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  • Two female medical professionals look at diagnostic imaging of the brain
    October 29, 2021

    The Primary Stroke Center’s use of advanced therapies promotes high performance, better outcomes

    Olney, MDMedStar Montgomery Medical Center’s multidisciplinary stroke program was recently named a High Performing Program by U.S. News & World Report in its annual Best Hospitals Rankings 2021-22. Additionally, the Primary Stroke Center was recognized on the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines-Stroke GOLD PLUS with Honor Roll and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll and was re-certified by The Joint Commission. MedStar Montgomery’s stroke program received the distinctions for its high-performance ratings, patient-centered care, and the use of advanced therapies to achieve positive outcomes.

    MedStar Montgomery’s Stroke Center earned top rankings, High Performance, from U.S. News & World Report, in several categories including survival rates (30 days after hospitalization for stroke), percentage of stroke patients treated with time-sensitive medical interventions, the nurse/patient ratio, and total number of patients treated (which is associated with better outcomes). These quality indicators are ranked based on national averages. MedStar Montgomery was among 6,000 hospitals evaluated in the Best Hospitals Rankings 2021-22.

    “I am incredibly proud of the multidisciplinary team of skilled, expert care providers within our Primary Stroke Center at MedStar Montgomery. This team deserves recognition for their incredible hard work in treating these patients and mitigating the long-term effects of the condition,” said Thomas J. Senker, FACHE, president of MedStar Montgomery Medical Center. “This distinction underscores our commitment to providing high-quality care, combined with the latest in advance therapies and a patient-first approach.”

    Positive patient outcomes during a stroke are largely attributed to the use of Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), an intravenous intervention that is given to individuals within 4.5 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. This time-sensitive medical intervention works to dissolve the stroke-causing clot, overall supporting better and more complete recoveries, including higher levels of functional mobility and resolution of presenting symptoms.

    MedStar Montgomery’s tPA administration rate is currently 15.7%, above the national average of under 10%. From January 1 through July 31, 2021, 75% of eligible patients were able to receive tPA within 60 minutes of the onset of symptoms.

    “Because time is so critical in treating strokes, our emergency department teams are trained to provide rapid, excellent care by prioritizing stroke treatments. In addition, we have an acute stroke team that evaluates patients and sets in motion specific procedures to diagnose the cause of the stroke,” said Nickie Miskell, RN, Stroke Coordinator, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center. “For our team this is more than just recognition of hard work and positive outcomes, this distinction represents those patients’ lives we were able to impact. We’re very proud of that.”

    MedStar Montgomery was also jointly recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, earning a “Get with the Guidelines-Stroke GOLD PLUS Honor Roll and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll Achievement Award” and The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit national body overseeing the quality of healthcare, awarded an Advanced Certification to the Primary Stroke Center.

    For information about the Primary Stroke Center at MedStar Montgomery, visit: https://www.medstarhealth.org/services/neurology-and-neurosurgery. If you or anyone exhibits signs of stroke, you’re urged to contact 911 immediately.

    About MedStar Montgomery Medical Center and MedStar Health
    MedStar Montgomery Medical Center is a not-for-profit, acute care community hospital serving Montgomery County, Maryland. For 100 years, MedStar Montgomery has served as a medical care provider and community health resource offering high-quality, personalized care. MedStar Montgomery provides a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies, and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals—including cutting-edge care in obstetrics, orthopedics, breast health, and oncology. MedStar Health is the region's largest non-profit and most trusted integrated healthcare delivery system, giving patients access to the latest in modern medicine and medical technology within a community hospital setting.

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  • Two female medical professionals look at diagnostic imaging of the brain
    October 29, 2021

    The Primary Stroke Center’s use of advanced therapies promotes high performance, better outcomes

    Olney, MDMedStar Montgomery Medical Center’s multidisciplinary stroke program was recently named a High Performing Program by U.S. News & World Report in its annual Best Hospitals Rankings 2021-22. Additionally, the Primary Stroke Center was recognized on the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines-Stroke GOLD PLUS with Honor Roll and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll and was re-certified by The Joint Commission. MedStar Montgomery’s stroke program received the distinctions for its high-performance ratings, patient-centered care, and the use of advanced therapies to achieve positive outcomes.

    MedStar Montgomery’s Stroke Center earned top rankings, High Performance, from U.S. News & World Report, in several categories including survival rates (30 days after hospitalization for stroke), percentage of stroke patients treated with time-sensitive medical interventions, the nurse/patient ratio, and total number of patients treated (which is associated with better outcomes). These quality indicators are ranked based on national averages. MedStar Montgomery was among 6,000 hospitals evaluated in the Best Hospitals Rankings 2021-22.

