Posts tagged with "Patients"

Nursing Home Staff Shortages

Amidst the perseverance of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry has taken a massive blow. There are intense staffing shortages in the field, and the public is suffering from these scarcities. The Washington Post gave a detailed report on these worsening staff deficiencies, more specifically in long term care facilities.

Nursing homes tend to lessen the stress on hospitals as recovered patients typically move there after being released. Without proper staffing, though, facilities have not been able to take in patients from hospitals. A specific example of this misfortune stems from the Terrace View nursing home in Buffalo, New York. The home is currently not running at full capacity, and there are up to 22 beds not being used due to lack of staff.

The Washington Post article elaborates on this disaster, highlighting another facility affected. “That means some fully recovered patients in the adjacent Erie County Medical Center must stay in their hospital rooms, waiting for a bed in the nursing home. Which means some patients in the emergency department, who should be admitted to the hospital, must stay there until a hospital bed opens up. The emergency department becomes stretched so thin that 10 to 20 percent of arrivals leave without seeing a caregiver — after an average wait of six to eight hours, according to the hospital’s data.”

Many long-term care facilities across the country are facing these same troubles. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found 58% of nursing homes are cutting down on arrivals, again, because of the shortage of staff members.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that 425,000 long term care workers left the industry since February 2020. Though other industries have seen economic growth since the onset of the pandemic, nursing homes have not had the same luck. “Remarkably, despite the horrific incidents of death and illness in nursing homes at the outset of the pandemic, more staff departures have come during the economic recovery. As restaurants and shops reopened and hiring set records, nursing homes continued to bleed workers, even as residents returned.”

These troubles are heightened in more rural areas. The article, too, depicts the story of Diakonos Group in Medford, Oklahoma, that had to shut down since there was simply not enough staff. The facility provided care for patients with mental health needs, but after the pandemic started, they found that their staff had endured too much. Diakonos Group CEO Scott Pilgrim explained that although the business offered a raise in hourly wages, bonuses and overtime, employees continued to leave, and they could not withstand these absences.

AHCA/NCAL urges lawmakers to work with the long term care division of healthcare to fix this staffing crisis and devote resources to employ caregivers. As hospitals continue to be directly affected by this catastrophe, change must be made as soon as possible. AHCA/NCAL encourages Congress to take action and ease these tensions placed on both hospitals and long term care facilities.

Covid patient image created by Sara Davidson at 360 Magazine use by 360 Magazine

Long-lasting COVID-19 Protection

In what could be very good news for the immunocompromised, an antibody cocktail tested at the University of Virginia School of Medicine appears to offer long-lasting protection from COVID-19.

The cocktail, manufactured by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, reduced the risk of COVID-19 infection by more than 80% for more than eight months, the company announced in a news release. The 81.6% risk reduction seen in the second to eighth months after administration continues the robust, 81.4% risk reduction seen in the first month.

William A. Petri Jr., MD, PhD, was one of the leaders of UVA’s testing of the antibody cocktail. He was pleasantly surprised by the durability of the protection reported by Regeneron. He said the drug could be of particular benefit for immunocompromised people who do not develop a strong response to vaccination.

“The significance of the finding is that the antibody cocktail can prevent COVID-19 in immunocompromised individuals whom we know sometimes fail to respond to the vaccine,” said Petri, an infectious disease expert.

Lasting COVID-19 Protection

Regeneron’s new analysis looked at the results from 1,683 people who were not infected with COVID-19 and did not have antibodies to the virus. Among trial participants who received the cocktail, none was hospitalized for COVID-19 during the following eight months. Only seven were infected with SARS-CoV-2, compared with 38 who received a placebo. Thus, the antibody cocktail provided more than 80% protection for 2-8 months.

The federal Food and Drug Administration first authorized Regeneron’s cocktail in November 2020 to treat patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. The federal regulators then expanded the authorization in July to allow its use as a preventative treatment in people exposed to COVID-19 and those at high risk of exposure, such as nursing home residents. Regeneron’s antibody cocktail is not a vaccine and is not a replacement for a vaccine. However, it may greatly benefit people who do not develop a strong immune response to vaccination, such as patients receiving treatment for cancer and other people who are immunocompromised, said Petri, of UVA’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health. 360 Magazine is interested and excited to see what science can do in order to help protect us. 

