History of the EKG

An EKG machine measures the electrical activity of the heart. It displays this activity by drawing waves on a piece of paper that is either displayed on a screen or drawn on a piece of paper that runs through a machine.
• Late 1700’s – The first step in the development of the modern electrocardiograph machine was the creation of a machine that could sense, but not measure, electric current. This machine was called a galvanometer.
• 1786 an Italian physician, Dr. Luigi Galvan, discovered that skeletal muscles worked by producing electric current. In
• 1842 Dr. Carlo Matteucci working at the University of Pisa discovered that there is an electrical current that comes with each heart beat in a frog.
• Mid 1800’s a machine called the “Rheotome” was invented that could now measure this electrical current.
• 1872 – further refinements to this Rheotome led to a machine devised by Gabrrile Lippman  of the “capillary electrometer”.
During this time, a British physiologist, Augustus Waller, was able to record the first human electrocardiogram that using this technology with electrodes placed on the chest and back of a patient. This demonstrated electric activity taking place before ventricular contraction. In
• 1893 – Dr. Wilhelm Einthoven, a Dutch physiologist,  refined the capillary electrometer to show five deflections in the electrical current passing through the heart. The five waves were initially called ABCDE, but were changed to PQRST after a mathematical correction was made to compensate for the inertia in the capillary tube. He used the phrase “electrocardiogram” for the first time at a meeting of Dutch physicians.  In
• 1901 – Dr. Eintoven he developed a string galvanometer, a more sensitive machine. He  was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his invention of the electrocardiograph.
As time passed, the electrocardiograph machine became much smaller and much more accurate. In 1903 it weighed 600 pounds and by 1930 it weighed about 30 pounds. Tthe importance of an electrocardiograph was recognized as being essential in diagnosing cardiac from non cardiac pain and able to help diagnose a myocardial infarction or a heart attack. Today we use a 12 lead electrocardiogram as a major tool in diagnosing heart disease. The machine today weighs just a few pounds and is an essential tool in diagnosing diseases of the heart.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Lung Cancer and Treatment Options

Lung cancer is a form of cancer that starts in the lungs. In the early stages there may not be any signs or symptoms. A history of smoking definitely contributes to a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease, though non-smokers also can develop lung cancer. Smoking causes cancer by irritating the lining of the lungs. This causes changes in the lung tissue. It is believed that the effects of smoking may be reversible in the very early phases but repeated exposure to the chemicals found in smoke will eventually be irreversible.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer include:

  • A cough that doesn’t get better
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Headache
  • Weight loss that isn’t intentional

There are two types of lung cancer based on their appearance under the microscope:

Small cell is the most common type of lung cancer and is found in heavy smokers.

Non-small cell is a group of other types of lung cancers that act similarly. This group includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

Lung cancer staging

Stage 1

  • The cancer is limited to the lung.
  • Tumor is smaller than 2 inches
  • has not spread to lymph nodes

Stage 2

  • Usually larger than 2 inches
  • Spread to lymph nodes
  • Possible spread to pleura, chest wall and diaphragm

Stage 3

  • Involves spread to other organs
  • Found in distant lymph nodes

 

Stage 4

  • Spread from one lung to another
  • Spread to distant parts of the body

 

If lung cancer is suspected, a few tests to make the diagnosis definitive will be ordered. A chest x-ray will be performed and if there are any lesions found on the lung a CT scan will to get a better view of the lungs. An exam of the sputum can sometimes reveal lung cancer cells and to complete the diagnosis a lung biopsy will be done to examine the cells to see if they are cancerous.

Depending on the stage of the cancer, treatment options vary and can include chemotherapy, radiation and / or surgery. A common surgical option is called a lobectomy, removal one of the lobes of the lung.

If you would like to discuss lung cancer and treatment options with a physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Does Hot Weather Affect Asthma ?

It is a fact that breathing difficulties associated with asthma are affected by hot weather. Anyone who has walked a few blocks when it is hot and humid outside will know that breathing seems to be more difficult. This is especially true for anyone who suffers from asthma. One possible cause of this is due to the hot, humid air irritating the airways causing inflammation which will lead to symptoms of an asthma attack. Another reason is that hot and humid air is heavier and therefore a person may have to struggle to breathe..
In hot weather months there is an increase in the amount of ozone in the air and also a higher concentration of dust and fine particles which can cause existing respiratory conditions to worsen especially in the very young and the elderly.
Some of the environmental factors that affect the respiratory system are:
• Higher levels of carbon dioxide and higher temperature can lead to more spores and mold in the air.

• Higher temperatures can lead to more greenhouse gases being produced.

• Environmental production of pollutants from vehicles and factories become trapped in the atmosphere.