    “I am incredibly proud of the multidisciplinary team of skilled, expert care providers within our Primary Stroke Center at MedStar Montgomery. This team deserves recognition for their incredible hard work in treating these patients and mitigating the long-term effects of the condition,” said Thomas J. Senker, FACHE, president of MedStar Montgomery Medical Center. “This distinction underscores our commitment to providing high-quality care, combined with the latest in advance therapies and a patient-first approach.”

    Positive patient outcomes during a stroke are largely attributed to the use of Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), an intravenous intervention that is given to individuals within 4.5 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. This time-sensitive medical intervention works to dissolve the stroke-causing clot, overall supporting better and more complete recoveries, including higher levels of functional mobility and resolution of presenting symptoms.

    MedStar Montgomery’s tPA administration rate is currently 15.7%, above the national average of under 10%. From January 1 through July 31, 2021, 75% of eligible patients were able to receive tPA within 60 minutes of the onset of symptoms.

    “Because time is so critical in treating strokes, our emergency department teams are trained to provide rapid, excellent care by prioritizing stroke treatments. In addition, we have an acute stroke team that evaluates patients and sets in motion specific procedures to diagnose the cause of the stroke,” said Nickie Miskell, RN, Stroke Coordinator, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center. “For our team this is more than just recognition of hard work and positive outcomes, this distinction represents those patients’ lives we were able to impact. We’re very proud of that.”

    MedStar Montgomery was also jointly recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, earning a “Get with the Guidelines-Stroke GOLD PLUS Honor Roll and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll Achievement Award” and The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit national body overseeing the quality of healthcare, awarded an Advanced Certification to the Primary Stroke Center.

    For information about the Primary Stroke Center at MedStar Montgomery, visit: https://www.medstarhealth.org/services/neurology-and-neurosurgery. If you or anyone exhibits signs of stroke, you’re urged to contact 911 immediately.

    About MedStar Montgomery Medical Center and MedStar Health
    MedStar Montgomery Medical Center is a not-for-profit, acute care community hospital serving Montgomery County, Maryland. For 100 years, MedStar Montgomery has served as a medical care provider and community health resource offering high-quality, personalized care. MedStar Montgomery provides a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies, and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals—including cutting-edge care in obstetrics, orthopedics, breast health, and oncology. MedStar Health is the region's largest non-profit and most trusted integrated healthcare delivery system, giving patients access to the latest in modern medicine and medical technology within a community hospital setting.

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  • April 12, 2019

    For healthcare industry executive Sean Hawkins, prostate cancer runs in the family. After his own diagnosis last year, the then 49-year-old already knew the potential challenges of treatment -- including losing control of his bladder. However, a breakthrough method of prostate surgery known as Retzius-sparing is now eliminating continence issues for many men treated at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

    MedStar Georgetown Patient Sean Hawkins“You go through all sorts of mental gymnastics when you’re confronted with cancer,” he says. “My main concern was the ability to get back to normal.”

    After consulting with MedStar Georgetown urological surgeon Keith Kowalczyk, MD, Hawkins learned that he was a candidate for radical prostatectomy – or removal of his entire prostate. Despite the possibility of temporary (and sometimes permanent) continence issues, Hawkins was willing to make difficult sacrifices for another chance at a cancer-free life.

    “The first thing people do is go to the store and buy the 300-count diapers,” he says. “I had diapers under my desk and meetings were spaced out to allow for bathroom breaks. I built in contingencies to anticipate a lot more frequency. I was also sort of budgeting coffee and fluid intake.”

    After a successful surgery, Hawkins returned to work only 2 weeks later. He sat through his first round of meetings without a continence problem.

    “I didn’t really have any major issues. I kept waiting and wearing the diapers and pads as a precaution. I worried about getting up or sneezing,” he says. “I was tempted to text Dr. Kowalczyk and ask if there was something going on, because I wasn’t having the control problems I anticipated. It was startling for sure.”

    During his prostatectomy, Hawkins was one of the first patients to undergo the new Retzius-sparing approach; a more technically advanced, robotically-assisted technique. Kowalczyk, who specializes in robotic surgery, learned the approach from urological surgeons in Italy. He says Retizus-sparing removes the prostate by way of an alternate route, preserving attachments to the bladder and urethra that may play a key role in continence preservation. He is part of a small group of urological surgeons in the United States now performing the procedure on a regular basis.

    “The big advantage is that these patients become continent much earlier, sometimes immediately” says Dr. Kowalczyk. “Patients getting the standard approach do well -- but it tends to be a much slower process, sometimes up to a year, in regaining their continence.  This is likely due to the need to cut through crucial suspension ligaments that seem to be important in maintaining continence.”

