Archive for the ‘Heart’ Category

Get Free From Smoking

  • Your blood pressure decreasing
  • Your pulse rate dropping
  • The body temperature in the feet and hands increasing
  • Smell and taste improving
  • Lung function increasing
  • Heart attack risk decreasing
  • Improved circulation
  • Less coughing
  • Less shortness of breath
  • Less sinus pain and congestion
  • Your risk of lung, mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder and kidneys decreasing
  • Your risk for ulcers decreasing

All of this, when you quit smoking.

Register now for Freedom From Smoking. This new American Lung Association, 7-week program is now offered at Herrin Hospital beginning May 29.
Call 618.942.2171 ext. 35394.

This program addresses the physical, mental and social aspects of nicotine addiction. Sixty percent of participants quit smoking by completing Freedom From Smoking in conjunction with smoking cessation medications. You’ll be six times more likely to be smoke-free after one year and be reaping the benefits above. The January class had 100% success rate in smoking cessation!

Most insurance plans cover this outpatient service. However, if you do not have insurance, please inquire about payment options. Call 618.942.2171 ext. 35394.

Free Cardiac Health Screenings from Prairie Heart Institute

Empower Yourself!

Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare, encourages our community to take an active part in their cardiovascular health. Step number one is to empower yourself with knowledge at the Prairie Power Check at SIH The Place, inside University Mall on Saturday, February 22nd, from 8AM until noon.

Who Should Get a Screening?

Females over age 45 and men over 35 years of age – or those with a family history of heart disease – are encouraged to get screened for cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose. Then meet one-on-one for a personal cardiac assessment to put you on the path to a healthier life.

You will also have an opportunity to take a walk through the mall with leading Prairie cardiology experts, who can share more insights on any heart topic.

For most accurate results, we ask that you fast for 9-12 hours (no food, liquids or pills) prior to the screening.

Take Control of your Heart Health

The Place (inside University Mall)
Saturday, Feb. 22nd, 8AM – noon

Join us at the Prairie Power Check for your answers. Registration is required. Space is limited for screenings. Please call 866.744.2468.

In addition to screenings, the Prairie Power Check features topics on all things related to heart and vascular issues:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep disorders
  • Rhythm disorders
  • Vascular Issues
  • Heart Failure
  • Chest Pain
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Weight loss
  • Depression

According to the Heart Foundation, “heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately one million lives, annually.”

Your genes, your lifestyle and what you eat all play a role in your cardiac health, but there is a comprehensive way to assess your risk for heart disease. While heredity and age are large contributors to heart disease, there are other risk factors that you have the power to change to improve your heart health, and we all could use answers.

Arden’s Lucky. How Meeting a New Friend Saved Her Foot.

For three and a half years Arden Brandhorst had suffered with sciatic nerve pain. Therefore, when she started having numbness and tingling in her right foot, it was a natural response to associate these symptoms with her previous sciatic nerve problem. However, the pain which began in her heel quickly became infected.

It was not until she went to a gathering at her son’s house that she realized the sore on her heel was more serious. “I met Ann Bivens for the first time at my son’s home,” Arden explains. “While chatting I apologized for wearing sandals in the middle of winter, and explained how I couldn’t wear regular shoes because of an open sore on my right foot.”

Arden later found out that Ann was the System Vascular Coordinator, Cardiovascular Services at Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH). Arden also mentioned to Ann that she was having pain in her right leg.“When I asked her if she had had any testing done or had seen a podiatrist she said no,” Ann explained. With Ann’s encouragement and assistance, Arden scheduled an appointment with Dr. Daniel Brown, a podiatrist with Southern Illinois Podiatry.

The Real Scare of Poor Blood Circulation

“As soon as Dr. Brown looked at my foot he said, Raynaud’s disease,” Arden says. Raynaud’s disease is a form of arterial spasms, which leads to arterial obstruction.

She really didn’t understand the severity of her condition until Dr. Brown referred to her case as emergent and called Dr. Al-Dallow, a board certified cardiologist with Prairie Vascular Services at SIH.

