surgery. Pulse oximetry may be helpful in improving the detection of critical CHD (CCHD).

On September 1, 2012, hospitals across Maryland begin mandatory pulse oximetry screening for all newborns. The screening must be done by a health professional before the infant is discharged and within 24 to 48 hours after birth. All hospitals in Maryland will be responsible for creating and implementing pulse oximetry screening protocols.

Children who “fail” pulse oximetry screening will undergo further evaluation, and their primary care providers will work closely with pediatric cardiologists to make the correct diagnosis. Failing the pulse oximetry test means oxygen saturation is lower than normal without another explanation, such as infection or lung disease.

What is pulse oximetry?

Pulse oximetry relies on the use of a non-invasive, painless method for detecting the amount of oxygen in the blood.  Probes are applied to the palm of the hand and the sole of the foot. The protocol selected by the State of Maryland for screening  is published in the Journal of Pediatrics (Pediatrics 2011; 128; e1259). Children with oxygen saturation less than 90% automatically test positive and fail screening.  Children with oxygen saturation greater than 95% test negative and pass screening. Children with oxygen saturation between 90% and 95% will undergo repeat testing and evaluation.

What is the potential impact of pulse oximetry screening?

We anticipate that pulse oximetry screening will enhance detection of CCHD. Data indicate that for every 1,000 children born in Maryland, 2.3 have CCHD.  Currently, between 60% and 70% of these infants are diagnosed through prenatal screening, leaving approximately 30% who are not yet diagnosed by the time they are born. Combined with physical examination, pulse oximetry is reported to improve sensitivity for detecting CHD by 20%.

What is the role of the Children’s Heart Program?

The University of Maryland Children’s Heart Program offers a comprehensive panel of services designed to accurately diagnose and effectively manage and treat children with CHD and CCHD.  Pediatric cardiologists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist with the diagnosis of CHD.  Through consultation and telemedicine services, the Children’s Heart Program is ready to assist surrounding providers and families with the evaluation of infants with suspected CCHD.

For more information on pulse oximetry, please contact the Children’s Heart Program at 410-328-4FIT (4348).

Dr. Baker-Smith is a member of the Maryland State Advisory Council’s Committee for CCHD and the Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease multi-institutional group.

A Mission to Ecuador for Pediatric Heart Surgeon

By Meghan Scalea

UMMC Communications Account Leader

Sunjay Kaushal, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor at UM School of Medicine and director of pediatric cardiac surgery at UMMC, recently returned from a medical mission to Ecuador, where he performed life-saving heart surgeries on nearly 20 children who would have died without surgery.

 

Dr. Kaushal, a father of two, is a huge advocate for kids. This medical mission to Guayaquil, Ecuador, was his fifth trip with the International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF), a group dedicated to providing supplies, training and surgical resources to care for underprivileged children with heart disease in dozens of countries around the world.

According to the ICHF, 1% of the world’s population is born with heart disease, only about one-third is diagnosed, and even fewer receive life-saving heart surgery. Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the world.

“There is a huge surplus of kids with congenital heart disease,” says Kaushal. “Traveling with this group allows me to provide free health care for children who wouldn’t otherwise be treated.”

Joining him in Ecuadorwas UMMC certified surgical technologist, Nicolette Dupuis, who supports Dr. Kaushal in his pediatric heart surgeries in the OR in Baltimore. This marked Dr. Kaushal and Ms. Dupuis’s third medical mission trip together. During their week inEcuador, they worked with cardiologists and intensivists from hospitals around theU.S. in the sparse operating rooms.

 “Part of our job while we were inEcuadorwas to teach the local medical professionals to do congenital heart surgeries like we do, but on a smaller level,” says Dr. Kaushal. “Our day began at 7:30 am, and we’d operate until 9:00 pm. We staffed the ICU 24/7 during the time we were there to make sure those children had the post-operative care they needed.”

Dr. Kaushal is the only board-certified congenital heart surgeon inMaryland, giving him a unique expertise in performing surgical procedures on babies just a few days old who were born with heart disease, children with congenital and acquired heart disease, and adults living with heart conditions they developed as babies, known as adult congenital heart disease.

Dr. Kaushal performs the most complex pediatric heart surgeries available today, including surgeries for babies with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Tetralogy of Fallot and ventricular septal defect, and those in need of pulmonary valve replacement. He is also preparing to open a clinical trial that will use a baby’s own stem cells to regenerate the underdeveloped portion of their heart caused by hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

We invite you to learn more about what Dr. Kaushal and the Children’s Heart Program at UMMC are doing for children within the Mid-Atlantic region.