St. Joe’s Helps Keep Rod Jenkins Young at Heart

After receiving treatment from Michigan Heart Ann Arbor for his Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), in late 2020, Rod Jenkins is now back to fly fishing, hiking, biking and most importantly, being able to keep up with his two-year-old granddaughter.

“She’s a bundle of energy, but now I can be part of her life and it feels great,” said Rod. “I’m also able to explore new trout streams to try out this spring… For the first time in 15 years, I’m back up to speed and off all medications.”

Rod is certainly not alone in facing the challenges of AFib.

What is AFib?

AFib is the most common type of heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, impacting up to 6.1 million people in the United States. AFib is an electrical problem of the heart that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

When someone has AFib, the electrical signals in the top chambers of the heart (or atria) have become irregular which can lead to a faster heart rate in the bottom chambers of the heart (or ventricles). When the heart isn’t effectively pumping blood through the body, normal activity can become tiring, make breathing challenging, or potentially cause dizziness.

Risk Factors of AFib

Common risk factors for AFib include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, and heavy alcohol use. People can also develop AFib even if they don’t have any of these risk factors and lead a healthy lifestyle. This is why early treatment is the key to managing AFib. As an active, fitness enthusiast, Rod’s condition was unexpected, but he was fortunate to have a key ally in the team at Michigan Heart. They remained supportive through the years and kept pursuing new treatments that eventually resolved his AFib.

Rod’s path to recovery began in 2006 when he started experiencing classic AFib symptoms including being light-headed, shortness of breath and fatigue. Once diagnosed at Michigan Heart, he first attempted to manage his symptoms with medication and a common treatment that involved cauterizing or scarring the inside of the heart. This procedure sought to stop the electrical pulses that triggered his irregular heartbeat and caused many of the AFib symptoms he was experiencing.

That initial treatment did not deliver the desired result for Rod. He then turned to Jihn Han, MD and Robert Lyons, MD from Michigan Heart, who performed a hybrid convergent ablation procedure, an innovative, minimally invasive treatment that involves cauterizing both the inside and outside surfaces of the heart to halt uneven electrical pulses that were causing Rod’s AFib. Michigan Heart provided an additional tune up procedure to ensure Rod’s heart was performing perfectly.

“Over the past 15 years our ability to help patients with AFib has come a long way,” said Dr. Han. The development of procedures such as hybrid convergent ablation is a game changer.”

While medical progress and innovation continues to move forward, there is still no substitute for paying close attention to what your body is telling you and getting the necessary help as soon as an issue arises.

“The first line of defense against AFib is understanding the symptoms, but there are many people who don’t know the warning signs,” said Dr. Lyons. “That’s why it’s crucial to get regular check-ups to stop AFib before it stops you.”

The benefits of catching AFib early and getting effective treatment are life-changing.

“I’m so happy with the results and my quality of life right now and it’s all because of the Michigan Heart team at St. Joe’s,” said Rod. “I was being held hostage by AFib. I have my life back, which is wonderful!”

What causes AFib?

As people get older, their risk for AFib increases. Some people who lead a healthy lifestyle and don’t have any other medical conditions can still develop AFib. However, AFib has some common causes and risk factors. Such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart muscle problems
  • Heart valve problems
  • Lung disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Scarring of the atrium
  • Extreme physical stress
  • Genetics
  • Abnormal mineral levels
  • High thyroid levels/Overactive thyroid
  • Toxins – including alcohol and some drugs

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms tend to occur when the heart rate is too fast. A person may have no symptoms when the heart rate is normal. Although these symptoms may be uncomfortable and cause concern, they are not usually life threatening.

Only 60% of people with AFib have symptoms. The other 40% do not have symptoms.

Common Symptoms:

  • Irregular and fast heartbeats
  • Heart palpitations (a pounding feeling in your chest)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness or almost passing out

*If you think you may be experiencing a heart attack or medical emergency – call 911.

Ready to get back to your rhythm?

Schedule an appointment with one of our heart doctors today.