Within a few days, Arden was scheduled for a lower extremity angiogram. The test results indicated that in addition to Raynaud’s disease, Arden was experiencing poor blood circulation, due to the Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). The PAD caused the numbness and infection in her foot. Without treatment, she may face amputation down the road.

PAD occurs when plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs, causing them to narrow or become blocked. If severe enough, blocked blood flow can cause tissue damage. Left untreated, a foot or leg may need to be amputated.

“I just didn’t know”

Dr. Al-Dallow performed an endovascular procedure on Arden using two stents in the arteries that run from the right groin area to just below the right knee. The procedure reopened the arteries in her leg, increasing blood flow to her foot.

“Within days after my surgery my foot began to heal and the color came back,” she says. “It was just amazing how good it looked.” Arden hopes that sharing her experience will help others to be aware of the symptoms of PAD and get help earlier. When Dr. Brown made the comment that she should have seen him sooner, Arden’s reaction was, “I didn’t know, I just didn’t know.”

Today Arden enjoys hiking with her grandchildren, making nature books with them and attending their sports activities. She realizes how fortunate she is. “I am so happy I met Ann,” Arden says with a sigh. “If I had not seen Drs. Brown and Al-Dallow when I did, I may have lost my foot.”

PHI-SIH Vascular Symposium

Don’t miss the Premier Vascular Symposium, October 24 at John A Logan College from 8:30pm to 4:30pm.

Brought to you by Prairie Heart Institute-Southern Illinois Healthcare, this symposium will benefit physicians, internists, residents, fellows, allied health professionals and other ancillary professionals.

You will learn about diagnosis, management and treatment of different vascular diseases, such as carotid artery disease, peripheral artery disease and abdominal aortic aneurysms. The event includes two interactive panel discussions of case reviews.

Continuing Education Hours Available

You can earn 6.00 AMA PRA Category I Credit at this event. Please register by October 14.
Registration Form

For more information contact or call 618.549.0721 ext 65948.

Saline County Residents – Heart Care in Your Region has Just Improved

One of the missions of Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare is to bring expert heart care closer to your home. We’re already working with your local hospitals, Harrisburg Medical Center and Farrell Hospital, to expedite the treatment of severe heart attacks. Now we are taking on the issue of chest pain a step further.

Harrisburg Medical Center is now one of the first hospitals in the region to participate in the Prairie Chest Pain Network. Together, our goal is to significantly reduce the time it takes to diagnose any type of chest pain and deliver the appropriate care locally.

What are the benefits of the Prairie Chest Pain Network to the Patient?

  • Awareness of the importance of rapidly obtaining a diagnosis for chest pain
  • The confidence of knowing your community hospital Emergency Department is ready to provide a chest pain diagnosis
  • The knowledge your local physician will be consulting with a Prairie cardiologist on the final diagnosis of chest pain
  • Immediate access to Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare

What are the benefits to Harrisburg Medical Center?

  • Prairie Heart Institute developed protocols that address all aspects of emergent cardiac care including severe heart attacks, mild heart attacks, observation and inpatient care
  • Enhanced ability to keep appropriate patients locally and eliminate inappropriate transfers
  • An RN liaison from Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare to assist with initial and continued education for implementation of protocols
  • Assistance to provide community and professional education for your physicians and local EMS programs.

Cardiac Arrhythmia Services Now Available in Southern Illinois

Prairie Heart Institute Builds $9 Million EP Lab; Hires Electrophysiologist

Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare now offers an advanced Heart Rhythm Services program at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. Services commenced in July with the arrival of cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr. Daniel Correa de Sa.

The service will primarily benefit patients with irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, atrial fibrillation (AF) is by far the most common type of arrhythmia. As the population ages, the incidence and prevalence of AF rises significantly. Catheter or cardiac ablation has been suggested to improve quality of life in AF patients.

A new electrophysiology lab (EP lab) has been constructed to include state-of-the-art electrophysiology equipment to perform studies and the latest treatments for arrhythmias, called cardiac ablations. Supporting staff, including two X-ray technicians and a registered nurse have also been hired and are being sent to the University of Vermont for advanced training in electrophysiology procedures.

“I am excited to start a cardiac ablations program at the hospital that can significantly improve quality of life and increase survival rates,” Correa said.