For such patients, getting a periodic dose of the cocktail – annually, perhaps — could provide the immune protection that their own bodies can’t, Petri said. (More research will be needed to determine the best dosing interval.) “While these results still require peer review to ensure their accuracy, this is likely to be a significant step forward in the prevention of COVID-19 in the immunocompromised,” Petri said.

Ovulation illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Fertility Technology

The future of home-diagnostic tests

By Aayush Rai, CEO, Inito

During the pandemic, many of us worry about our own health and of our families. And recently, a conversation with a close friend turned to this topic. She has Hypothyroidism and needs to be on lifelong medication to manage the condition.

While managing this ailment in regular times wouldn’t be an issue, doctor visits and trips to the hospital for regular check-ups have either been put on hold or become dangerous and stressful during the pandemic. That led her to use an online service to get her thyroid medication delivered home. The convenience of an online consultation with a doctor and medicine delivery to her doorstep was great; she still had to go to the lab to get a blood test.

Clinicians and patients alike do not want to spend time traveling to labs and incur the expense, pain, and delays associated with traditional testing. And now, there is no need in many cases since there are alternatives such as home blood pressure monitoring, urine pregnancy, ovulation test kits, glucose monitoring, and more. In fact, advances in technology have even made it possible to conceive at home, in the privacy of your own space, without the need to visit a doctor’s office. This is wonderful news for women who are struggling with infertility problems, since home insemination is a cost-effective solution that can be done completely on your own.

Besides being cost-effective, quick, and confidential, home use tests can help:

  • Detect health conditions even before symptoms arise so that you can get early treatment and lower your chance of developing later complications such as cholesterol, hepatitis, and other STI testing. Home EKG tests can pick up atrial fibrillation long before symptoms arise. 
  • Detect specific conditions when there are no symptoms or signs to take immediate action, such as pregnancy testing so that you avoid alcohol intake and start prenatal vitamins.
  • Monitor conditions to allow frequent changes in treatment, such as to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetes and making insulin adjustments or adjusting blood pressure medications in the case of hypertension.

While home-use tests are a necessity during the pandemic, the change in user behavior will be permanent. In older days, couples trying to conceive could only track when they are fertile at home using Ovulation Tests. Ovulation tests can be done at home, measuring the presence of L.H., which shows up in the urine after ovulation occurs. Modern ovulation tests like Inito have advanced such testing by measuring the actual value of three essential fertility hormones, two of which predict, in advance, the time of ovulation and one that confirms that it did actually occur.

The user can simply send the chart of their hormones to the doctor rather than going through the anxiety and stress of lab tests. Once users and doctors experience the ease of use of these, they will not want to back to traditional methods.

People want to live healthy lives autonomously without excessive medical intervention. Even after the pandemic, consumers will continue to adopt home diagnostics.  As technology sufficiently matures, every house will have a single connected device capable of conducting these tests – becoming as much a part of the household as a thermometer is today. This is especially critical in the U.S., given the high incidence of chronic diseases.

About 45% of the U.S. population – close to 133 million Americans have at least one chronic disease.  The total costs for direct treatment for chronic conditions totalled $1.1 trillion —equivalent to nearly six percent of the U.S. GDP. Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and osteoarthritis are the most expensive conditions in direct healthcare costs.

For people with diabetes, the HbA1c test (also known as the hemoglobin A1c or glycated hemoglobin test) is an essential indicator of their average glucose levels. It indicates how well their disease is controlled and must be taken every three months. Not testing regularly can lead to the condition spiralling out of control, risking life, and increased costs of care. Many other conditions, like Hypothyroidism, require constant monitoring and lifelong medication.

The ability to conduct home testing dovetails perfectly with online consultation and medicine delivery. With modern connected devices, patients can directly share test reports with their doctors, consult with them online, have their prescriptions renewed, and await the arrival of medicines at their doorstep. A complete ecosystem.

Managing conditions at home will gradually become a norm, as we build out this complete ecosystem. By taking travel and waiting times out and delivering care faster, home diagnostics can save us millions of years, spent in the pursuit of our health at an equivalent or even lower cost.

Inito is the world’s first home device that tests for fertility hormones on a single device connected to a smartphone. This groundbreaking device is the only ovulation test to perform lab-grade fertility diagnostic tests at home. 

Stethoscope illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

TMS Therapy

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation/TMS Therapy?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, otherwise known as TMS therapy, is a non-invasive technique where magnetic fields are used to stimulate the brain.

TMS therapy is used in people suffering from depression. It is an alternative to other forms of treatment like psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. TMS therapy is painless and highly preferred by most patients.

How does TMS Therapy Work?

TMS treatment for depression follows a certain process. The therapy is conducted by a TMS physician/TMS technician.

Before the therapy begins, you should get rid of any magnetic-sensitive objects or items on your body like credit cards and jewelry. For comfort and ear protection, you’ll be asked to put on earplugs. Also, the process is conducted while the patient is sitting.

The therapy involves placing a magnetic coil against the scalp close to the forehead. Before the coil is placed on your head, the therapist must conduct various measurements to determine the right position of placing the magnetic coil. The coil conveys a magnetic pulse stimulating the nerve cells in the part of the brain that manages depression and mood control.

The physician then applies multiple brief pulses to measure the patient’s motor threshold. This ensures that the treatment settings are personalized according to the patient’s motor threshold.

During the TMS therapy, the patient will experience a sequence of clicking sounds and a tapping sensation under the coil.

Depending on various factors, the TMS treatment can last anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes, and you’re good to resume normal activities afterward. However, you’ll need to come back for the same procedure about five days a week and continue doing so until five to six weeks. However, this period can vary depending on how the patient responds to treatment, among other things.

Why Go for TMS Therapy?

There are many reasons why most patients go for transcranial magnetic stimulation/TMS therapy. First, the treatment is non-invasive. This means nothing will be inserted into your body during the treatment. Also, the treatment is painless. Pain is not something most people love. Anyone will always go for a painless alternative if it’s available.

In addition, TMS therapy has reported a high efficacy rate compared to other depression treatment methods like antidepressants. When it comes to health matters, effectiveness is essential.

Furthermore, TMS therapy is an outpatient treatment that allows patients to get treatment while continuing with their daily activities.

The FDA approved transcranial magnetic stimulation in 2008 for the treatment of depression. This means it is a safe method. And in the future, we could see TMS therapy being used to treat other brain disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tinnitus, generalized anxiety, and cognitive impairments.

Side Effects and Cons of TMS Therapy

Despite its high efficacy, TMS therapy has some cons and side effects.

Patients experience mild to moderate side effects which disappear after some time. The possible side effects include.

  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tingling, twitching, or spasm of facial muscles
  • Scalp discomfort

Some patients experience seizure and hearing loss, especially if their ears are not well covered during the therapy. Those with bipolar disorder complain of mania. However, such cases are rare.

One of the downsides of TMS therapy is that the patients keep visiting the treatment center until they get well. This can be tiresome, especially if you do not respond to the treatment in a short period. It can also be expensive if you have to cover a long distance to get the treatment. You’ll need to pay for transport costs daily.

 TMS therapy takes a long time; for instance, a patient may need more than 30 treatments to get better. Also, some insurance policies may decline to cover your TMS therapy costs. You should find out if your insurance policy will cover the costs.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation/TMS therapy is a non-invasive and painless procedure used to treat depression. The procedure is conducted by a TMS technician or physician, and it follows a specific sequence. The treatment is an outpatient service, has high efficacy, and is FDA approved. However, it has some side effects, including headache and scalp discomfort, which go away after multiple sessions. The therapy takes time to work, usually four to six weeks of regular visits.

Neurological illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Houston Methodist × Rice University

Houston Methodist, Rice U. launch neuroprosthetic collaboration


Center for Translational Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces to focus on restoring brain function after disease, injury

Neurosurgery’s history of cutting diseases out of the brain is morphing into a future in which implanting technology intothe brain may help restore function, movement, cognition and memory after patients suffer strokes, spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders. Rice University and Houston Methodist have forged a partnership to launch the Center for Translational Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces, a collaboration that brings together scientists, clinicians, engineers and surgeons to solve clinical problems with neurorobotics.  

“This will be an accelerator for discovery,” said center co-director Dr. Gavin Britz, chair of the Houston Methodist Department of Neurosurgery. “This center will be a human laboratory where all of us — neurosurgeons, neuroengineers, neurobiologists — can work together to solve biomedical problems in the brain and spinal cord. And it’s a collaboration that can finally offer some hope and options for the millions of people worldwide who suffer from brain diseases and injuries.”

Houston Methodist neurosurgeons, seven engineers from the Rice Neuroengineering Initiative and additional physicians and faculty from both institutions form the center’s core team. The center also plans to hire three additional engineers who will have joint appointments at Houston Methodist and Rice. Key focus areas include spinal cord injury, memory and epilepsy studies, and cortical motor/sensation conditions.

“The Rice Neuroengineering Initiative was formed with this type of partnership in mind,” said center co-director Behnaam Aazhang, Rice’s J.S. Abercrombie Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who also directs the neuroengineering initiative, which launched in 2019 to bring together the brightest minds in neuroscience, engineering and related fields to improve lives by restoring and extending the capabilities of the human brain. “Several core members, myself included, have existing collaborations with our colleagues at Houston Methodist in the area of neural prosthetics. The creation of the Center for Translational Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces is an exciting development toward achieving our common goals.”

The physical space for the center’s operation includes more than 25,000 square feet of Rice Neuroengineering Initiative laboratories and experimental spaces in the university’s BioScience Research Collaborative, as well as an extensive build-out underway at Houston Methodist’s West Pavilion location that’s expected to be completed late this year. The Houston Methodist facility will include operating rooms and a human laboratory where ongoing patient/volunteer diagnosis and assessment, device fabrication and testing, and education and training opportunities are planned.

“This partnership is a perfect blend of talent,” said Rice’s Marcia O’Malley, a core member of both the new center and university initiative and the Thomas Michael Panos Family Professor in Mechanical Engineering. “We will be able to design studies to test the efficacy of inventions and therapies and rely on patients and volunteers who want to help us test our ideas. The possibilities are limitless.”

Houston Methodist neurobiologist Philip Horner describes the lab as “a merging of wetware with hardware,” where robotics, computers, electronic arrays and other technology — the hardware — is incorporated into the human brain or spinal cord — the wetware. The centerpiece of this working laboratory is a zero-gravity harness connected to a walking track, with cameras and sensors to record feedback, brain activity and other data.

While the Houston Methodist space is being built, collaborations already are underway between the two institutions, which sit across Main Street from one another in the Texas Medical Center. Among them are the following:

  • O’Malley and Houston Methodist’s Dr. Dimitry Sayenko, assistant professor of neurosurgery, will head the first pilot project involving the merging of two technologies to restore hand function following a spinal cord injury or stroke. O’Malley will pair the upper limb exoskeleton she invented with Sayenko’s noninvasive stimulator designed to wake up the spinal cord. Together, they hope these technologies will help patients achieve a more extensive recovery — and at a faster pace.
  • Rice neuroengineer Lan Luan, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Britz, a neurosurgeon, are collaborating on a study to measure the neurovascular response following a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a life-threatening stroke caused by bleeding just outside the brain. Two-thirds of people who suffer these brain bleeds either die or end up with permanent disabilities. Luan invented very small and flexible electrodes that can be implanted in the brain to measure, record and map its activities. Her work with mice could lead to human brain implants that may help patients recover from traumatic brain injuries caused by disease or accidents.
  • Aazhang, Britz and Taiyun Chi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice, are collaborating on the detection of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) from multimodal observations and on alleviating mTBI using neuromodulations. This project is of particular interest to the Department of Defense.
Chaos Ignites Agility Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Chaos Ignites Agility

2020 exposed the collapse of standardization. We are rapidly moving away from an era defined by outdated standards that held people to conformity and limited their creativity—to today’s new era of personalization that honors one’s individual contributions and embraces fresh ideas and ideals,” said Glenn Llopis, president of GLLG, a leadership and business strategy consulting firm that authored a new report available today: CHAOS IGNITES AGILITY (download full report).

CHAOS IGNITES AGILITY captures the most intimate and disruptive insights from 46 executives across healthcare, corporate, and education. These leaders came together virtually for three days last October to share how they are working to restore individual dignity in how they serve patients, customers, employees, and students to thrive in a post-pandemic reality.

Themes emerged across the sectors, as doctors, professors, executives, deans, and presidents got real about how they have been adapting throughout the challenges and unpredictability of 2020. They collectively zeroed in on these major challenges and opportunities:

  • How to put patients, employees, and students at the center – to activate individual capacity.
  • How to lead through industry transformation when there’s so much uncertainty.
  • How to pursue and employ inclusion as a growth strategy going forward.

This riveting video tells the story.

Organizations represented in CHAOS IGNITES AGILITY include:

Healthcare:

  • CVS Health, Mount Sinai Health System, Anthem, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Woman’s Hospital, Lenovo Health, Keck Medicine of USC, City of Hope Cancer Medical Center, and American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

Corporate:

  • Starbucks, Microsoft, Twitter, ViacomCBS, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Cost Plus World Market, Chico’s FAS, Inc., RBC Capital Markets, Farmers Insurance, H&R Block, Lyft, and Banfield Pet Hospital

Higher Education:

  • Clemson University, College of Business, Google, USC Marshall School of Business, Drake University, The Eagle Academy Foundation, Fairfield University, Lynchburg, College of Business, University of Washington, Bothell, University of South Florida, College of Business, California State University, Stanislaus, and Metropolitan Community College

Learn more at Age of Personalization.

relationship illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Find Your Happiness With Hypnotherapy

Cupid has been slacking this year. Singles need to settle for virtual dates if they want to maintain social distancing regulations and have a love life, and relationships have been falling apart all across the globe. So, we need to change the direction of Cupid’s arrow towards ourselves and start practicing self-love.

Loving yourself and caring for yourself first will help you find the happiness you are capable of having.  Society has placed a stigma against single people as if it is a condition brought upon by them being unworthy of love, and some people allow this mindset of others to enter their own thoughts.  Allowing these outside variables to influence your opinion of yourself will only amplify the negative feelings you have about what it means to be alone.  You have the ability to challenge these feelings and these thoughts which will lead you to seeing your own worth.

An effective way to help change your mindset and guide you to a more positive outlook is to practice hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is essentially meditation but with a goal.  So why not take meditation practices a step further?  Hypnotherapy, as the name suggests, is a therapy.  Counter to pop culture depiction of hypnosis associating people clucking like chickens while being hypnotized, hypnotherapy is a proven tool. Albrecht Wobst, H. K. MD, from Anesthesia & Analgesia writes “Contemporary clinical investigators claim that the combination of analgesia and hypnosis is superior to conventional pharmacologic anesthesia for minor surgical cases, with patients and surgeons responding favorably.” Research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy continues to grow.

So, how can we use hypnotherapy to help with loneliness? First, we need to understand hypnotherapy.  Certified clinical hypnotherapist, Christine Deschemin, shares “A typical approach of hypnotherapy is for the hypnotist to deliver verbal suggestions that are tailored to the needs of the client.” She also shares that you can practice hypnotherapy on your own, with just an audio guide from her app, UpNow, to get you started.  “Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state of awareness. This state achieves the ‘bypass of the critical factor’ and as a result enables you to make changes to the self-defeating behaviors and self-limiting beliefs, bringing you then to your desired target state – sleeping better, becoming slimmer, and managing pain more easily for instance.”  

So, we can target the negative feelings triggered from loneliness due to the adverse connotations we associate with being alone through self-hypnosis.  Our subconscious thoughts have a strong impact on the way we view and approach different things in life and by practicing self-hypnosis, we can help change those thoughts.  We can learn how to enjoy our own company and grow to value it.  We can also help diminish anxiety about the future, and the depression and hopelessness that sometimes comes with being single and actively searching for a partner with no avail.  

When you work on yourself first, and you start to manage your own struggles, you will also start to attract better people around you.  Building up your confidence and independence will help you to fearlessly work towards your goals. The closer you get to your goals the more confidence you will have.  Working on yourself and your independence will become your priority, as it should always be.

Remember, being in a relationship is not the determining factor of success, but there is nothing wrong with wanting a partner either.  Yet, in order to love someone else you have to learn to love yourself first, practicing self-hypnosis will help you get there. 

With the pandemic bringing a new type of challenge for those looking for love and happiness, we are in a constant search for new methods of how to cope and navigate those struggles. Christine Deschemin’s app, UpNow, was created to enable people to practice hypnotherapy on their own in a safe and affordable manner. You can use hypnotherapy audios from UpNow to bring you to your full potential and find what you’re looking for. 

DARPA selects Continuity Pharma to fund manufacturing technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has created supply chain gaps in critical drug products, especially those needed for the most critical patients in intensive care units across the country.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) has selected Continuity Pharma, a Purdue University-affiliated company, to develop continuous manufacturing technology. The company was selected for a $1.5 million grant.

DARPA has established a competitive review process, awarding grant funding to companies presenting advanced manufacturing technologies.

Continuity Pharma’s mission is to apply novel continuous manufacturing capabilities to reshore generic drug products to the U.S., with specific focus on drugs in short supply.

“We are thrilled to be selected by DARPA to further our development efforts,” said David Thompson, a Purdue professor of organic chemistry and co-founder and chief scientific officer at Continuity. “We are one step closer to ensuring the availability of essential medicines to patients in need. It is an exciting time for Continuity Pharma.”

