Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Completes 50th Convergent Procedure to Treat Afib

Pictured above are: Sue Keaton, Julie Opalinski, Jihn Han, MD, Robert Lyons, MD and Angela Marison.

Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor recently completed its 50th Convergent procedure to treat atrial fibrillation (afib). Convergent is a procedure that combines surgery and catheter-based ablation to treat patients with persistent or paroxysmal afib. The procedure, performed by electrophysiologists and cardiovascular surgeons, utilizes radiofrequency to block irregular electrical signals by producing lesions, or scar tissue, on the heart.

Convergence is a relatively new treatment option for afib and performed only in organizations with the most advanced cardiovascular services. The Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor team celebrates this milestone number as the most experienced team in the state of Michigan. The procedure is ideal for patients with persistent or paroxysmal afib who have not had success with other afib treatments. As a collaborative treatment, Convergent provides a minimally-invasive approach without cardiopulmonary bypass. This means a shorter hospital stay, minimal discomfort and faster recovery.

Afib is the most common heart arrhythmia disorder, with 2.3 million people living with Afib in the United States. It is caused by rapid electrical signals in the upper chambers of the heart that can disrupt blood flow, causing an irregular rhythm, and can lead to stroke.  

To learn more about Trinity Health’s afib program, click here.

Trinity Health Michigan Promotes Skin Safety Among Concertgoers

It’s been another amazing summer concert season at the historic Pine Knob Music Theatre.  With little more than a month remaining on the summer schedule, it’s important that concertgoers continue to take precautions to protect their skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

As the exclusive health care partner of Pine Knob Music Theatre, Trinity Health Michigan wants to help keep you and your loved ones safe.  David McNaughton, MD, a family medicine physician at Trinity Health Primary Care in Clarkston, offers these safety skin tips for those looking to spend extended time out in the sun.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water when you’re out in the sun and heat. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can dehydrate you so stick to water or Gatorade. Even pop or other soft drinks can increase dehydration. Aim to drink 16 ounces of water every 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Prioritize skincare. Use a water-resistant sunscreen that has an SPF 30 or above. Apply to all exposed skin before you go outside. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. Spray on sunscreen is easy to use but creams may last longer.
  • Wear protective clothing. Consider wearing a hat that covers your face and protective clothing for your body, such as long sleeves. This is even more effective than sunscreen.
David McNaughton, MD
  • Avoid overexposure. Limit direct sunlight by seeking shade when possible.
  • Watch out for cloudy skies. Even when it’s cloudy and the weather is hazy, your skin can be exposed to strong UV rays.  UV light can pass through clouds even when visible light doesn’t.

  • When to get help. Seek medical help onsite right away if you experience any heat-related symptoms, such as excessive sweating, facial flushing, muscle cramps or if you are feeling weak, dizzy, or confused.

If you have questions about skin conditions or an area of skin changing in color, size, or shape, reach out to your primary care provider for a skin check.

For more information about Trinity Health Michigan or to find a doctor near you, visit trinityhealthmichigan.org.

It’s Back-to-School Immunization Time

Are your kids up to date on their back-to-school shots?

Trinity Health knows that vaccinations are a big part of your back-to-school preparation. Do you know which shots your child’s school requires?

Check out this handy vaccination checklist for some commonly required shots:

Kindergarten:

  • Polio
  • Chickenpox
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis
  • Measles, mumps and rubella
  • Flu

Elementary School:

  • Flu

Middle School:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
  • Flu
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Human papillomavirus

High School:

  • Meningococcal disease
  • Flu
  • Serogroup B meningococcal infection

And don’t forget to check if COVID-19 vaccines are required for your child’s school. Don’t wait any longer, schedule your child’s immunization appointment near you.

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Our high-quality primary care doctors are ready to care for you. Schedule an appointment with one today.

Understanding Arthritis: Q/A with Dr. Bryan Pack

Bryan Pack, MD, is a board-certified Trinity Health IHA Medical Group orthopaedic surgeon performing surgeries at Trinity Health St. Mary Mercy Livonia and Trinity Health Medical Center – Schoolcraft (formerly the Livonia Medical Center). He earned his medical degree at Wayne State University and completed his orthopaedic surgery residency in Grand Rapids before a hip and knee fellowship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He spoke with Friday Musings about arthritis, how it develops and the available treatment options.

Q1: What exactly is arthritis and how does it develop?

Dr. Pack: Arthritis is a degenerative, progressive condition of the joint where the cartilage that coats the end of the bone begins to diminish. The stresses and changing of mechanics can cause inflammation in the joint.