Tony Capuano, system director of cardiovascular services at Southern Illinois Healthcare noted, “This is a significant addition to the cardiac service line. Prior to this, the options for patients with heart arrhythmias and conduction disorders was to be put on medication or drive three hours away to Prairie's campus in Springfield for treatment.”

What is a Cardiac Ablation?

The heart is like an electrical pump.

“Occasionally there is an electrical glitch in the top or bottom chambers of the heart and an abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia occurs,” Correa said. “A cardiac or catheter ablation is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that interrupts that short circuit and reestablishes normal heart rhythm. We look at what parts of the heart are misbehaving electrically and burn those parts of misbehaving tissue.”

In addition to this, ablation therapy can help control the heart rate in people with rapid arrhythmias and potentially reduce the risk of blood clots and strokes. Catheter ablations can also treat premature ventricular contractions (PVC’s) and ventricular tachycardias, in some instances, Correa noted.

What happens during a Cardiac Ablation?

During this 4 to 5 hour-long procedure, a catheter is inserted into a specific area of the heart. A special machine directs energy through the catheter to small areas of the heart muscle that causes the abnormal heart rhythm. This energy “disconnects” the source of the abnormal rhythm from the rest of the heart. It can also be used to disconnect the electrical pathway between the upper chambers (atria) and the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.

SIH Cares

“For SIH to understand the need for electrophysiology services in the region and support it is admirable,” Capuano said. “For a 150-bed hospital we’re demonstrating services a 500-bed hospital would provide. Cardiovascular services in Southern Illinois just became extremely comprehensive.”

Future plans include hiring one more electrophysiologist once Prairie Heart Institute/SIH establish themselves as an arrhythmia site.

For Appointments

Call Prairie Heart Institute at 618.529.4455 or visit


Cardiac Management Center Now Open

p>Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a disease that does more than costs lives. It also affects quality of life for millions of sufferers and is responsible for millions in medical care costs—especially charges related to hospital readmissions. Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare is working to provide CHF patients with long, productive lives while lowering readmissions and costs associated with the condition.

Nabil Al-Sharif, M.D. & Congestive Heart Failure

More about Nabil Al-Sharif, M.D.

Herrin Hospital Home to Cardiac Center

On February 25, 2013 a new Cardiac Management Center located at Herrin Hospital will be fully operational, and will feature a staff of providers including mid-level providers and specialty nurses who will follow up with recently-discharged CHF patients to answer questions, provide follow-up support and encouragement.

Prairie Cardiologist Dr. Nabil Al Sharif says that treatments for congestive heart failure nationwide total nearly $40 billion each year. He adds that 500,000 new heart failures will be diagnosed this year. Even in southern Illinois, the problem is significant. More than 2,500 patients were treated at Southern Illinois Healthcare facilities for heart failure in the last 11 months. Many of those patients made repeated visits to area hospitals.

Reducing Readmission Rates

“There are high readmission rates for CHF and we’re trying to prevent that,” Vicki Miller RN, who coordinates the Cardiac Management Center, says. “We’re working on the inpatient side to make sure we’re giving optimum care to our chest pain patients and then this new program will touch on all of the areas that tend to bring them back to the hospital.”

“This will be care after the care,” Miller explains. “It’s like a safety net dedicated to a population who we have found really needs some extra attention.”

Supporting Congestive Heart Failure Patients

“We’ll go over records, review their dietary and fluid restrictions with them and check on their medications,” Miller says. “We’ll look at their medication list to see if they understand and even if they were able to get their prescriptions filled. It’s all designed to keep them out of the hospital.”
Miller says the programs will involve family members and other support people, as well. For Al Sharif, the follow-up will be key to successful treatment of CHF.

Al Sharif says traditionally, 27 to 30 percent of CHF patients are readmitted to the hospital within a month. He hopes the efforts of the Cardiac Management Center will drastically reduce that number across all SIH hospitals.

“Half of them are readmitted because of non-compliance with medications or food,” he explains. “There are a lot of things we can do and it begins with educating people about what they can eat and what to avoid, how to take their medications and even making sure they are getting their medications and following up with their doctors.”