Delicious Appetizer, Healthy For Your Heart

Rainbow Frittata

Diabetic Living Magazine
This delicious frittata is loaded with heart-healthy, omega-3 enriched eggs and a medley of colorful vegetables. Start cooking the vegetables on the stove and finish them up in the oven with the egg mixture. To serve, top with avocado slices, grape tomatoes and a touch of sriracha.
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 219 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup 1/2 inch pieces sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup 1/2 inch pieces yellow sweet pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh broccoli
  • 8 omega-3 enriched eggs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil snipped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme snipped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 avocado halved, seeded, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 5 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes halved
  • Sriracha Sauce optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat an oven-going 10-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add sweet potato, sweet pepper and broccoli; cook and stir over medium 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, basil, thyme, salt and black pepper. Pour mixture over vegetables in skillet. Cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to set on bottom and around edges. Using a spatula, lift egg mixture so uncooked portion flows underneath.
  • Transfer skillet to oven; cook 5 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Remove from oven. Let stand 2 minutes. Top servings with avocado and tomatoes. Drizzle with sriracha.

Notes

Nutrition Facts

1/4 frittata (3/4 cup)
 
219 calories; protein 13.9g; carbohydrates 7.7g; dietary fiber 3.3g; sugars 2.2g; fat 15g; saturated fat 3.9g; cholesterol 372mg; vitamin a iu 2112.2IU; vitamin c 25mg; folate 90.8mcg; calcium 70.7mg; iron 2.2mg; magnesium 30.2mg; potassium 455.8mg; sodium 226mg.
2 lean protein, 1 1/2 vegetable, 1 fat
Keyword bone health, dairy free, gluten free, healthy aging, healthy immunity, low calorie, low carbohydrate, low sodium, nut free, soy free, vegetarian
Tempeh Tacos
A delicious and heart healthy meal for any day of the week.
Check out this recipe

Tempeh Tacos

Tempeh Tacos

A delicious and heart healthy meal for any day of the week.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 tacos

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes (with juice) or low sodium salsa
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 package tempeh, finely chopped
  • 8 soft corn tortillas (4 inch diameter)
  • Salt to taste (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Add one (1) tablespoon of water to a skillet and sauté pepper strips and diced onion until soft.
  • Then add diced tomatoes (with juice), cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and oregano.
  • Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add chopped tempeh and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until the tempeh has absorbed some of the sauce.
  • Serve over corn tortillas. Top with cilantro lime slaw or other toppings like jalapeno, low sodium hot sauce/salsa, lettuce, avocado slices (optional).

Notes

Chef’s Tip:  Use a food processor to easily chop the tempeh. Be sure not to overmix.
Keyword heart healthy, tacos, tempeh, vegetarian
Rainbow Frittata
This delicious frittata is loaded with heart-healthy, omega-3 enriched eggs and a medley of colorful vegetables. Start cooking the vegetables on the stove and finish them up in the oven with the egg mixture. To serve, top with avocado slices, grape tomatoes and a touch of sriracha.
Check out this recipe

Get Back to Your Rhythm: The Convergent Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of heart arrythmia or irregular heartbeat affecting 2.7 to 6.1 million people in the United States.

About AFib, Its Signs, and Symptoms

AFib is an electrical problem of the heart that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

When someone has AFib, the electrical signals in the top chambers of the heart (or atria) have become irregular which can lead to a faster heart rate in the bottom chambers of the heart (or ventricles). When the heart isn’t fully and effectively pumping blood through the body, normal activity can become tiring, make breathing challenging, or cause dizziness.

Common risk factors for AFib include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, and heavy alcohol use. People can develop AFib even if they don’t have any of these risk factors and lead a healthy lifestyle. This is why early treatment is the key to managing AFib.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of AFib. Watch our AFib video.

Treating AFib: The Convergent Procedure

Many treatment options exist for AFib including medications, medical procedures, or a combination of the two. For patients with persistent AFib that doesn’t respond to medical therapy or prior ablation attempts, a hybrid combined ablation, more commonly known as the Convergent Procedure, might be an option.

What is the Convergent Procedure?

It’s a staged procedure that combines minimally invasive surgery and catheter-based ablation. For this procedure, a cardiac surgeon and a cardiologist work side-by-side to create scar tissue within the heart. This scarring blocks abnormal electrical signals to restore a normal heart rhythm. The surgeon may also seal a part of the heart called the left atrial appendage which can lower your stroke risk.

What are the benefits of the Convergent procedure?

Many patients are able to reduce or eliminate the use of some medications, including anticoagulants after having the Convergent procedure. They are also significantly more likely to be in a normal heart rhythm long-term compared with catheter ablation alone.

Who qualifies?

This procedure is ideal for patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation who have failed prior ablation or medical management and it only requires a two-night stay in the hospital. If you’ve been diagnosed with AFib talk to your doctor to see if Convergent is a treatment option for you.

*If you think you may be experiencing a heart attack or medical emergency – call 911.

Ready to get back to your rhythm?