    Kowalczyk says traditionally, prostatectomy patients can wait from 6 months up to a year to regain continence, if it comes back at all. In patients who have undergone the Retzius-sparing surgery at MedStar Georgetown, 96% of patients regained adequate urinary continence after only 6 weeks, with only 23% wearing one “safety” pad just for reassurance even if not needed.

    “I can really confidently tell my patients now that this should not be a problem,” Kowalczyk says. “They’ve just been doing astonishingly well.”

    For some patients, like Hawkins, incontinence is never a problem at all. Aside from a healing incision scar, he reports no other side effects or complaints from the surgery. Considering all possible outcomes, Hawkins says his journey from the prostate cancer diagnosis to recovery has been a smooth one.

    “I’m very fortunate and thankful. From the minute I walked into the hospital to the minute I was wheeled out, I couldn’t have asked for faster, better treatment. To be able to say that out loud in an affirmative manner is -very important to me.”

    Watch the video below as Dr. Kowalczyk answers commonly asked question about prostate cancer and the use of robotic surgery to treat prostate cancer. 

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  • April 01, 2019

    WASHINGTON D.C., – A novel clinical trial aims to study a treatment for a common problem among older women––accidental urine leakage––by using a patient’s own muscle cells. The study, now underway in the Washington area, is for women with stress urinary incontinence that has not been addressed by conservative treatment such as behavior modifications and pelvic-floor muscle exercises.

    Stress urinary incontinence, or SUI, often occurs when the tissues that support the bladder and/or the muscles that regulate the release of urine weaken, and can have a negative impact on a woman’s quality of life. The condition is especially common after childbirth. For patients with SUI, leakage can be triggered by physical activity or stressors such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or heavy lifting.

    In the new study, conducted by Georgetown University at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, researchers will examine the safety and effectiveness of an investigational product (autologous muscle derived cells for urinary sphincter repair or AMDC-USR) derived from a woman’s own muscle cells that are collected, processed, and then injected into the tissues of the urinary passage.

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    “Being able to use a woman’s own cells as a treatment for stress urinary incontinence holds promise, and we’ll know more about whether this treatment is safe and effective for these women after this clinical trial is completed,” says the study’s principal investigator, Elizabeth Timbrook Brown, MD, MPH, assistant professor of urology at Georgetown University School of Medicine and a specialist in the medical and surgical management of urinary incontinence at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

     

    The clinical study lasts two and a half years and participation includes approximately 8 to 11 office visits and 3 to 5 scheduled phone calls. The study will consist of a screening period, which may last up to 8 weeks to determine eligibility.

    If eligible, Brown will perform a biopsy to collect muscle tissue from the thigh. Local anesthesia will be used for the office procedure.

    “The muscle tissue is then grown in a laboratory until there are enough cells to be injected into the urinary passage as a second office procedure,” Brown explains. “It is believed the cells will become part of the tissue where they have been injected. In theory, we think this may help women have more control over urine storage and urination and may decrease urinary leakage.” Current conservative treatment options are available for women with SUI and include external collection devices (diapers and pads) and pelvic floor exercises. Some examples of surgical treatments include injection of bulking agents into or around the urethra, a synthetic mesh midurethral sling, or creation of a sling using a woman’s own tissues, as well as other surgical procedures.

    Women ages 50 to 75 with SUI are invited to volunteer in this phase 3, randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled study. Participants will be “randomized” into one of two study groups––half will receive AMDC-USR (injections with cells) and the other half will receive a placebo (injections that look and feel exactly the same but will have no cells). Randomization, is done by computer. Neither the volunteers nor the researchers will know what group you are in (double blinded). If the participant receives the placebo injection, the participant will still have the option of receiving a second injection with their own cells (the AMDC-USR product) after 12 months.

    Based on information from similar clinical studies using AMDC therapy, urinary tract infections are very common. Other less common risks will be explained to each participant. Up to 320 subjects at 25 study centers across three countries will take part in this study; approximately 15 subjects per year will participate at Georgetown. There are no study-related charges for the participants.

    Cook MyoSite, Incorporated is the sponsor of this study. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is being paid by Cook MyoSite, Incorporated, to conduct this study. Brown reports having no personal financial interests related to the study.

    To learn more about this clinical trial, please click here. Women who are interested in volunteering for the clinical trial should call Kelsey Morgan, BSN, RN at 202-444-7513 or email her at kelsey.a.morgan@gunet.georgetown.edu.

     

  • September 27, 2017

    Washington, D.C., September 27, 2017 - The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is one of the best screening tools for prostate cancer. While there’s no doubt this simple blood test has saved lives over the years, it’s not perfect. There’s been a lot of debate over who should be screened and when—and whether men should be screened at all.

