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10 Things Every Heart Failure Patient Should Know

“Be aware of your condition- ask questions about your heart and your medication and know what you can do at home to help yourself the most. Learning about how your lifestyle affects how you feel will make it easier to make healthy choices.” Kristen Schloemann, PA-C, Prairie Cardiovascular

1. The symptoms of heart failure

  • weight gain
  • shortness of breath/li>
  • bloating
  • swelling in feet and legs
  • fatigue
  • muscle weakness
  • coughing, frothing sputum

2. Weigh daily in the morning after urinating and before eating or drinking. Notify your doctor if you notice a gain of two or three pounds in 24 hours, or five pounds in a week.

3. Take all your medications and do not stop any unless you consult your doctor.

4. Fluid intake should be no less than 48 ounces a day and no more than 64 ounces a day.

5. Sodium causes your body to hold extra fluid. The more fluid, the harder the heart has to work. Limit the sodium in your diet to no more than 1500 mg daily.

6. With the 1500 mg limitation, learning to read the nutrition labels is an essential part of managing heart failure. Watch the milligrams of salt in each service size.

7. Salt has 2400 mg of sodium in a single teaspoon.

8. All food has sodium in it. In fact, there are even some hidden salts in the form of things like MSG (often in Asian food) or baking soda. Do not add any salt to your food.

9. Even if you can only do a small amount, exercise will help you have more energy and manage your weight and your stress. We recommend at least 30 minutes a day or your doctor can suggest a safe level of exercise based on your condition and the stage of your disease.

10. You can learn more tips and get low-sodium recipes at the Prairie Heart Institute’s Heart Failure Support Group on the 2nd Thursday of the month. Open to you and your family at the Cardiac Management Center located in the lower level of the Herrin Medical Arts Building.

Upper Endoscopic Ultrasonography

Gastroenterologist, Melissa Martinez, MD, has recently returned from Canada where she completed Upper Endoscopic Ultrasonography (EUS) training.

EUS is a procedure that uses an endoscope that has an attached ultrasound probe in the tip; this allows the physician to examine the wall of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, as well as other areas that are near these structures, including the mediastinum, lymph nodes, liver, gallbladder, adrenal glands and pancreas.

EUS is used to diagnose certain conditions that may cause abdominal pain, abnormal weight loss, recurrent pancreatitis, especially when other imaging modalities have been negative. EUS can be very useful in the diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis, gallbladder sludge, bile duct stones, staging or follow up of tumors of the pancreas, diagnosis of lumps or bumps in the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. EUS can also be used to treat chronic pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.

With this additional EUS training Dr. Martinez has received, patients of southern Illinois can now have this test done locally. For more information on EUS, email

New Nursing Opportunities at SIH

Please help us spread the word!

Southern Illinois Healthcare is actively recruiting 75 registered nurses (RNs) for a variety of openings across our system.

Over half of these jobs are due to recent and ongoing surgical expansion projects at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and Herrin Hospital, and new beds in intensive care and progressive care units.

With the addition of our new hybrid operating room at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and our successful physician recruitment effort, SIH offers depth and breadth in a variety of nursing opportunities.

SIH offers:
• A competitive benefits package
• Tuition reimbursement
• Loan forgiveness
• Flex scheduling

Learn more about nursing positions at SIH, visit

Woman credits Herrin Hospital staff with saving her life

In September of 2014 Eugenia was overweight, suffered from asthma and had chronic sinus infections. She wasn’t feeling well when she woke up one morning, but attributed it to a sinus infection. “I got up and just didn’t feel good,” said Eugenia. “I had been on steroids and antibiotics – my head felt heavy. I remember talking to my little dog and saying, ‘Mama needs to call the doctor.’”

She made an appointment with her local physician then drove herself to the office. “I was so sick I honestly thought I was going to die. I prayed the whole drive. By the time I got there I couldn’t get out of the car,” she said. “I looked over and there was a man sitting in the car next to me. I motioned for him to help me.” Once inside Eugenia was immediately taken by ambulance to Herrin Hospital.

Eugenia was unaware she was a diabetic

A blood sugar level of 1013 got her admitted to the intensive care unit for a five day stay. “The doctors and nurses were wonderful to me,” said Eugenia. “I wish I could remember their names so I could thank them.” Eugenia was educated on how to test her blood sugar level and how to give herself insulin. “I didn’t do too well with the needle, so I used the pin.” At one point she was sticking herself eight times a day; four to check her levels and four for shots.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives.
Some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

Common symptoms of diabetes:
  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Eugenia said the education she received at Herrin Hospital regarding her diet has played a major role in her return to good health.
“Before I really didn’t watch anything I ate. I just ate whatever I wanted. It took me a while to really get serious. I had to teach myself to live again,” she said.

Eugenia and her late husband, David, operated a farm near the Olney, Illinois area. “He was a big man, and I did a lot of cooking,” said the 73-year-old. Now 50 pounds lighter, she has learned how to prepare her meals to be healthy and she also documents her blood sugar readings in a journal daily. “Today it is 82,” she said with a smile.

“I have a new lease on life”

Since taking charge of her health by losing weight and walking when she’s able, Eugenia is no longer on any insulin medication.
“I used the money I was spending on medication to buy a new car,” she laughed. Eugenia now prepares most of her meals at home, but does treat herself to an occasional piece of Russell Stover sugar free candy or Cracker Barrel sugar free syrup. Since her life style change Eugenia has had less asthma attacks, urinary tract and bladder infections.

“There was no family history of diabetes in my family. Now I tell everyone I can to watch what they eat and to get tested,” she said.
Eugenia keeps all the learning materials she received from the hospital on the refrigerator to remind her to take care of herself. “I have a new lease on life.”

5 Advantages to the new Hybrid Operating Room

The current expansion at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale features a revolutionary trend in surgical services, the hybrid operating room. Here are five reasons why it’s so monumental.

1. Patient safety. Because everything happens in one room, any complications or emergencies can be handled immediately and in one spot without causing further complications or putting the patient at risk.

2. Cost saving for the patient. Your condition may require multiple procedures. The hybrid OR allows us to treat multiple issues in one room. Fewer individual trips for procedures means more efficiency and less cost.

3. State-of-the-art imaging during surgery. The room features some of the best angiographic capabilities, including a robotic X-ray arm and fluoroscopy (real-time imaging). Typically this technology is available in the Imaging Department of a hospital or in the Catheterization Lab, but not in the OR. For the first time surgeons can make real-time assessments during procedures using instantaneous images. Surgeons can then immediately follow a diagnostic procedure with a therapeutic one.

4. It allows us to do more complex procedures. Advancing healthcare in southern Illinois starts with physicians with skilled, diverse backgrounds. Once in place and given the right environment in a hybrid OR, advanced procedures, such as complex cardiovascular repair, can happen. Here are just a few:

  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
  • Endovascular thoracic aortic repair (TEVAR)
  • Combined angioplasty/stent with structural heart intervention
  • Endovascular abdominal/thoracic aortic repair (EVAR)

5. Physicians with different skills can work simultaneously. Every case is different. If you have multiple conditions, you want the comfort of a team approach to your care. The hybrid allows physicians of different specialties to work together at the table.

Screening Mammography Recommendations

With the changes and differing views on how often screening mammography should be performed what you need to know is that mammography screening is no longer a cookie cutter approach, but it’s still affordable and there have been no changes in insurance coverage.

The Coverage: In December, congressional passage of a new bill, the Consolidate Care Act of 2015, ensured women’s coverage for mammography will remain the same through 2017. Women 40 years and older enrolled in most insurance plans will continue to be covered every one to two years without copays, coinsurance or deductibles. Click here for the full story according to the US Department of Health & Human Services.

The Changes: While several professional associations still recommend screening mammography for all women beginning at age 40, the American Cancer Society recently updated their screening recommendations. The new recommendations encourage women to make an informed choice, and are as follows:

  • Women should be able to start the screening as early as age 40, if they want to and continue to have annual mammography based on their level of comfort. It’s a good idea to start talking to your health care provider at age 40 about when you should begin screening.
  • Women with an average risk of breast cancer – most women – should begin yearly mammograms at age 45 and should continue annual screening until age 55. But they should have the option to begin annual screening at age 40.
  • At age 55 and over, women should have mammograms every other year – though women do still have the option to continue annual mammograms should they wish.
  • Screening mammograms should continue for as long as a woman is in good health.
According to board certified breast surgeon, Dr. Nova Foster, “it all depends on your personal thoughts and a discussion with your doctor.” But know that if you’re 40 and you decide that screening mammography is for you, it’s very likely that you will be covered.

Refueling Post Workout

During the 30 to 60 minutes after exercise, an athlete’s body is extra primed to restock and repair muscles and other tissues. If an athlete waits much longer to refuel, the body doesn’t absorb key nutrients nearly as easily. This problem can lead to longer recovery times, more training time lost to nagging injuries and illnesses and a lack of motivation.

Refueling Basics

Athletes should aim to consume at least a half gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, preferably within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If possible, consuming some protein at the same time makes good sense.

The key is to consume roughly three to four grams of carbohydrates for every one gram of protein. It’s not necessary to heavily focus on a specific recovery ratio or formula. Instead, a simple and effective solution is to eat a balanced meal that includes lean quality protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, cooked beans or soy foods like tofu.

If your workout leaves you feeling queasy or without an appetite – refueling with an appropriate sports drink or energy bar is a smart alternative.



Another excellent option is chocolate milk – a “liquid food” that naturally supplies the desired recovery ratio of 4 grams of carbs to 1 gram of protein.


Rehydrating is a key component of the recovery process. When dehydrated, the body has to work much harder to perform critical functions such as bringing nutrients and oxygen to cells and flushing waste products out of muscles. When adequately hydrated, urine will be pale yellow, like the color of lemonade. Darker-colored urine, or if the athlete hasn’t gone for a few hours after exercising, is an indication of the need to drink more. Frequent bathroom breaks and urine that appears clear like water indicate that an athlete is over-hydrated.

Bottom Line

Recovery nutrition involves adequately replacing what the body has lost or used up during exercise. Following these simple guidelines can help improve your performance and keep your body fueled to take on the rest of your day!

This information has been brought to you by Sportsology. Sportsology is the collaboration between certified athletic trainers from Southern Illinois Healthcare’s Rehab Unlimited and Sports Medicine physicians and fellows from SIU School of Medicine.

Questions? Call Sportsology at 877.656.4999 or get more information at

Memorial Hospital of Carbondale earns Baby Friendly

As you enter the Birthing Center at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale these days, the curtains to the nursery are drawn, leading many to ask, “Where are all the babies?”

The babies are with mom.

Memorial Hospital of Carbondale recently completed a two-year journey on a re-birth of its own – designation as a Baby Friendly ® hospital. Gone are the days when the infant is whisked away to the nursery for bathing, shots and hearing tests. Today, babies bond with mom and dad immediately during the “Golden Hour,” the first hour of life, with uninterrupted time and skin-to-skin contact. In fact, many babies begin breastfeeding right after birth. Testing is performed bedside, and fathers often participate in giving baby his/her first bath. Baby and mom room together continuously as a “couplet,” with lots of help from nurses and lactation specialists. This helps builds confidence in learning the baby’s cues, making the transition home much easier.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF launched Baby-Friendly in 1991 to emphasize the health benefits of breast-feeding, which include lower rates of diabetes, childhood leukemia, asthma and other illnesses. Memorial Hospital of Carbondale is one of only seven hospitals in Illinois to earn the accreditation.


Jenny Ting of Carbondale delivered her son, Samuel, two-months ago, shortly after the hospital received Baby Friendly status. Ting has a unique perspective in the “before” and “after” Baby-Friendly journey. She’s a nurse at the Birthing Center and a mom of three. Her first child was born at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale 13 years ago.

“In the past, we took care of mom and baby separately. With Baby Friendly, we’ve transitioned to taking care of the family as a unit; it’s all about the bonding experience. My son was skin-to-skin with me for the first hour, and I got to see him weighed, receive his hearing screen and shots, and get his first bath. It’s so much more intimate. I think what’s important is you are able to be part of your baby’s care, you are taking care of your baby, and the nurses are there to help,” said Ting.