There are several different ways it can develop. The most common way is through wear and tear – otherwise known as osteoarthritis – from daily activities such as walking, or more high-impact activities like running. Body weight, genetics, and even type of occupation can all contribute to this. Less commonly, rheumatoid type processes are where the immune system gets confused and essentially attacks the joints, leading to cartilage.

There is also traumatic arthritis, which is when a person suffers a major injury to the surrounding bone (fracture, severe bruise), ligaments (tear or rupture), or cartilage itself. The blood supply to the bone underneath the cartilage can then be compromised, which can cause the joint to collapse.

Q2: What are some symptoms of arthritis?

Dr. Pack: The most common symptoms are joint stiffness, activity-related pain, swelling and generalized soreness. You may notice an affected joint that is stiffer in the morning and loosens up with activity during the day, but is more painful or swollen at the end of the day. If activities you do on a regular basis start causing more pain in certain joints, you could have some form or arthritis. As it progresses, you will frequently lose range of motion and strength in the joint. In advanced cases, you may even start to see changes in the alignment of the joint.

Q3: What are some treatment options?

Dr. Pack: We initially highlight evidence-based non-operative treatments, which focuses on managing the stress and inflammation of the joint. Activity modification, such as transitioning from higher impact sports to low-impact activities, can make a difference. For instance, if you are an avid runner and feel excessive pain during or after every run, changing up your cardio routine and going for a bike ride instead can improve symptoms. Other activities like yoga or taking a swimming class are also good for arthritic joints. We frequently recommend appropriate physical therapy and dedicated exercises that emphasize strength and flexibility.

Medications like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain in the joint, as can cortisone and steroid injections. Even acetaminophen can help control pain in some people. If the arthritis and symptoms are severe enough, joint replacement surgery is an excellent and durable option.

Q4: What happens if you leave arthritis untreated?

Dr. Pack: All types of arthritis are progressive. Symptoms and pain can be managed to an extent, but no treatment, short of replacement, can stop it, and it doesn’t go away on its own. Typically, over time, the disease progresses to the point where you won’t be able to do the activities you are used to doing, and your quality of life will continue to diminish. You could also lose your mobility altogether; some people have come into my office in wheelchairs because they couldn’t move, which is frequently avoidable and unfortunately, far more difficult to treat. The earlier you get it checked out, the better.

Q5: What kind of services do you offer your patients?

Dr. Pack: We offer comprehensive musculoskeletal care, all in one building, and mostly on just one floor. We have fellowship-trained surgeons, podiatrists, non-operative orthopaedic sports and rheumatology physicians, as well as physical therapy, all under one roof. Our specialists emphasize shared decision-making, in which we empower our patients to make informed decisions that fit their needs and pathology. If surgery is appropriate, our experts utilize minimally invasive techniques – even for replacement – that offer faster recoveries, proven results and frequently home-same-day surgeries.

Our staff utilize state-of-the-art high-resolution imaging equipment, including digital automated X-rays systems which can reduce both the number of images we have to take and your radiation exposure as well. Since these are located a few steps from the exam and waiting rooms, you don’t have to go anywhere else before your evaluation. And if you need advanced imaging, brand new MRI and CT suites are located right on the first floor, along with a walk-in lab, urgent care, pharmacy, café catered by Schoolcraft College’s culinary program, and a beautiful new surgery center.

To make an appointment with Dr. Pack, call 866-678-4644.

Wish a Mile Cut Short by Tragedy

We are deeply saddened to share that a tragic accident took the lives of two cyclists and seriously injured three others during the Make-A-Wish® Michigan 35th Annual Wish-A-Mile® (WAM) Bicycle Tour. While all of our Team Trinity cyclists are safe, the accident has deeply affected everyone involved in the event.

Trinity Health President & CEO has been journaling throughout the ride and shared a final entry.

July 30

I expected to be sitting down tonight to write about the awesome a day we had on day two of the WAM – about the great weather, about the challenging 112-mile route and about us still needing to raise more funds for our wish kids. I had planned to show photos along the way and celebrate our team and our wish kids with you.

But this day took a very tragic and sad turn right before noon on a country road just north of Ionia when five WAM riders from the same team were hit by a car. Two of the riders were killed and one rider remains in a medically-induced coma and on life support. The other two riders were discharged from the hospital with minor injuries.

In the 35 years that this event has taken place, we have never had anything like this happen. We have had crashes between cyclists or some minor injuries but never anything like this. I was relieved that none of our Team Trinity riders were involved in the accident but my heart aches for the families of the victims.

When this happened, we were all in disbelief and shock. To now learn the driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated makes it even more painful. I have already imagined many what-ifs but it won’t change anything. Some wonderful people, who have hearts of gold and were riding 300 miles to raise money for wish kids, are gone due to a reckless person who made horrible choices today.  

We met with the WAM CEO and staff, spoke with the families and the team captains that have the ear of all the riders. We made a collective decision to cancel the third and last day of WAM (July 31).  This is out of respect for the families. Buses and vans will transport all the riders down to the Eaton Proving Grounds in the morning.  We will do a tribute ride of a couple miles around the Eaton Proving Grounds track, and then we will all leave quietly and avoid any of the celebratory events that mark the end of the WAM. 

This event raised almost $1.8 million through amazing support of friends like you and others who supported our rides. For this, I am so indebted to all of you. And those dollars will so go to wishes waiting right now. I want to thank all of you who supported Team Trinity. It meant the world to us.

God Bless,

Rob

Team Trinity Tackles ‘Hill Day’ in First Leg of Wish-a-Mile

Trinity Health is participating in the 35th annual Wish-a-Mile bicycle tour through Michigan. Our cyclists are pedaling 300 miles from Traverse City to the Eaton proving grounds over three days to support wishes granted to seriously ill children. Team Trinity For Make A Wish Michigan.

Trinity Health Michigan President and CEO Rob Casalou is blogging his experiences on the ride. Read on for the Day 1 entry –

Friday, July 29

Alarm clocks went off early this morning as all of us got ready for what is probably the most challenging of the three days of WAM.   The journey from Traverse City to Ferris State University in Big Rapids winds through many small towns many of us have not heard of before.  And this is our hill day with over 3,300ft of climbing along our 99 mile route today.  Team Trinity, after an early breakfast at the Traverse City East Middle School that served as our starting point, gathered at 6:15am for our traditional team picture.  Then we headed out on the route.

I always tell first time WAM riders not to judge the entire ride by the opening 10 miles of the first day.  It is essentially one long hill and serves to wake up the legs!  Unlike many past WAMS, we had an absolutely perfect weather morning with calm winds, cool temps and that weather continued to be perfect the entire day. That is, until the wind gusts slowed our ride in the afternoon (almost forgot to mention that).

We don’t all ride as a team because our riders have different capabilities and preferences for riding speed (as is the case of many WAM teams). I rode in a group of seven ride around the same speed (well, except me on the hills).  We were blessed that Ashley pulled for much of the day, which means she led our line so that we could draft off each other.  I was very grateful, for sure!

The Make-A-Wish team doesn’t miss a detail and provides us with an incredibly organized and supported ride. Multiple vehicles provide riders with protection and support, and there are numerous break stops along the route for riders to refresh and refuel.  We even had police officers on motorcycles riding with us and helping keeping us safe.  The WAM staff and volunteers are just incredible.  We were all humbled by their dedication.

Our team members finished at various times, from our quick Probility Physical Therapy team making quick work of the route to a few who came in the later afternoon.  The only WAM rule on timing is that we cannot start before 6 a.m. and we cannot end after 6 p.m.   I am happy to report that all Team Trinity riders were in well within the time limit!

After the ride, we headed to our hotels to clean up. We returned to Ferris State where they provided a wonderful dinner for us.  It was quite the combo with pasta for all of us who wanted a carb load for the next day’s ride. There was also a full turkey dinner complete with mashed potatoes and gravy. Of course, most of us tried everything! After dinner, we all headed back to our hotels to get ready for tomorrow and crash as early as possible.  The alarm is set for 4:30 a.m.

Donations continue to come in….thank you to all who have supported.  If you would like to support our team, or a rider on our team, go to wishamile.org and search for Team Trinity or any of us by name.

Thank you all for the support!  Have a great evening,

Rob

Team Trinity – Fundraising For Make A Wish Michigan (donordrive.com)

Team Trinity Embarks on 2022 Wish-A-Mile Bike Ride Across Michigan

Rob Casalou (left) and members of Team Trinity meet up on the eve of the 2022 Wish a Mile bike tour through Michigan.

At dawn this morning, 23 colleagues and friends of Trinity Health hit the road for the 35th annual Wish-a-Mile bicycle tour through Michigan. Our cyclists are pedaling 300 miles from Traverse City to the Eaton proving grounds over three days to support wishes granted to seriously ill children.

Organized by the Make a Wish Foundation of Michigan, Team Trinity has raised more than $108,091 for this ride so far, the second highest of all teams riding in this year’s edition of the Wish a Mile.

Team Trinity For Make A Wish Michigan

Team Trinity is led by Trinity Health Michigan President and CEO Rob Casalou, who is blogging his experiences on the ride. We are proud to share his entries with you daily:

(Thursday, July 28, 2022)

The last time that we all gathered for the Wish-A-Mile (WAM) Bike tour was three years ago this weekend.  Team Trinity has been a fixture in this challenging and amazing 3 day, 300 mile tour that raises funds for Make-A-Wish Michigan.  In fact, this is Team Trinity’s 10th year in WAM and I am so grateful for our team members and all the riders who raise funds and put their bikes and their butts on the road!  

The last three years has seen change, challenge, sadness, relief, anxiety and disagreement.  But one thing that WAM does is bring people together from all walks of life for the sole purpose of granting wishes.  And it a purpose that binds us together as we get on the road tomorrow.  For me personally, the last three years has also brought change and I am happy to share this WAM with my significant other, Ashley Sandborn.  As an active cyclist and Ironman triathlete, she is made for this tour.  And I have not been shy in telling her I will gladly draft off her for all 300 miles…lol

This year, we have 23 riders on Team Trinity including myself. They come from all over our health system and also include a few close friends. The 2022 Team Trinity riders are –

Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, PhD, MD
Robert Bunnell
Jamie Callison
Zach Carter
Tom Chouinard
Kris Colone
Dylan England
Kathleen England
Matt Griffin, MD
Jeff Hamilton
Patrick Hoban
Christian Hoban
Greg Hodder
Gregg Kopp
Michelle Gordon-LaForest
Brandon Lorenz
Dean Mengel
Russ Olmsted
Rob Pavlik
Dan Pheps
Ashley Sandborn
Jack Sylvestre

The team showed up at the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan this morning for check-in. It’s a 300-mile journey to the Proving Grounds in Brooklyn on Sunday so we come here, drop our cars, put our bikes on trucks provided by Meijer, and load onto buses for the drive to Traverse City.  It was so great to see everyone and the energy was palpable.   While some of us wish we were better trained for this WAM, there was nowhere else any of us wanted to be.

The bus ride up north is usually uneventful but this year had a slight twist. We had a very nice bus driver who was unfortunately directionally challenged. We ended up taking wrong exits and ending up in taking the scenic tour through Michigan. But we did make it safely to the Traverse City East Middle School where we would leave our bikes for the night and is our starting point for tomorrow morning. As we debarked from our buses, we went through the routine of gathering our bikes and setting them up for the night and morning, grabbing our bags and heading to shuttle buses that would take riders to nearby hotels. Several riders, including members of Team Trinity, choose to stay at the school either on air mattresses in the gym or in a tent they can pitch on school grounds.

By the time we arrived and settled in, it was already 7 p.m. so the rest of the evening was spent having a quick dinner and getting organized for the morning. The alarm goes off at 4:45 a.m. in our room (even earlier with some riders) so going to bed early is a must. And that is where I am heading now at 9:00. I will conclude by saying thank you to all from our Trinity Health family that supported our ride through donations. We could not have done this without you. Tomorrow’s weather forecast is awesome with low temps and even a little tailwind.  Please pray for the safety of all the riders who will be on the road tomorrow as we head to Ferris State University in Big Rapids. Goodnight.

Rob

Child Heatstroke: Keeping Your Kids Safe from Heat Injuries in Cars (Infographic)

Our little ones mean a lot to us and it’s tough to imagine forgetting them anywhere – but it happens. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the majority of child related hot car incidents happen because someone forgets a child in a car. Keep your children safe by:

  • Never leaving your child in a car, no matter what the weather is.
  • Teaching your children that cars are not play areas.
  • Placing a child’s item on the front seat and a personal item in the back seat.

When traveling with a child or infant, practice looking inside your car before locking it. Remember: Park. Look. Lock.

Find a Provider Near You.

We offer more ways to care for you, your family and our community. Whether you need routine care or treatment for an injury or chronic condition, our providers are here for you.

Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets

Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets

Author: Kim Friendly, Simply Plant Based Kitchen
This crispy and delicious recipe will make these tofu nuggets a regular part of your meal rotation.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Servings 4
Calories 75 kcal

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Ingredients
  

  • 14 ounces extra firm tofu drained & pressed for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos for gluten & soy free
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt optional
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder

Instructions
 

  • After you've drained & pressed your tofu, place on a cutting board & slice into 1" cubes.
  • Mix low sodium soy sauce & vegetable broth together in a small bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl, add all the dry ingredients & mix together (garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, black pepper, salt, & cornstarch).
  • Place cubes in a medium sized bowl & toss with the soy sauce mixture (or you can put in a ziplock bag to marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge for more flavor).
  • Coat the tofu with the dry spices and toss well. It's ok if you have broken pieces – they'll end up super crispy & tasty!
  • Place cubes in the basket of your air fryer (no need to spray with oil) in a single layer and leave a little space around each piece. (you may have to do separate batches depending on the size of your air fryer)
  • Set your air fryer to 400°. Cook for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to flip them/shake basket and repeat 2-3 more times until desired crispness. 10-15 minutes total.
  • Remove tofu & allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy as a snack, salad topper, or main dish! Serve plain or with sauce of choice. Great to dip in BBQ sauce!

Notes

Baking Instructions (if you don’t have an Air Fryer):
Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.  Spread cubes out in one layer on the baking sheet, with space between each piece.  Bake for 45 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes or until desired crispness.
Keyword air fryer, oil-free, plant-based, tofu, vegan

Reference: Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets (Vegan & Oil Free) recipe by Kim Friendly, Simply Plant-Based Kitchen

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Air Fryers: Are they for you?

These days, air fryers are all the rage. Air fryers are constantly popping up on social media, and everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. But are they truly healthy? Sophia Speroff, MPH, RD, Community Dietitian, Chelsea Hospital has the answer.

Air Frying vs. Traditional Frying

Using an air fryer is healthier than traditional frying. Air fryers use hot-air technology to cook food. Newer ovens that have a convection setting use a similar process: Fans blow hot air around the food. Air fryers produce a crispy exterior to the food, with little or no oil, making this frying method healthier than traditional frying.

If you use a deep fryer or pan to fry foods, you are bathing those foods in hot oil. Deep-fried foods are more flavorful, but they have more calories.

A Brief Word about Fats

Some fats are essential to give your body energy and support cell function. They help keep your body warm and produce important hormones. Fats also provide nutrients and protect your organs.

There are two major categories of fats: saturated (unhealthy) and unsaturated (healthy). Dieticians recommend getting 10 percent or less of your daily calories from saturated fats.

Why is frying unhealthy?

Fats are more energy-dense than carbohydrates and proteins. If you consume a lot of fat calories, you can gain weight and potentially become overweight — which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Foods that people deep fry absorb the saturated fats that are used when frying, making frying problematic for a person trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In the process of heating oil to a very high temperature when frying and grilling, carcinogens can result, which are then consumed with the fried foods. Do not eat any foods that blacken while frying or grilling. Chemicals that are thought to be probable human carcinogens are produced when food is blackened.

Features to Look for in an Air Fryer

If you still love and crave fried foods, there are ways to make it a little better for you – both for your health and your wallet. Consider how often you will use this countertop appliance, which is not limited to frying foods. For example, you can make hard-boiled eggs, bake salmon and other meats, prepare desserts, and reheat leftovers.

  • Consider the price of an air fryer before purchase. Prices can vary significantly.
  • If you have an instant pot, there is an accessory you can buy that air fries, so you wouldn’t have to purchase another kitchen appliance.
  • Review sites of air fryers say that consumers should consider the wattage needed.
  • If an air fryer has pre-settings and you plan to use the air fryer frequently, you may prefer a model with more settings.
  • Dishwasher-safe baskets are great for easy clean up.

Alternatives to Frying

There are several healthier alternatives to frying your foods.

  1. Sautéing: Preparing foods this way is significantly healthier than deep fat frying. Sautéing uses a very small amount of oil.
  2. Steaming and Boiling: Heating liquids to cook foods does not require the use of oils. From a nutrient standpoint, it better to steam than to boil.
  3. Roasting and Baking: Both methods of cooking are a great alternative, especially if you add seasonings to the foods you are making. If you are roasting a fatty food, such as beef, be sure to provide a way to catch the drippings so the food isn’t sitting in its own fat.
  4. Broiling: This method browns and crisps food at a high temperature for a short period of time. It is often used for a finishing or beginning touch, while the food is cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. Be aware that you can char food if you over broil, which then produces carcinogens.

Your takeaway? Using an air fryer is a healthier way to produce fried foods, but overall, it is healthier not to fry any foods.

Find a Provider Near You.

We offer more ways to care for you, your family and our community. Whether you need routine care or treatment for an injury or chronic condition, our providers are here for you.

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