    Since the PSA test became widely available in the late 1980s, deaths related to prostate cancer began to decrease. In fact, mortality rates fell nearly 40 percent between the early 1990s and 2008. However, there also have been some negatives associated with the test, the biggest being its 15 percent false-positive rate. This means 15 in 100 men who get an elevated PSA test result do not actually have prostate cancer.

    PSA testing also can increase the risk of overtreatment. Most diagnosed prostate cancers are low-grade, which means the abnormal cells are unlikely to impact a man’s life in any way. Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer, taking 10 to 15 years to progress and even longer to cause death. These tumors may only need close monitoring over the years, also known as active surveillance, and not treatment.

    “PSA testing is not a one-size-fits-all approach to prostate cancer screening,” said Ross Krasnow, MD, a urologic oncologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “The key is to have an honest conversation about the potential benefits and harms for each man based on his specific risk factors.”

    For a man at average risk for prostate cancer, the discussion may center more on the potential benefits and harms of a PSA test. However, the conversation may take on a more urgent tone if the man has factors that put him at increased risk for prostate cancer. These can include:

    • Family history: Having a first-degree relative, such as a father or brother, who had the disease.
    • Genetic mutations: Continually learning more about how certain gene mutations can increase a man’s risk for prostate cancer. This includes mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are more commonly associated with breast and ovarian cancers.
    • Race: African-Americans have double the incidence of prostate cancer compared with white men, and their risk of dying from the disease is two to three times higher.

    A man’s age also should be taken into effect. “Because prostate cancer grows so slowly, there’s little benefit to screening older men whose life expectancies are less than 10 to 15 years,” said Dr. Krasnow. “When I see a patient who is 70 or older and has been referred to me for a PSA test, I usually advise against it unless they are extremely healthy for their age.”

    Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with one in seven men in the United States projected to get the disease in their lifetime. And the District of Columbia has the second highest prostate cancer incidence rate in the country behind only Louisiana, with 123 out of 100,000 men diagnosed with the disease in a given year.

  • June 15, 2017

    Same-day office procedure for BPH treatment offers faster recovery time, no sexual side effects 

    MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is the first center in the region to offer a new way to treat men with urination problems due to an enlarged prostate. The UroLift System is a minimally invasive procedure for men who experience difficulty urinating due to benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as enlarged prostate.

    “For men who can’t control their urine or get a good night’s sleep, they need to know that we offer superior options for BPH that are life-changing compared to traditional treatments,” says Gaurav Bandi, MD, urologist at MedStar Georgetown. “Everything is done through a telescope today.”

    A man’s prostate gland grows as he gets older. According to the National Institutes of Health, BPH affects 50 percent of men over 50 and 90 percent of men over 80. When the prostate gland enlarges, it squeezes the urethra, the tube where urine flows out of the bladder. This compression irritates the bladder and limits the ability of the bladder to empty completely.

    UroLift Treats BPH in 5 to 10 Minutes

    The UroLift procedure offered at MedStar Georgetown is a five minute, office-based procedure to safely and effectively treat BPH.

    UroLift  is performed under local anesthesia and requires no cutting or heating of the prostate. During a single office visit, doctors insert four to six implants into the prostate to lift the prostate gland and relieve the compression, removing any blockage in the urethra. The procedure preserves sexual function and relieves symptoms. Patients experience minimal post-procedure bleeding or pain and require no special follow-up or medical management.

    Men with a prostate size between 20 and 80cc are candidates for Urolift. Patients on blood thinners are also eligible for this procedure. For men with a prostate size over 80cc, other minimally invasive surgical options are available to treat BPH.

    Traditional treatments for BPH were invasive, had significant sexual side effects, or required a man to take one to three medications daily for the rest of his life. New treatment options are less invasive, give the doctor better access to the prostate gland, and require minimal downtime after treatment.

    BPH symptoms include:

    • Frequently urinating or trying to urinate during the day
    • A feeling that the bladder is not fully emptied
    • A slow or weak stream of urine
    • Trouble with starting to urinate
    • Feeling the constant need to urinate
    • Interrupted sleep in the middle of the night
    • Dribbling or leaking of urine

    “A lot of what I do relates to the patient’s quality of life, so our team provides evidence-based care in an individualized fashion,” says Dr. Bandi. “Men should be encouraged to seek help for any prostate problems. A majority of the time, we can relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life. And today the options we can offer are minimally invasive. There is help available!”

    For more information about other treatments for BPH or schedule an appointment with a urologist, call 202-444-4922. Watch Dr. Bandi talk more about BPH and other condition of the prostate in this video.

     

  • July 19, 2016
    MedStar Washington Hospital Center now offers Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview®, a new, FDA-approved technology used to pinpoint bladder tumors in patients with known or suspected bladder cancer.