Memorial Hospital of Carbondale provides support to new moms even after they leave the hospital, and provides outpatient lactation consultants 24/7. For moms who are unable to breast-feed or find that it’s not the right fit for them, bottle help is also available. Lactation and support nurses work with each new mom to provide her with the best resources to support her choice.

For a closer look at the “10 Steps to Baby Friendly,” click here.

Just a Simple Breath Hold

A simple breath hold can protect your heart during breast cancer treatment. Radiation therapy is commonly used to reduce the chance of breast cancer recurrence following surgery. However, when the breast cancer is located on the left side, clinicians face a challenge because breast tissue is close to the heart. When the heart is exposed to radiation, it can increase risk for cardiovascular disease.

There is a solution.

At the SIH Cancer Institute, we take care to minimize radiation exposure to the heart using a simple breath-holding technique and some highly sophisticated technology.

The deep inspiration breath-hold technique, (or DIBH) is the latest method in protecting the heart from radiation exposure. “Internal imaging techniques show that when a person takes a deep breath, the heart moves to the right and back, away from the breast tissue,” said Lori Cohen, manager of Radiation Treatment at the SIH Cancer Institute. “When the heart is in that position is when we want to deliver the radiation.”

As one might imagine, it can be difficult to know the heart’s location at any given moment given its central location in the body. But doctors at the SIH Cancer Institute use real-time, 3D surface monitoring of the breast tissue and chest wall, called VisionRT.

This consists of three cameras suspended above the radiation treatment table. With the visual feedback generated from this, clinicians can guide the patient and monitor their position throughout treatment. This allows them to make sure radiation is only delivered when the patient is holding a deep breath (DIBH) and the heart is in a safe position.

As soon as the patient takes a deep breath and their position is perfect, the radiation beam is automatically enabled. When the patient breathes out, the coordinates will change; automatically halting the radiation beam. The above process is then repeated until the full dose of radiation is delivered.

“This revolutionary technique allows us to safely deliver the required radiation to the breast by moving the heart out of the field of treatment,” said Dr. Michael Little, Radiation Oncologist.

The VisionRT cameras only use optical information, so no additional radiation is used during treatment.

Demystifying Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiologists at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and Herrin Hospital provide a number of minimally invasive procedures that, over time, have replaced many open procedures. These minimally invasive procedures provide you with surgical solutions that offer less pain, fewer risks and reduced recovery time.

Interventional Radiologists are physicians that use their expertise in diagnostic imaging—such as reading x-rays, ultrasound and other medical images—to accurately guide their medical instruments through tight spaces throughout the body in order to treat a variety of health problems.

An example of one such minimally invasive procedure performed by interventional radiologists is renal cryoablation. If diagnosed with a kidney tumor, our IR physicians would use their skills to guide their instruments to the exact location of the tumor to simply freeze and destroy the tumor tissue. Typically patients have a shorter recovery time and a quicker return to normal activity than with traditional kidney tumor-removal surgery.

An interventional radiologist performed a renal cryoablation procedure on patient Robert Bordenave. Robert underwent his minimally invasive cryoablation procedure at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and was home by that evening. He was able to get back to his normal routine in just a few days.

“It was a quick outpatient procedure and the biopsy I had of the tumor came back as benign—and that was a big relief.” expressed Robert. “I was very impressed by the interventional radiologist before and after the surgery. Everyone who was on the team was very helpful.”

About his procedure, Robert added, “I would definitely choose this option again. I really think it’s a great procedure and I think others should be aware of this option.”

Interventional radiologists offer a number of other procedures including:

  • Angioplasty
  • Chemoembolization
  • Embolization
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Needle Biopsy
  • Port Placement
  • Stents
  • Tumor Ablation Therapies
  • Uterine Fibroid Embolization
  • Varicose Vein Treatment
  • Venous Access (Port, Hickman, PICC)

To learn more about our Interventional Radiology team and the conditions that they treat, visit Interventional Radiology or talk with your physician about a referral.