Category: What's New

May is Stroke Awareness Month – Every Second Counts

May is Stroke Awareness Month – Every Second Counts

May is Stroke Awareness Month, a condition that effects someone in the United States every 40 seconds. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a 40% decline in patients seeking urgent or emergent care. This includes carotid artery disease, one of the leading causes of stroke.

 

What is Carotid Artery Disease?

Up to a third of stroke cases are caused by carotid artery disease, the narrowing or blockage of the carotid artery by plaque. The carotid arteries are large blood vessels in the neck that supply the brain and head with blood. When there is too much plaque, blood cannot properly flow to the brain or plaque can break off and travel to the brain. Both of these have the potential to cause a stroke.

Recognize the Signs of Stroke

Early action is one of key indicator in surviving a stroke. To recognize the signs and symptoms, remember BE FAST: Balance, Eyes, Face, Arms, Speech, Time.

Stroke Prevention

Stroke is also preventable through lifestyle changes, disease management and proper screening:

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle – quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. It is also important to limit alcohol consumption and get adequate sleep.
  2. Don’t ignore mini-strokes – Tell your doctor about Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs), also known as mini-strokes”. They can be an indicator of an underlying problem and potentially lead to a full stroke.
  3. Treat diabetes – people with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have a stroke. High blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and allow clots to form. These clots have the potential to break off and travel to the brain, causing a stroke.
  4. Manage blood pressure and cholesterol – high blood pressure and high cholesterol can cause plaque build-up in your arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
  5. Get screened for carotid artery disease – screening is as simple as an ultrasound. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or peripheral artery disease, you are at an increased risk for carotid artery disease. Other risk factors include being over age 65, smoking, and a family history of stroke.

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic people should not delay care for life-threatening conditions such as carotid artery disease which may lead to a stroke. It is important to talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors and decide if you could benefit from screening.

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Dr. Erin Moore First in Southeast to Use New Device for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates was the first practice in the southeastern United States to introduce the FDA-approved Gore EXCLUDER® Conformable AAA Endoprosthesis to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) – aneurysms found inside the largest blood vessel of the body. Our vascular surgeon, Erin Moore, MD, FACS, RPVI, implanted his first device yesterday, March 31, 2021, in the cardiovascular operating room located at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, Florida.

What are Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA)?

The abdominal aorta is a section of the aorta blood vessel located within the abdomen. The main function of the aorta is to carry blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Sometimes, due to vascular disease, injury or genetic defect, the walls of the aorta can become weakened. When there is continuous pressure against a weakened area, an aneurysm can occur.

Risk Factors for developing a AAA include:

  • Smoking
  • Family History of AAA
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure

Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms of AAA can include:

  • Pain in the abdomen, chest or back
  • Throbbing sensation in the abdomen
  • Tenderness of the abdomen
  • There are also many cases where patients experience no symptoms at all

If left untreated, aneurysms can grow and have the potential to burst (rupture) which causes bleeding inside the body.

There are two approaches for treatment: open-surgical repair or endovascular repair. During open-surgical repair, the patient is placed under general anesthesia and an incision is made in the abdomen. The aorta is repaired by removing the aneurysm and replacing with a fabric graft that is sewn in.

Benefits of Endovascular Repair

The Gore EXCLUDER® Conformable AAA Endoprosthesis permanently seals off aneurysms located in the abdominal section of the aorta and maintains the pathway for blood to circulate unobstructed. The device can be implanted while a patient is under local, regional or general anesthesia through a small puncture site in the groin, eliminating the need for invasive, open surgery to restore blood flow.

Implanted by a physician using real-time X-ray imaging called fluoroscopy, the device is made up of two pieces, a flexible body created from a long-lasting synthetic material and a sturdy outer metal stent structure. When inserted, it reduces blood loss compared to traditional, open surgery where the abdomen is cut open to access the aneurysm, speeding recovery and helping patients leave the hospital faster following their procedure.

Dr. Erin Moore was one of six physicians in the U.S. to be the first to offer this device to patients affected by abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA).

“AAAs can cause the largest blood vessel in a patient’s body, the aorta, to swell to several times its normal size. If the aneurysm grows too large, it can rupture, resulting in significant injury or even death,” Dr. Moore said. “This device eliminates the risk of aortic aneurysm rupture through a low-risk, minimally invasive intervention and will significantly improve the peace of mind for AAA patients post-procedure.”

Learn More

Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates prides itself in being at the forefront of innovation and technology for the benefit of our patients. Our board-certified vascular surgeons are trained in both open-surgical and minimally invasive endovascular procedures. To learn more about the conditions we treat, visit our website here.

To learn more about Gore EXCLUDER Conformable AAA Endoprosthesis, click here.

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Fistula Care for Dialysis Treatment

What is dialysis?

For those with kidney disease, hemodialysis is a life-saving treatment option. Dialysis helps keep your body functioning properly by removing substances, such as waste, salt and water, from your blood to prevent them from accumulating in the body.