Grant specifics include development funding over the next 24 months, with additional funding for commercialization in the subsequent 12 months. Focus areas include capabilities for multiple API manufacturing in the Integrated Continuous Manufacturing System, with demonstrated efficiencies for rapid changeover and manufacturing efficiencies.

Continuity Pharma leaders are working with Purdue Research Foundationofficials to secure additional lab space in Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette.

About Continuity Pharma

Continuity Pharma was formed with the mission to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality essential medicines for patients in need. The company accomplishes this by applying analytical and process design expertise to create modular and portable continuous manufacturing systems for synthesizing essential generic medicines. Using high throughput methodologies, they identify the ideal reaction conditions for preparing the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) to be manufactured efficiently in continuous flow. The result is a high yield of medical-grade API with the least toxic waste and the best opportunity for production on scale. For additional information or questions, contact the company at contact@continuitypharma.com or call 812-805-0038.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue’s intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park, Purdue Technology Centers and University Development Office. In 2020, the IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The foundation received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. For more information about involvement and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.

360 Magazine, Wheelchair

‘UZ Leuven’ Minipacemakers

On Thursday May 28th, the Belgian university hospital UZ Leuven implanted a new type of wireless minipacemaker in a patient. This was a first in Europe. The new generation of minipacemakers allows two times as many patients to qualify, in comparison with the first generation.

The Micra pacemaker is a wireless minipacemaker that has been used in UZ Leuven since 2015. Surgery for such a small pacemaker is a lot less invasive than for a normal pacemaker. The device is placed in the heart via a small incision in the groin. The minipacemaker is invisible to the patient and in the first generation of the device, researchers found that the number of complications could be reduced with 63 percent.

Helping more patients

So far, the minipacemaker could only be used in 16 percent of the patient requiring a pacemaker. “The first generation of the device only measured the heart activity in one ventricle of the heart. Patients that needed to have the heart activity in the atrium measured as well, did not qualify. With this new type of pacemaker, we can also treat patients with a complete interruption of the heart activity between the ventricle and the atrium”, according to dr. Christophe Garweg, cardiologist in UZ Leuven.

With the new generation of the Micra pacemaker, up to 40 percent of the patients could qualify. Dr. Garweg: “The new pacemaker can also measure heart activity in the atrium and as such coordinate the electrical activity between atrium and ventricle. This restores the normal heart rhythm and improves the patient’s quality of life. The minipacemaker operates more or less like a conventional pacemaker, which is implanted under the skin and connected to the heart with two leads.”

First implants

UZ Leuven was actively involved in the development of the new pacemaker. At the moment the new type of pacemaker is only used in the context of clinical trials. At a later time, its use will be extended. In the meantime, the new pacemaker has been implanted in two patients. Both procedures went according to plan, and both patients are doing well.

A revolution for the pacemaker

The development of the wireless pacemaker in 2009 was a big revolution in the history of the pacemaker. It was the first big step forward since the clinical introduction of the pacemaker in the sixties. Worldwide, 35,000 Micra-systems have been implanted. UZ Leuven started with implanting the minipacemakers as the first Belgian hospital in 2015. In the meantime, for Belgium UZ Leuven is the hospital with the most expertise in Micra’s, in Europe it is in the top 5. In Belgium, the technology is not yet reimbursed so for now UZ Leuven finances the device for the patient with its own means.

Pacemaker and bradycardia

A pacemaker is required when a patient’s heart rhythm is too low (bradycardia) and medication is no longer sufficient. It stops the heart from pumping enough oxygenated blood through the body. Patients experience difficulty during physical exercise: they faint, tire quickly, and run out of breath more quickly. A pacemaker replaces the heart’s natural rhythm thanks to electrical impulses.

Paul Basagoitia, MTB, HBO films, Red Bull Films, 360 MAGAZINE

#AnyOneOfUsHBO

The feature-length presentation marks the first-ever partnership between HBO Sports and Red Bull Films, telling a story that begins on October 16, 2015, the date of Basagoitia’s traumatic injury, and unfolding in real time through raw, intimate footage — much filmed by Paul himself — of the agonies of an unpredictable journey and uncertain future. Directed by Fernando Villena, the film features a chorus of other diverse spinal cord injuries (SCI) survivors, shining a light on the struggles that Basagoitia and all SCI patients confront every day, and the hope that drives them.

The film debuts Tuesday, October 29th at 9PM on HBO.