Franciscan Focus Summer 2012 : Page 3
Having limited options as they treated a patient who faced almost certain death if a solution to her problem wasn't quickly found, two Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer physicians had to think fast.<br /> <br /> Michael Nicholas, D.O. and Michael R. Nuyles, D.O. not only saved the elderly woman's life, but their answer turned out to be only the fourth time the procedure they employed had been done in the world. It also earned international recognition at a recent Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference, where it received a Best Challenging Case award.<br /> <br /> The patient, Ann VanderGenugten, had a massive pulmonary embolism—a blood clot in her lung that had traveled from her leg. This obstructed blood flow through the lungs and threatened her heart function.<br /> <br /> After being alerted to the situation by David Braunstein, M.D., who initially saw the patient and made the diagnosis, Nicholas said it was obvious "something had to be done quickly" to dissolve the clot and improve blood flow immediately.<br /> <br /> "We had used this ClearWay drug delivery balloon for other procedures, usually for the legs and heart, but never in the lungs. I thought, 'why not try it?' We had familiarity with it, so decided, after consulting with the hospital and the patient and getting approval, to give it a shot and it worked," Dr. Nicholas said.<br /> <br /> Dr. Nicholas, a doctor of osteopathic medicine who has been in practice and with Franciscan St. Margaret since 1985, said the team quickly "did its homework" and learned the procedure previously had been done by interventional radiologists elsewhere. He consulted with them before performing it.<br /> <br /> "This particular balloon gently infuses a drug within the clot to break it up," he said.<br /> <br /> Nuyles, who has beer a doctor of osteopathic medicine for seven years and an interventional cardiology fellow at Franciscan St. Margaret for four of those, said presenting the case, so far twice, before the world's top cardiologists, has been a thrill, but helping the patient was most satisfying.<br /> <br /> "She was doing poorly and starting to crash. I am very happy she was able to be helped and recover."<br /> <br /> Dr. Nicholas credited the St. Margaret staff's teamwork and the hospital for having the means to deal with the case.<br /> <br /> "We had the right personnel and the right equipment. It was a win-win for everyone. This shows that patients do not have to travel to university hospitals to get the best treatment," he said.<br /> <br /> Patient sings praises of Life-saving Procedure<br /> <br /> Ann VanderGenugten was en route to a church meeting when she suddenly found it difficult to breathe.<br /> <br /> An ambulance was called and she was taken to the Franciscan St. Margaret Health- Dyer Emergency Department, where it wasn't long before doctors realized she faced a lifethreatening problem—a massive pulmonary embolism.<br /> <br /> A short time later, through the efforts of her physicians, the Schererville resident, now 83, was on the mend and has felt fine ever since.<br /> <br /> "I was told this type of procedure normally wasn't done on older people, but I consented and am glad I did," she said, during a phone call while vacationing in Florida.<br /> <br /> These days, "I like to walk and ride my bike, a lot. I also go to a health club in Dyer," she said. "I am grateful to the doctors and for what they did. It sure saved my life."
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