Schedule an appointment with one of our heart doctors today.

Be Passionate About Your Community

Renee and Ed Chodkowski are avid supporters of St. Joseph Mercy Livingston and Local Care.

Message from Renee:

Ed and I always feel excited to support St. Joseph Mercy Livingston and Brighton. Community support of local businesses – in this case, local WORLD CLASS health care – is one of my passions as a citizen and as “The Great Foodini*.” I have a story, and this is why I am so committed to St. Joe’s and their remarkable Transformation project right here in Livingston County.

My story….my dad died at 45 from heart disease. His dad died at 42 from heart disease. His brother and sister barely made it to 60. Heart disease. My mom died of lung cancer at 52. My goal is to live 25 out of my 24 hours every day.

When we were working as a family to get care for my dad, we found ourselves traveling two and three states away for meetings, surgeries, consultations and treatments. It was a logistical nightmare and financially impossible to get what was considered the best care. It was never spoken aloud, but I know that weighed heavily on my dad and I believe he would have been with us longer had great health care been local.

My mom’s story is similar – her best treatment was a thousand miles away, next best was 50 miles away, but between Michigan winters, serious commuter traffic, parking nightmares and waiting, a half hour treatment was a full day’s work. It exhausted her and she ultimately declined treatment. I believe she would have been with us longer had great health care been local.

There are two takeaways from my story.  One is how important local care is, and St. Joe’s has demonstrated unwavering commitment to Livingston County. Second, education is key to prevention with so many illnesses. St. Joe’s has so many health education, screening, diagnostic, prevention and health management programs available – right here in Livingston County. You should see their new healthy education kitchen! (See article below). Foodini was excited! This is part of the ongoing Transformation project.

“St. Joe’s and the patients we serve benefit greatly from passionate support like the Chodkowskis give.  We are so grateful to have them as partners,” said John O’Malley, president, St. Joseph Mercy Livingston.  “As donors and volunteer leaders, Ed and Renee help ensure our community has high quality, high value, compassionate and local care.”  

Renee (*aka The Great Foodini) believes anyone can learn to prepare healthy, delicious meals.  She teaches and presents both home cooking and worksite wellness programs for all ages and groups sizes but her favorite is her home base demonstration kitchen at Cleary University in Howell.  She is regular on Livingston County’s 93.5 WHMI FM; has achieved national acclaim on FOX’s reality series “MasterChef,” was recognized in the “Pie of Emeril’s Eye” Contest on ABC’s “Good Morning America;” and was selected by Red Gold Tomatoes as one of the top seven food writers/bloggers in the U.S.  Renee is a tireless volunteer leader in support of farm-to-table cooking, good nutrition for all ages, fighting hunger and making nutrition a part of healthy living. 

Outside the kitchen, Renee and Ed have been married for over 38 years, and have lived in Livingston County for 40 years.  They raised their children here, who are both graduates from Howell High School, and were born at St. Joe’s (when it was still named McPherson Hospital).   As part of a healthy-lifestyle, Renee and Ed enjoy playing tennis, traveling, scuba diving, and golfing, and of course eating the healthy meals Renee prepares.

Ed and Renee are champions for St. Joe’s, including serving as co-chairs for the 2019 Livingston Ball last April.  The couple is most passionate about partnering with St. Joe’s on local care, prevention and treatment through healthy eating, and making a lasting impact on the community.

First Intensive Heart Health Rehab Program in Livingston County

Your investment in St. Joseph Mercy Livingston is an investment in innovative, evidence-based, local health care.  In November 2018, we opened the county’s first intensive heart health rehab program, Pritikin ICR™ (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation). 

“The Pritikin program has proven to be very successful for patients at high risk for a cardiovascular event, and we are thrilled to offer this program to Livingston County to improve the health and wellness of our local community,” said John O’ Malley, president of St. Joseph Mercy Livingston. “This is one example of our commitment to transforming care.”

Numerous studies have documented the Pritikin program’s ability to lower blood cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure and blood sugar control and reduce other lifestyle-related risk factors.

Patients benefit from Pritiken’s three-pronged approach that focuses on: healthy eating, healthy mindset and exercise. 

At St. Joe’s Livingston, exercise physiologists facilitate individual and group workshops, yoga therapists lead our mind body workshops and yoga classes, the program includes personalized counseling and coaching, and nutritionists lead classes in meal planning, supermarket shopping and cooking – all in a renovated space including a gym, classrooms and demonstration kitchen.  Patients learn skills they can use in every-day life to improve their health.  Cardiac rehab can reduce the risk of dying or having another heart attack by as much as 30 to 50 percent, according to the American College of Cardiology. 