The center will be staffed by nurses and mid-level providers who will work with recently discharged CHF patients to make sure they are following prescribed protocols and getting both the medications and follow-up appointments necessary.

“We believe that by educating these patients and having follow-up with them, we can reduce readmissions by 50 percent,” Al Sharif says.

Hole in the Heart

For more than a year, patients requiring some very specialized treatment to close potentially dangerous holes in the heart have been able to receive that treatment in Southern Illinois with little travel, minimal disruption of their lives and great outcomes.

Doctors with Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants, using the catheterization laboratory at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, are repairing patent foramen ovales and atrial septal defects—the two conditions commonly known as a hole in the heart—with a procedure known as a percutaneous, or under the skin, closure. The process, in which surgeons insert a sheath into a vein in the patient’s groin to place the repair device in the heart, takes about 30 minutes. The device plugs the hole and lets patients return to their normal routine in about a day, minus most of the problems originally caused by the defect.

Interventional Cardiologist Prasanna Kumar, M.D.

More about Prasanna Kumar, M.D.

Getting Back to Normal–Fast

Unlike traditional open-heart surgery, recovery time for placement of the “patch” is minimal.

“Patients can get up after a few hours of bed rest and they’re back to their normal routine the next day,” Interventional Cardiologist Prasanna Kumar of Prairie Cardiovascular in Carbondale explains. “It is a very, very quick recovery time.”

A Condition that Often Goes Unnoticed

Kumar says that holes in the heart are very common—as many as one in four people have them—but the condition often goes unnoticed.

“If it doesn’t bother anyone, we don’t do anything, and often we don’t look for it unless a patient is having trouble,” Kumar explains. However, after patients complain of persistent migraine headaches or if they suffer otherwise unexplained strokes, cardiologists and neurologists often suspect the condition. “Especially when young people have strokes—what we call cryptogenic strokes—that don’t have a clear explanation as to what caused them, we begin to look for these sorts of causes,” Kumar says.

Advanced Heart Care Close to Home

While blood thinners and other medicines can be used to treat the condition, he says studies show the best option is to close the hole, something that can be successfully accomplished quickly and close to home.

“People no longer have to travel far for this kind of advanced care,” he says. “They can have great outcomes right here,” Kumar says.


World’s Smallest Heart Pump

The old cliché says that good things come in small packages. For patients undergoing cardiac procedures at Prairie Heart Institute at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, the adage is especially true.

Memorial is the only Illinois health care facility south of Interstate 64 using the Impella 2.5 cardiac assist device, informally known as the world’s smallest heart pump. Despite its tiny size, the pump is making a big difference in heart procedures for the area’s heart patients.

“In medical language we call it a hemodynamic support device,” explains Interventional Cardiologist Raed Al-Dallow of Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants in Carbondale. “What it is a small pump that helps the heart during the short periods of time where we need to support the patient’s heart’s ability to function.”

What makes this particular device different is its size—about as big as the little ball in a ball point pen—and the variety of procedures in which it can be used.

Using the Impella Heart Pump

More about Raed Al-Dallow, M.D.

“It can be a bridge to recovery, a bridge to a surgical procedure or a supportive device during a complex procedure,” Al-Dallow says.

For example, he says most often the pump is used when cardiologists are placing a cardiac stent. In these cases, the pump, encased in a long catheter, is temporarily inserted through an artery in the patient’s groin and guided to the aortic valve, where the pump temporarily takes over the heart’s job.

“While you place stents there are a few seconds where you stop the blood flow in the coronary arteries and if you don’t have this pump, then during that time the heart could be in trouble, but with it, we can perform the procedure safely.”

Saving Lives & Avoiding Open Heart Surgery

The doctor says the pump also can be a life-saver following major heart problems. He says the pump can be quickly placed in a patient’s heart in as little as five minutes and will efficiently pump while preparations for cardiac surgery take place.

Al-Dallow says the use of the world’s smallest heart pump has been a great addition to cardiac care at SIH. “Our ability to safely do complex treatments and potentially avoid open heart surgery is greater now,” he says. “This device has added another degree of success to our heart program.”

Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare