Archive for the ‘Prairie Heart’ Category

Cardio MEMS

Congestive heart failure is one of the most prevalent conditions in clinical medicine. In fact, heart failure affects about 1.5 million Americans, with well over a half million new cases being diagnosed each year. It occurs when your heart muscle can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. Congestive heart failure often develops after other conditions, such as coronary artery disease, blocked arteries or high blood pressure have damaged or weakened your heart muscle. While congestive heart failure is a lifelong condition, the outlook is brighter than ever.

The Cardiac Management Center offers services, support and tools designed to help you manage your heart failure symptoms at home; a vital component of care that can dramatically decrease return visits to the emergency room or readmission to the hospital. One such tool is an innovative technology called the CardioMEMS™ HF system.

The CardioMEMS™ HF system is a tiny sensor that is implanted directly into your pulmonary artery in order to measure your pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate. Once implanted, the sensor will send this critical data back to your doctor wirelessly for continuous, real-time monitoring. The sensor doesn’t require batteries; there are no wires and it will not interfere with your daily activities or any other implanted devices.

The heart of the matter: The CardioMEMS™ HF system allows your doctor to access and use the sensor’s information to quickly make needed changes to your medications and even your diet before you feel any symptoms. This incredible system has been shown to reduce heart failure hospitalizations by 37%, all-cause 30-day readmissions by 58% and diastolic heart failure hospitalizations by 50%.

Ask your doctor if the CardioMEMS™ HF system may be able to help you live a longer, healthier life!

Prairie Goes Red for Women

Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare is the local 2017 sponsor of Go Red For Women, the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women.

Cardiovascular diseases in the U.S. kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.

Go Red For Women is a movement that starts with you. Lead by example and make the time to “Know Your Numbers.” It’s knowledge that could save your life.

Knowing the numbers can help women and their healthcare provider determine their risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. It’s time for all women to learn the most critical numbers in their life — their hearts depend on it.

Here’s how:


There are some you can control like blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol, lack of regular physical activity, and some you can’t control like age, gender, and family history.

That’s why it is important to Know Your Numbers, learn your Family History and discuss all risk factors with your healthcare provider.


The following numbers can change your life. Below are the ideal numbers for the general population.

  • Get your cholesterol checked. Talk to your doctor about your numbers and how they impact your overall risk.
  • Blood Pressureless than 120/80 mm/Hg
  • Blood Sugar less than or equal to 100mg/dL
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than or equal to 25kg/m2

Schedule a separate visit with your healthcare provider to learn these numbers and commit them to memory.

Work to improve your numbers, if necessary. If you are diagnosed with cardiovascular issues, the cardiovascular team at Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare is here to meet your needs.


1. Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 1 in 3 women each year.

2. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women, taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

3. More than one in three women is living with some form of cardiovascular disease. Among women age 20 and older:

  • About one third of non-Hispanic whites have CVD
  • Nearly half of non-Hispanic blacks have CVD
  • About one third of Hispanics have CVD

4. Almost half of cardiovascular related deaths are in females.

5. About 3.6 million stroke survivors alive today are women.

6. Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 people a year. That’s roughly 1 in every 20 deaths.

7. Less than 20% of women meet the Federal Physical Activity Guidelines.

8. Nearly 65% of women age 20 and older are overweight or obese.

  • About 60% are non-Hispanic whites
  • About 80% are non-Hispanic blacks
  • About 75% are Hispanics

9. About 45% of women in America age 20 or older have total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl or higher.

10. About 30% of women in American have high blood pressure.

11. Only 17% of women consider heart disease or stroke to be the greatest health problem facing Americans today.

  • African-American women are the least likely of women to consider heart disease or stroke to be the greatest health problem facing Americans today at 13%.
  • 15% of Hispanic women and 15% of Asian women consider heart disease or stroke to be the greatest health problem facing Americans today.
  • 18% of Caucasian women consider heart disease or stroke to be the greatest health problem facing Americans today.

Through the outreach and efforts of Go Red For Women, today about 293 fewer women in the U.S. die from heart disease and stroke each day.


This information was provided by the American Heart Association. For more information about the visit

Go Red For Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement is nationally sponsored by Macy’s, with additional support from our cause supporters.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm – The Ticking Time Bomb

What do Albert Einstein, Lucille Ball, Conway Twitty, and George C. Scott all have in common? They each died from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). An aneurysm is an enlargement of a blood vessel. The most common place for one to occur is in the abdominal aorta – the largest blood vessel in your body.

“Aortic aneurysm is a silent illness,” said Prairie Cardiologist, Dr. Raed Al-Dallow. Like a ticking time bomb, there are no symptoms until they rupture. According to Al-Dallow, its rupture is usually fatal.

AAA’s are twice as common in men as in women. Risk factors are having a first degree relative with an aneurysm, smoking, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, and chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease. If you are a man or woman who has had a coronary artery bypass operation and you continue to smoke, your chance of having an AAA is nearly 20%.

AAA’s are easily identified with a simple, noninvasive ultrasound. If identified early, aneurysms can be followed and treated with very little risk. A single screening ultrasound in high risk individuals has been shown to reduce the chance of dying from an aneurysm by 70%.

“If you are at risk, don’t wait,” urges Al-Dallow. “Screening is the best way to find out.” With some very specific criteria, you may be eligible for a Medicare screening abdominal ultrasound at no cost to you.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Preventative Screening

Are you:
  • A man age 65-75 years of age who has smoked 100 or more cigarettes in your life?
  • A man or woman with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms?

If the answer is “yes” you should request a FREE Medicare® abdominal ultrasound AAA screening from your physician. There is no time limit to obtain this exam and there is no Part B deductible or coinsurance/copayment applied to this benefit.

Test Performed at
Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center
618.549.0721 ext 65282

Learn from Gordon’s Story

See the Electrical Masters of the Heart

A little over a year ago, Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare developed a new cardiac electrophysiology (EP) program at Memorial Hospital. The service is for patients with pump issues causing diseases such as, atrial fibrillation (quivering disorganization of the heart rhythm), tachycardia (fast heart beat) and bradycardia (slow heart beat) among others.

The EP program has been most successful. To better serve patients, this year we’ve constructed a new dedicated laboratory for treating the electrical issues of the heart, particularly cardiac ablations and pacemaker implants.

We invite you to see inside this new EP lab in our virtual tour.

In the field of cardiology, we are often dealing with blood flow problems: a blockage in the heart, legs, abdominal arteries and so on–in the plumbing if you will. There are a variety of ways we open the blockage. But, sometimes, there’s an issue with the pump itself. That’s when you need to call in the electrician.

Dr. Daniel Correa de Sa, Prairie cardiac electrophysiologist or “electrician of the heart” said heart rhythms are very common and affect a fair amount of our population. Atrial fibrillation is particularly dangerous because it is the #1 cause of stroke.

The EP service adds a huge link in the cardiac continuum of care for southern Illinois. In fact, besides transplants, Prairie Heart Institute is capable of treating most any cardiovascular issue.

According to Jett Crouse, RN, RCIS in the EP lab, the rush comes knowing we are doing things for patients that we’ve always had to send out of the area for. “They are coming here and we are sending them home to live their lives more symptom-free,” said Crouse.

Could you be Eligible for a Free Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening?

An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is an enlarged area in the aorta, the major blood vessel that runs through the center of your chest and abdomen. AAA can be extremely dangerous, and if ruptured, can cause massive internal bleeding, resulting in death.

Often referred to as “the silent illness,” AAA usually comes without any warning signs. Screening is imperative in finding an AAA and treating it early.

Here’s the good news! You could be eligible for a free screening.

Are you:

  • A man age 65-75 years of age who has smoked 100 or more cigarettes in your life?
  • A man or woman with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should request your free AAA screening from your doctor. You are eligible for this free, one-time screening as part of your Welcome to Medicare physical.

An Ultrasound is the test used in screening for AAA.
If an aneurysm is found, it is then up to both you and your doctor to decide how to proceed. Some small aneurysms are non-life threatening and do not require immediate surgery, while others do require surgery to repair the area.

Are you at Risk?

Each year, around 200,000 people in the United States alone are diagnosed with AAA. Could you be at risk?

High blood pressure, family history, and a history of smoking increase your risk of developing an AAA. Men are also more prone to this disease than women.

Signs and Symptoms

Often silent, many AAAs show no signs or symptoms. However, if you have sudden, severe back pain or abdominal pain, these are most likely signs of a ruptured AAA and you should call 911 immediately.

What You Know About Carotid Artery Disease Could Save Your Life

Just like in your heart, blood vessels in the two carotid arteries in your neck can become narrowed by plaque buildup. Block the arteries to your heart, and you get a heart attack. Block the arteries to your brain, and you get a brain attack…aka stroke.

The trick is to catch it before something drastic occurs. Here are some tips:

Do what you can to lower the risk factors

These are actionable risk factors. You have the power to control them. They are the same as any vessel disease:

  • eat a low-fat, low-sodium diet
  • exercise daily
  • quit smoking
  • maintain a healthy level of cholesterol
  • maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • control diabetes

The following risk factors tend to work against us and unfortunately, we just can’t do anything about it:

  • age
  • family history
  • male/female

Pay close attention when your body tells you things

You are the best monitor when something isn’t right. Watch for signs of a TIA (or mini-stroke). During a TIA, a small piece of plaque has broken off and traveled to the brain. This is your body’s way of giving you a stern warning – and it could last only a few seconds – so pay attention.

  • Facial drooping
  • Arms or legs (on one side of the body) that are weak or numb
  • Slurred speech or trouble speaking sentences or words
  • Vision issues in one eye

These warning signs are nothing to take lightly. In fact, we recommend that if you have any of these symptoms, call 911 and get to the emergency room. Some 1/3 of patients having a TIA will have a stroke later, often within 30 days.

Share all of this with your physician

Approximately ½ of patients who have a TIA, don’t realize they had one. Listen to those around you. They may have noticed the changes in you. Don’t hide any of these details from your physician. What may seem insignificant could actually be a clue for your doctor to do a screening. Screenings are a great way to find out what is happening.

For Carotid Artery Disease, doctors examine you for a bruit (pronounced brew-ee). This simple screen involves a stethescope to listen to the arteries in the neck. According to Dr. Raed Al-Dallow, Prairie Cardiologist, “Imagine a hose. When the water runs through it, normally you can’t hear it. However, if there’s a kink in the hose, you often hear hissing. That is what we are listening for.”

Preventing any artery disease (carotid, Coronary, peripheral) is always the goal. Be the master at controlling the risk factors you can. Be sensitive to changes in your body. Keep your doctor informed. It could save your life.

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.

Don’t Let Heart Failure Manage You

Congestive heart failure is one of the most prevalent conditions in clinical medicine. If you have it, you know that with a weakened heart muscle, you may find yourself feeling short of breath, fatigued, feeling dizzy or having no appetite.

If not managed, you also may find yourself making trips to the emergency department with things like pneumonia, or other medical conditions.

Unfortunately, heart failure is a lifelong condition and without management it can be debilitating. The good news is that you don’t have to let it control your life. You can control it.

Enroll in Prairie Heart Institute’s Heart Failure University. This free half-day class will be offered at John A Logan College March 28. Call 866.744.2468 to register.

If you are a heart failure patient or a family member, you will learn the basics about heart failure, along with all the ways you can manage the condition. Instructors will teach you about the importance of the proper diet and the specifics on proper medication.

The class is taught by Prairie Cardiologist, Nabil Al-Sharif, MD and the coordinator of the Cardiac Management Center, Vicki Miller, RN, BSN.

In addition to gaining a more in depth understanding of the disease, according to Miller, Heart Failure University is like its own support group. “It’s a chance to talk with others who are coping with heart failure,” she said. Patients also enjoy having the attention of professionals to get all their questions answered. “It’s every opportunity for knowledge all rolled up into one.”

Congestive heart failure happens when the heart becomes so damaged that it just cannot pump blood the way it should anymore. “If you’ve suffered for a long time with heart disease, high blood pressure, arrhythmias etc, eventually it takes its toll on the heart,” said Al-Sharif.

By modifying your lifestyle and learning the particulars, you can self-manage the disease to allow for better quality of life.

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.”