For more information, please call St. Joe’s Cardiac Rehab at 517-545-6385. 

To make a gift in support of innovative, quality, local care today, visit:
giving.stjoeshealth.org/livingston

Or, contact the Office of Development:

Tina Casoli, Director of Major Gifts
517-545-5156 or
tina.casoli@stjoeshealth.org

Lindsay Debolski, Gift Officer
517) 545-5151 or
Lindsay.Debolski@stjoeshealth.org

(Source: Gift of Health Fall 2019)

Know Your Risk for Disease

Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide? Stroke follows second. Even these conditions do not result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. Know the risks and reduce your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

Risks factors include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • physical inactivity
  • Obesity/being overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Stress (leads to poor lifestyle choices)
  • Alcohol (raises blood pressure and triglycerides)
  • Diet and nutrition (affects cholesterol, blood pressure and obesity)

What is PAD?

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a serious condition that causes arteries in the legs to become narrowed by plaque. When arteries are clogged, blood flow to the legs and feet is reduced, causing pain and making it difficult to walk.

Symptoms of PAD include muscle pain or cramping in legs after activity, wounds on the legs or feet that are slow to heal, changes in your skin color or temperature of your feet and legs and odd growth changes in your toe nails.

Your risk for developing PAD is increased if you have history of smoking or other health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or obesity. Your age or family history may also be a factor.

There are new, minimally invasive ways for trained cardiologists to help open arteries, reduce symptoms and ensure quality of life is improved. If you’re concerned you’re at risk, talk to your doctor to learn what you can do to lower your risk for disease.

Understanding Your Heart’s Function

Understanding how the heart functions may help you feel more in control of managing your behaviors. The information offered is from the American Heart Association:

valves.jpg

Tricuspid Valve

  • Closes off the upper right chamber (or atrium) that holds blood coming in from the body.
  • Opens to allow blood to flow from the top right chamber to the lower right chamber (or from right atrium to right ventricle).
  • Prevents the back flow of blood from the ventricle to the atrium when blood is pumped out of the ventricle.

Pulmonary Valve (or Pulmonic Valve)

  • Closes off the lower right chamber (or right ventricle).
  • Opens to allow blood to be pumped from the heart to the lungs (through the pulmonary artery) where it will receive oxygen.

Mitral Valve

  • Closes off the upper left chamber (or left atrium) collecting the oxygen-rich blood coming in from the lungs.
  • Opens to allow blood to pass from the upper left side to the lower left side (or from the left atrium to the left ventricle).

Aortic Valve

  • Closes off the lower left chamber that holds the oxygen-rich blood before it is pumped out to the body.
  • Opens to allow blood to leave the heart (from the left ventricle to the aorta and on to the body).

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.  During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly — out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart.

Atrial fibrillation symptoms often include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness. Episodes of atrial fibrillation can come and go, or you may develop atrial fibrillation that doesn’t go away and may require treatment. Although atrial fibrillation isn’t usually life-threatening, it is a serious medical condition that sometimes requires emergency treatment.

CardiAMP® Clinical Trial Could Restore Hope for Heart Failure Patients

Ypsilanti resident is first to be admitted to innovative stem cell trial at St. Joe’s

Retired pharmacist Sam Othman knew he was only stalling the inevitable with the multiple medications he was taking for his heart failure. Diagnosed with heart failure six years ago, the 65-year-old Ypsilanti resident knew there must be something else out there to help restore his health.

“Things had been going slowly, slowly for the worst,” Sam said.

Always inquisitive about new and alternative therapies, Sam began to investigate stem cell treatment as a possible option. He felt the theory – relying on stem cells to generate healthy heart tissue – made sense.

Out of curiosity, Sam searched the web and made a serendipitous discovery that St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was accepting patients in the Phase III CardiAMP® clinical trial.

The investigational study takes a personalized and minimally invasive approach using a patient’s own bone marrow cells in the treatment of ischemic heart failure that develops after a heart attack, and is designed to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.

“On a whim, I thought somewhere close, someone is doing clinical trials with stem cells,” Sam said.

Sam reached out to St. Joe’s, and after a series of screenings, he became the first patient in the CardiAMP® trial at this site and in the state of Michigan. Continue reading “CardiAMP® Clinical Trial Could Restore Hope for Heart Failure Patients”

%d bloggers like this: