For many years, doctors have known that screening for certain cancers saves lives. Breast cancer and prostate cancer are two examples. Now you can add lung cancer to that list. The National Lung Screening Trial results show screening people at high risk of lung cancer with CT scans lives. To learn more, visit http://mayocl.in/2xJdaq0
Forty years ago Army Staff Sgt. Walt Myers was exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange in Vietnam. Now he suffers profound muscle weakness in his legs. He was facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But thanks to a special knee brace developed at Mayo Clinic, Myers is walking tall.
Learn more about the new Mayo Clinic W. Hall Wendel Jr. Musculoskeletal Center by clicking here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/musculoskeletal-center-rst/
A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer can be devastating news. It is often very aggressive and tough to treat. But research offers great hope for patients in terms of early diagnosis and better treatments. Here’s the story of one woman, a patient at Mayo Clinic, who is winning her battle with pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Victor Montori, Lead Investigator from the Knowledge and Encounter Research Unit at Mayo Clinic, explores patient compliance issues at Transform 2009, a symposium sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation. For more information, go to http://www.mayo.edu/transform
Mayo Clinic cardiologist Fred Kusumoto, M.D., discusses cryoablation for treatment of atrial arrhythmia. To learn more or to request an appointment, please visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atrial-fibrillation/home/ovc-20164923?mc_id=global&utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=sm&utm_content=dysrhythmiaheart&utm_campaign=mayoclinic&geo=global&placementsite=enterprise&cauid=103944. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rate that can increase the risk of other heart-related complications. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Atrial fibrillation also increased the risk of stroke. A new treatment used at Mayo Clinic called cryoablation can aid in the treatment of atrial fibrillation. During the procedure a catheter is inserted into the area of the heart with the arrhythmia and a balloon is deployed freezing the area causing the atrial fibrillation.
Al Errato tells the story of his wife Mary’s treatment at Mayo Clinic for complications from an amputation she had at another medical facility, and his perspective on what makes Mayo Clinic unique.
Samuel Asirvatham, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, discusses various treatment options for atrial fibrillation, including atrial fibrillation ablation.
Don’t worry — you’re just tired and out of sorts after having your baby. But the chest pain experienced by the woman you’re about to meet was much more than a difficult recovery. She had a heart attack when a rare and deadly condition stopped blood flow to her heart. The same thing happened to another woman. After sharing their stories on social networking sites they found more women with the same problem. That’s when they contacted Mayo Clinic to convince cardiologists to use the information they gathered on the internet to research this condition.
A spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) (occasionally coronary artery dissection)
is a rare, sometimes fatal traumatic condition, with eighty percent of cases affecting women. One of the coronary arteries develops a tear, causing blood to flow between the layers which forces them apart. Studies of the disease place the mortality rate at around 70%.
SCAD is a primary cause of myocardial infarction (MI) in young, fit, healthy women (and some men) with no obvious risk factors. These can often occur during late pregnancy, postpartum and peri-menopausal periods.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms are often very similar to those of myocardial infarction (heart attack), with the most common being persistent chest pain.
There is evidence to suggest that a major cause of spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is related to female hormone levels, as most cases appear to arise in pre-menopausal women, although there is evidence that the condition can have various triggers. Other underlying conditions such as hypertension, recent delivery of a baby, fibromuscular dysplasia and connective-tissue disorders (e.g., Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) may occasionally result in SCAD. There is also a possibility that vigorous exercise can be a trigger. However, many cases have no obvious cause.
Coronary artery dissection results from a tear in the inner layer of the artery, the tunica intima. This allows blood to penetrate and cause an intramural hematoma in the central layer, the tunica media, and a restriction in the size of the lumen, resulting in reduced blood flow which in turn causes myocardial infarction and can later cause sudden cardiac death.
A selective coronary angiogram is the most common method to diagnose the condition, although it is sometimes not recognised until after death.Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is also used as it is able to more easily differentiate the condition from atherosclerotic disease.
Treatment is varied depending upon the nature of the case. In asymptomatic and hemodynamically stable patients it may be appropriate to maintain a conservative strategy, especially if coronarography demonstrates adequate coronary flow: in this situation spontaneous healing is usually the most probable evolution. In severe cases, coronary artery bypass surgery is performed to redirect blood flow around the affected area. Drug-eluting stents and thrombolytic drug therapy are less invasive options for less severe cases. However PCI for spontaneous coronary artery dissection is associated with high rates of technical failure, so in many case a strategy of conservative management may be preferable.
The condition is often fatal and is mostly recognized at postmortem examination in young victims of sudden death.
The prevalence of spontaneous coronary dissection varies from about 1% to 4% of all coronarography. About eighty percent of cases are in women, with an average age of around 40.
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) was first described in the year 1931, at postmortem examination, in a 42 year old woman.
Wheat is the grain on which Western civilization was built. It’s been used for thousands of years as the foundation of our diet. But 1 out of 100 Americans has a condition called celiac disease, which is an intolerance to wheat, barley and rye. Its symptoms can be subtle, but if you don’t stick to a gluten-free diet you could be damaging your body and not even know it. More from Mayo Clinic.
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a bacterium known as legionella.
You can’t catch legionnaires’ disease from person-to-person contact. Instead, most people get legionnaires’ disease from inhaling the bacteria. Older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to legionnaires’ disease.
The legionella bacterium also causes Pontiac fever, a milder illness resembling the flu. Separately or together, the two illnesses are sometimes called legionellosis. Pontiac fever usually clears on its own, but untreated legionnaires’ disease can be fatal. Although prompt treatment with antibiotics usually cures legionnaires’ disease, some people continue to experience problems after treatment.
Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to legionella bacteria. It frequently begins with the following signs and symptoms:
- Muscle pain
- Fever that may be 104 F (40 C) or higher
By the second or third day, you’ll develop other signs and symptoms that may include:
- Cough, which may bring up mucus and sometimes blood
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Confusion or other mental changes
Although legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and in other parts of the body, including the heart.
A mild form of legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — may produce signs and symptoms including a fever, chills, headache and muscle aches. Pontiac fever doesn’t infect your lungs, and symptoms usually clear within two to five days.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you think you’ve been exposed to legionella bacteria. Diagnosing and treating legionnaires’ disease as soon as possible can help shorten the recovery period and prevent serious complications. For people at high risk, prompt treatment is critical.
The bacterium Legionella pneumophila is responsible for most cases of legionnaires’ disease. Outdoors, legionella bacteria survive in soil and water, but rarely cause infections. Indoors, though, legionella bacteria can multiply in all kinds of water systems — hot tubs, air conditioners and mist sprayers in grocery store produce departments.
Although it’s possible to contract legionnaires’ disease from home plumbing systems, most outbreaks have occurred in large buildings, perhaps because complex systems allow the bacteria to grow and spread more easily.
How the infection spreads
Most people become infected when they inhale microscopic water droplets containing legionella bacteria. This might be the spray from a shower, faucet or whirlpool, or water dispersed through the ventilation system in a large building. Outbreaks have been linked to a range of sources, including:
- Hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships
- Grocery store mist machines
- Cooling towers in air conditioning systems
- Decorative fountains
- Swimming pools
- Physical therapy equipment
- Water systems in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes
Although legionella bacteria primarily spread through aerosolized water droplets, the infection can be transmitted in other ways, including:
- Aspiration. This occurs when liquids accidentally enter your lungs, usually because you cough or choke while drinking. If you aspirate water containing legionella bacteria, you may develop legionnaires’ disease.
- Soil. A few people have contracted legionnaires’ disease after working in the garden or using contaminated potting soil.
Not everyone exposed to legionella bacteria becomes sick. You’re more likely to develop the infection if you:
- Smoke. Smoking damages the lungs, making you more susceptible to all types of lung infections.
- Have a weakened immune system as a result of HIV/AIDS or certain medications, especially corticosteroids and drugs taken to prevent organ rejection after a transplant.
- Have a chronic lung disease such as emphysema or another serious condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or cancer.
- Are 50 years of age or older.
Legionnaires’ disease is a sporadic and local problem in hospitals and nursing homes, where germs may spread easily and people are vulnerable to infection.
Legionnaires’ disease can lead to a number of life-threatening complications, including:
- Respiratory failure. This occurs when the lungs are no longer able to provide the body with enough oxygen or can’t remove enough carbon dioxide from the blood.
- Septic shock. This occurs when a severe, sudden drop in blood pressure reduces blood flow to vital organs, especially to the kidneys and brain. The heart tries to compensate by increasing the volume of blood pumped, but the extra workload eventually weakens the heart and reduces blood flow even further.
- Acute kidney failure. This is the sudden loss of your kidneys’ ability to perform their main function — filtering waste material from your blood. When your kidneys fail, dangerous levels of fluid and waste accumulate in your body.
When not treated effectively and promptly, legionnaires’ disease may be fatal, especially if your immune system is weakened by disease or medications.
Outbreaks of legionnaires’ disease are preventable, but prevention requires meticulous cleaning and disinfection of water systems, pools and spas.
Avoiding smoking is the single most important thing you can do to lower your risk of infection. Smoking increases the chances that you’ll develop legionnaires’ disease if you’re exposed to legionella bacteria.