These environmental conditions can cause chest pain, wheezing, and coughing, and reduced lung function for those who suffer with asthma.
Irritants that affect breathing function have definitely worsened over the years due to climate changes. People are being treated more frequently in the emergency rooms across the country due to lack of clean air to breathe.
To help avoid asthma attacks in hot weather it is recommended to:
• Stay indoors as much as possible in an air conditioned environment
• Avoid strenuous activity
• Keep hydrated
• Try to limit being outdoors during the hottest time of day
To schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital who can help treat breathing difficulties, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Prostate Cancer

The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that produces a fluid that mixes with sperm and other fluids during ejaculation.  It sits just below the bladder and is normally about the side of a walnut.

Prostate cancer is an abnormal growth of cells within the prostate gland.  Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American men.  The majority of men who reach the age of 80 are found to have prostate cancer however most of types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may not contribute to any serious harm.  Some types of prostate cancers are more aggressive and can spread to other parts of the body.

Prostate cancer, especially in its early stages, may not have any symptoms.  When symptoms are present they may include difficulty starting urination, less force to the stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, needing to urinate frequently, urinating frequently at night, pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, difficulty starting or maintaining an erection, pain with ejaculation, pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis and upper thighs, or unintended weight loss.

Although it is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer some risk factors for developing prostate cancer are older age (more than 65% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65), race (African-American men are 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men), family history (having a father or brother with prostate cancer) and obesity.

There is an ongoing debate among physicians and medical groups about screening for prostate cancer.  Currently many organizations including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommend against routine screening for prostate cancer.  Having a discussion with your doctor about prostate cancer screening can help you decide if you should consider undergoing prostate cancer screening based on your unique health history and preferences.

When screening is done there are two tests that are available.  The available tests are a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.  To perform a digital rectal exam your doctor uses a gloved finger, inserted a few inches into your rectum, to check your prostate gland.  A prostate-specific antigen test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in your blood.  Many men who have prostate cancer have elevated levels of PSA however PSA can also be elevated for less serious causes such as prostate enlargement or infection.  Further testing is needed to diagnose cancer.  Additional tests that your doctor may recommend to diagnose cancer include an ultrasound of the prostate and a biopsy of the prostate.  A biopsy is when a small piece of the prostate is removed to look for abnormal cells.

Treatment of prostate cancer depends on many factors including your age, your overall health and the growth and spread of the cancer when it is diagnosed.  Some men who have slow growing tumors may not need treatment right away and some may never need treatment.  Other types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can quickly spread to other parts of the body making treatment difficult.  Common treatment options include watchful waiting or expectant management (regular testing and checkups to assess for new signs or symptoms), radiation therapy (high-energy x-rays used to kill cancer cells), chemotherapy, surgery (having the prostate gland removed) and hormone therapy. Flushing Hospital also offers robotic surgery and physicians specially trained in its use, as an option for the treatment of prostate cancer.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss prostate cancer screenings and treatment options, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Meet Andy Suren

Ask anyone at Flushing Hospital if they know Andy Suren and the response will be a resounding “ we sure do”!
Andy has been a very prominent part of the hospital for the past 14 years, and has been involved in many of the day to day operations that take place. Always ready to help, he has been a person people can count on to assist colleagues, patients and visitors.
Andy grew up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn where he attended New High School. Upon graduation from high school at the age of 17 he enlisted in the Marines where he spent six years protecting our country.   Upon leaving the Marines, he went to work at the United Nations in Manhattan where he served on the bodyguard detail of the Secretary General, Javier Perez Cullar.
He  now resides in Queens with his wife of 38 years. They have one son and four grandsons of whom he is particularly proud. When he isn’t at work, he enjoys taking them all fishing, is an avid Mets fan and also enjoys boxing, which he did for a while as a Marine.
Andy really enjoys working at Flushing hospital because it feels like one big family and the patients and employees make it feel like a wonderful small neighborhood. As Director of Environmental Services he has 76 people who work with him and they all work hard to keep the buildings in great condition every day. Andy has worked in healthcare for 30 years.
Andy is involved in many activities at the hospital, the annual Celebration Dinner and golf events are two of his favorite events, but there are many smaller events that he likes to participate in as well. He really giving enjoys giving back.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is a bacterial infection that affects the outermost portion of the ear canal. A common cause is the accumulation of water in this portion of the canal that leads to a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by the insertion of unclean foreign objects into the ear that irritate the lining of the ear canal.
Signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear are:
• Redness in the ear canal
• Itchiness in the ear
• Fluid discharge which may include pus
• Muffled hearing
• Sensation of fullness in the ear
• Fever if the infection is severe
A few factors that can make a person more susceptible to swimmer’s ear are:
• Swimming in water that isn’t clean
• Having a narrow ear canal
• Abrasion of the ear canal by improper use of a cotton swab
• Reduced production or improper removal of ear wax
It is important to treat swimmer’s ear as soon as possible in order to prevent serious complications such as hearing loss. Depending on the severity of the problem, treatment options are ear drops containing antibiotics,  steroid, and a mild acidic solution.  Have your physician evaluate the problem as soon as possible. If you would like to make an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Bee Sting – What to Do

Getting stung by a bee is not the most pleasant experience to say the least. In the event that you are stung by a bee here are a few helpful steps to follow:
1. Remove the stinger as soon as you can, as it only takes seconds for the venom to enter your body. Scrape the stinger off the best way that you can (example: fingernail, tweezer,credit card ).
2. Wash the sting area with soap and water.
3. Apply cold compresses or ice to relieve pain and ease swelling.
The treatment steps for minor reactions to bee stings are not as effective for those who have severe allergic reactions. If you are allergic to bees and are stung, contact your primary care provider or seek emergency medical care immediately. Severe reactions may need epinephrine, by way of an  Epi-Pen.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The History of Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery has been becoming more and more common as the technology offers many benefits including being less scary and quicker recovery time. . Procedures that were once only able to be performed through large incisions and with large instruments are now being done with microscopic precision with the aid of much smaller incisions and much tinier instruments..

Before robotic surgery, laparoscopic surgery was performed using smaller instrumentation and smaller incisions It also incorporated the use of miniature cameras to view the operating field.  Robotic surgery expanded on this technique through the addition of robotic arms that could mimic the dexterity of a surgeon’s hands but in a smaller operating area.

The first surgical robot was called the Arthrobot and was used for the first time in 1983 by Canadian physicians.  After that, other robots were used to perform eye surgery and later on prostate surgeries. These developments came slowly at first during the 1980’s Initially surgeries were being performed by surgeons with precision and with the patient in the same room as the robot. However, modern technology now makes it possible for surgeons to operate on patients far away. This has proven helpful to doctors who can operate on soldiers injured on battlefields in foreign countries.

Currently one of the most advanced robots in use today is the da Vinci Surgical System.  It is an extremely precise tool that has been in use for over ten years. The advantages of surgeries performed using this technology are often shorter recovery times and less discomfort for the patient.

Surgeons at Flushing Hospital Medical Center are highly trained in operating the da Vinci robot. Some of the procedures that are commonly performed are prostatectomies, hysterectomies, and bariatric weight loss.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a surgeon at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Smoking Cessation – Helping You Quit

Smoking cigarettes is one of the leading causes of multiple diseases and premature deaths in the United States today.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 16 million Americans are living with smoking-related diseases and an estimated 480,000 deaths will occur each year as a result of smoking.

Smoking cigarettes affects many aspects of health. Direct association has been established between smoking and cancers of the lung, mouth, nose, throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, cervix, bladder, kidney and blood.

Many lung conditions are either caused or aggravated by cigarette smoke. It irritates bronchial airways and stimulates mucous production leading to decreased elasticity and functional failure. Patients suffering from COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema have a much higher risk of dying when repeatedly exposed to smoke.

Smokers are also at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Smoking damages blood vessels, making them stiff and narrow. This can obstruct blood flow which may result in elevated blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes.

Smoking tobacco is an addiction similar to heroin and cocaine. It can be successfully treated, however, majority of cases require three and more attempts.

Studies have shown that these five, common sense steps, provide the best chance for quitting smoking for good:

1. Get ready: set a quit date and throw out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home.

2. Get support: tell your family, friends and doctor about quitting plans; search the internet for advice.

3.  Learn new behaviors: distract yourself from the urge to smoke; exercise or go for a walk.

4. Get medication: combining medication like nicotine patches with behavioral adaptation and family support quadruples your chances of success.

5. Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations- most people try to quit a few times before succeeding.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center provides extensive assistance for people willing to quit smoking.  We offer a free smoking cessation support group every Wednesday. The hospital also offers one-on-one sessions, both in person or by phone.  For more information please call, 718-206-8494.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

June is Men’s Health Month

The month of June has been recognized as Men’s Health Month. The reason for this designation is to bring awareness of preventable health issues and to encourage early detection and treatment of diseases prevalent in men.
The leading causes of death among men are:
• Heart Disease
• Cancer
• Diabetes
• Lung Disease
• Injuries
• Stroke
• HIV/AIDS
Some of the reasons that men tend to have more serious chronic illnesses is because more men than women don’t have health insurance, men tend to have more physically demanding jobs with greater safety risks. Additionally  more men smoke than women and they also tend to  take greater risks with unsafe behavior.
Women tend to live five years longer than men and one of the reasons for this is that women usually take better care of their health. Men are often guilty of waiting until a disease has progressed to a more serious level before they seek help. There is an old adage that if a man is in a doctor’s waiting room, most likely a woman brought him there for an exam.
During the month of June, organizations across the country hold health awareness campaigns to educate men about various health issues that they may be at risk for and to encourage them to see a doctor regularly. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.