It’s time for mitral valve surgery, but which hospital will you choose?

When weighing options, close to home isn't always best choice

women and doc blogOnce a decision is made to have heart surgery, patients tend to favor staying close to home.

But researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed mitral valve surgery to see if patients benefit from going to a center of excellence hospital—one that specializes in the procedure and sees a high volume of patients —as opposed to a nearby community hospital.

They found that going to a center of excellence is the better option for both patients and insurers, even if it’s farther away from the patient and costs more upfront.

Frank Fazzalari, M.D., professor of cardiac surgery, working with experts at the U-M Ross School of Business and cardiac surgeon Steve Bolling, M.D., inspired the look at how decisions are made about heart surgery.

Continue reading

From Egypt to Ann Arbor for complex aortic aneurysm and valve surgery

Family from Egypt chooses University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center

Matoshaleh_blogWhen Nassef Matoshaleh, and his wife, Wafaa, left Cairo, Egypt, early this year, their two sons weren’t certain their father would return. But George and Michael, both pharmacists like their parents, prayed the trip to the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center to treat their father’s ascending aortic arch aneurysm would bring him back home.

And it did.

Nassef and Wafaa explored a handful of hospitals in the world — including in the U.K., Germany, France, Canada and the U.S. — to perform surgery on Nassef’s ascending aortic aneurysm. The two did extensive research and, with the help of family friend and U-M doctor Rafat Rizk (specializing in gastroenterology and internal medicine), decided Dr. Michael Deeb, a renowned specialist in the treatment of ascending aortic aneurysms, was the right doctor for them. Continue reading

Strawberries are in season

Try this Strawberry Avocado Couscous Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

strawberry blog

Enjoy the great taste of fresh, heart-healthy strawberries.

Delicious strawberries are in season, and their color is a great indicator of how nutritious they are. Strawberries are packed with phytonutrients: terpenoids, ellagitannins, anthocyanins, flavonols and phenolic acids.

Try this recipe — featured in Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sue Ryskamp’s recent U-M CVC Nutritious Is Delicious food demo — and start enjoying this amazing fruit right now! Added bonus: only 46 calories per cup! Continue reading

Discover the benefits of yoga

The U-M Domino's Farms Fitness Center features a top-notch yoga program

yoga blogMary Armstrong loves yoga. It’s something the 67-year-old has practiced over the years as a way of connecting with her grown daughters.

So when she experienced high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat a few years ago, Mary was happy to discover the rehabilitation program at the University of Michigan Preventive Cardiology Fitness Center at Domino’s Farms included a yoga program. It proved to be a perfect fit for her, both physically and emotionally.

“This yoga program is so different from other classes I’ve taken,” says Mary. “The instructors perform each pose slowly and help us do the poses correctly.” She says the class is challenging, but the instructors are happy to demonstrate modifications whenever necessary.

Mary believes her yoga practice has helped lower her blood pressure, which is monitored before and after each class. “I’m now in the normal range,” she says. The four weekly classes Mary fits into her schedule have also increased her strength and flexibility. Continue reading

Top 5 Takeaways on Diseases of the Aorta and Veins

Dr. Dawn Coleman shares information from Mini Med School presentation

mini_med_school_cardiovascular_graphic diseases blogLeading U-M Frankel CVC researchers and physicians are advancing knowledge, finding new treatments and applying new technologies. Each week one of them shared his or her expertise in a six-week Mini Med School community education program focused on cardiovascular topics.

Here are the Top 5 Takeaways from Dr. Dawn Coleman’s Mini Med School presentation on Diseases of the Aorta and Veins:

1. Surgery for AAA is a solid option

Open surgical repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) remains a durable option for patients; endovascular measures with stent graft technology continue to evolve, offering expanded indications for use with complex anatomy and a lower risk of early death and major complication. Continue reading

Energize your workout … just add water!

AARC_MCI Regatta blogJune is National Great Outdoors Month … a good time to energize your workout with a new outdoor sport or activity.

Whether you prefer a challenge or something a little more laid-back, there are plenty of activities to choose from during the warm summer months, including water sports.

Ann Arbor resident Leisa Thompson, freelance photographer for the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, is an avid rower. She can be found on the Huron River with her team several times each week during rowing season (Apr. 1-Oct. 31).

“This is one of my passions,” says the 44-year-old Thompson, who began rowing classes three years ago as a unique way to get in shape and enjoy the outdoors. “We see deer, great blue heron and all kinds of nature,” she says. “It’s very peaceful and meditative.” Continue reading