In its Spring 2009 issue, the UNC Medical Bulletin traces the development of the heart and lung transplantation programs at UNC Hospitals. Dr. Michael Mill and Dr. Thomas Egan, both still on the faculty at UNC, started the programs after they were recruited by Dr. Benson Wilcox in 1988 and 1989, respectively. Today, UNC has six transplant surgeons; the transplant program includes a skilled team of transplant coordinators, nurses, perfusionists, anesthesiologists, surgeon's assistants, cardiologists, pulmonologists and pathologists.
To read the article in the UNC Medical Bulletin, click here. (Article begins on page 4 of the PDF.)
The elderly are at high risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) but receive less cardiac medication and invasive care than other groups. Two factors may explain this: limited data from randomized clinical trials and uncertainty about benefit and risk with advancing age.
In two articles published recently in the journal Clinical Geriatrics, Dr. Brett Sheridan (right) and colleagues in the UNC School of Public Health, UNC Division of Cardiology, and Sheps Center for Health Services Research reviewed the use of therapies for ACS and the challenges of diagnosing and treating ACS in the elderly. They also examined outcomes results of invasive therapies (percutaneous coronary intervention and coronary artery bypass grafting).
Given the benefits observed in recent trials, age alone should not prevent consideration of invasive treatment of ACS in the elderly, but rather should intensify it, the group concluded.
The research was supported by an NIH R01 grant (Acute coronary syndrome outcomes in Medicare patients) on which Dr. Sheridan is co-principal investigator.
Read the articles:
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention or Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting: Intervention in Older Persons with Acute Coronary Syndrome - Part I (Sheridan BC, Stearns SC, Massing MW, Stouffer GA, D'Arcy SP, Carey TS). Clinical Geriatrics 16(10):39-44, 2008.
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention or Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting: Intervention in Older Persons with Acute Coronary Syndrome - Part II (Sheridan BC, Stearns SC, Massing MW, Stouffer GA, D'Arcy SP, Carey TS). Clinical Geriatrics 16(11):40-46, 2008.
|Dr. Benjamin Haithcock talks to patient Glenda Frazier about her lung surgery. (Copyright NBC 17 TV.)|
In a recent interview on NBC 17 TV, Benjamin E. Haithcock, MD, a UNC cardiothoracic surgeon, discusssed disparities in treatment of lung cancer. He discussed the same topic at a Lung Cancer Awareness Symposium at UNC's Lineberger Cancer Research Center on Nov. 17.
Glenda Frazier, 40, came to UNC from Fort Bragg after a doctor found a spot on her left lung. Dr. Haithcock biopsied the lung, discovered cancer, and then removed part of Frazier's lung using minimally invasive surgery.
Frazier was lucky because of the early diagnosis, but also because she got the right treatment.
Haithcock says she's an exception. He believes too many people, especially African Americans, don't try to seek specialized care or learn about treatment options that could save their lives. He says patients should always talk to their doctors about their options before agreeing to treatment.
|Dr. Haithcock says patients deserve a thorough explanation of treatment. He uses a drawing to explain a patient's cancer and surgery. (Copyright NBC 17 TV.)|
Dr. Benjamin Haithcock of the UNC Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery was featured in a television interview about minorities and treatment of lung cancer. The interview was broadcast on WNCN TV (NBC 17, Raleigh) on Nov. 16, 2008.
Knowing Options May Prevent Deaths From Lung Cancer
By Julie Henry
©NBC-17 TV, Raleigh
Nov. 16, 2008
At just 40 years old and an avid runner, Glenda Frazier hardly fits the picture of a lung cancer patient.
But last spring, a spot on her lung brought her from her home at Fort Bragg to see a doctor at UNC's cancer center.
"He said, ‘We'll go in, I'll biopsy it while you're asleep’... amazing!" said Frazier. " ‘If it's cancerous, we'll go ahead and take it out and remove it.’ "
Thoracic surgeon Dr. Benjamin Haithcock confirmed it was cancer and did a minimally invasive procedure to remove the lower lobe of Frazier’s left lung.
Frazier didn't have any follow-up chemotherapy or radiation. She was lucky because she was diagnosed early, but also because she got the right treatment. Haithcock says she's an exception to the rule. He believes too many people, especially African Americans, don't try to seek specialized care or learn about treatment options that could save their lives.
"I think there is a reluctance to have an operation, I think there is a reluctance to see any kind of surgeon," said Haithcock. "And I think there is still that reluctance, especially in elderly African Americans, of just going to a physician."
Haithcock says more blacks die within five years of diagnosis than whites, but with proper treatment, whether it's medicine or surgery, the survival rate is the same. He says patients should ask questions of their doctors and get more information before any kind of treatment.
Glenda Frazier is living proof.
"Do your research, talk to your doctors, talk to a specialist, not just some general person, and also talk to your friends," said Frazier. "Don't settle for no."