To allow the most blood flow to and from the dialysis machine and your body, a vascular surgeon will create what is called an arteriovenous fistula. A fistula is created by connecting an artery and a vein – this makes the vessel larger and stronger so it can handle the frequent treatments.

Fistula Care

Once your fistula is established, it is important to care for it properly:

  • Keep the fistula area clean by washing the area with antibacterial soap daily and before each treatment.
  • Report any pain, swelling or redness of the fistula area to your doctor immediately. A fever could be a sign of infection.
  • Maintain proper blood flow through the fistula – be sure not to put extra pressure on the area. Avoid tight clothing, heavy jewelry, carrying heavy bags or sleeping on the area.
  • Check for the “thrill” – check the blood flow through the fistula area daily by placing your fingers over the area. You should feel the motion of blood moving through it, called the “thrill”.

Fistula Complications

Even with proper care, complications can occur. It is important to always report changes to your physician immediately. If there are any indications your fistula is not working properly, you may be sent for a fistulagram. A fistulagram is an x-ray procedure performed by a vascular surgeon to help identify any issues with blood flow through your fistula. This procedure can detect clots, narrowing, enlargement or blockages. Once the problem is identified, a treatment plan can be developed.

Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates and the Jacksonville Vascular Center is proud to be a resource for dialysis patients by offering the full spectrum of access management procedures including:

  • Dialysis Fistula Creation
  • Dialysis Catheter Placement and Removal
  • Fistulagrams

For more information on the services we provide, click here.

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WavelinQ – Latest Technology for End Stage Renal Disease

We are excited to be a part of bringing advanced technology to patients in Northeast Florida! This past Friday, Dr. Erin Moore performed Baptist Health’s first endovascular fistula using the WavelinQ system. This new technology provides renal disease patients with a non-surgical option for fistula creation so they can receive life-saving dialysis treatment.

A fistula is a connection that is made between a vein and an artery which provides access to the bloodstream so patients can receive hemodialysis treatment (cleansing of the blood).

Previously, fistula creation has only been possible through open surgery. However, the WavelinQ system offers an alternative to open surgery using a completely endovascular approach. During the procedure, the surgeon utilizes a dual-catheter system and radiofrequency to connect the vein and artery in the lower arm.

WavelinQ is the first major advancement in fistula creation in over 50 years and can offer many benefits to patients, such as minimizing arm disfigurement and scarring after surgery.

For patients diagnosed with renal disease and in need of a fistula, being evaluated by a vascular surgeon is an important step in the treatment process. Vascular surgeons specialize in blood vessel surgery and can fully evaluate if you are a candidate for this procedure.

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Introducing Robotic-Assisted Bronchoscopy for Lung Cancer

Memorial Hospital has just announced a new cancer-fighting technology for patients in Northeast Florida – minimally invasive robotic-assisted bronchoscopy for the early detection of lung cancer.

Dr. Dale Mueller, one of our Cardiothoracic Surgeons, will be one of the first physicians to be trained to use the new robot with patient cases beginning the week of December 7th.

This new robotic-assisted bronchoscopy technology will allow surgeons to make an earlier lung cancer diagnosis with greater accuracy. Unlike a traditional bronchoscopy, the robotic platform allows the physician to reach the entire lung safely and obtain tissue samples of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung. It also has a lower risk for complications than traditional biopsy techniques.

Memorial Hospital is the first healthcare system in Northeast Florida and among the first hospitals in the U.S. to offer this technology.

Dr. Mueller appeared on the News 4 Jax Morning Show to discuss this new technology and performed a live demonstration at Memorial Hospital. To watch the full news interview online, click here.

 

At Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgical Associates, P.A., being at the forefront of innovation and technology is at the core of our mission and we are excited to be a part of bringing this advanced technology to patients in Northeast Florida.

 

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Listen to Your Legs for Signs of Peripheral Vascular Disease

Listen to your legs! Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), also known as peripheral artery disease (PAD), is a common yet serious disease that affects millions of Americans.

One of our vascular surgeons, Dr. Jared Feyko, wrote an article for the Times Union to increase awareness of this disease and provide information on diagnosis and treatment.

You can access the full article here.

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Humana Partnership Announced

The Jacksonville Vascular Center (JVC) is an office-based surgical facility conveniently located in the Southpoint area of Jacksonville, FL.

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We are proud to announce the opening of our private out-patient surgical facility…

The Jacksonville Vascular Center (JVC) is an office-based surgical facility conveniently located in the Southpoint area of Jacksonville, FL.

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Dr. Erin Moore begins the latest in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm treatment

23 January 2018. Dr. Erin Moore, MD FACS RPVI, Chief of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery and Director of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, FL has enrolled his first two patients in the FDA trial for the Gore Excluder CEXC® conformable stent graft for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms with an angulated infra-renal neck of 60-90 degrees.

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