Here is the full transcript for the Advancing Medicine/Taking Charge: Men & Health:
Denise D'Ascenzo: "Okay. That sounds great. Oh. They're here. I have to go. Bye."
GENTLEMEN, WE NEED TO TALK. COME ON OVER. YES, I'M TALKING TO YOU. HUMOR ME FOR JUST A MINUTE HERE. YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES. AND MOST OF YOU - NOT ALL OF YOU, BUT MOST OF YOU - YOU'RE NOT DOING IT! STUDIES BACK ME UP ON THIS. YOU'RE NOT GOING FOR REGULAR CHECKUPS. YOU'RE NOT GETTING THOSE MEDICAL TESTS DONE. MAYBE YOU'RE NOT EATING RIGHT. AND WE, AS THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU, WELL, WE WANT YOU TO LISTEN.
"I'm the man, I'm the man, I'm the man … "
YOU ARE THE MAN! AND WE WANT YOU HEALTHY. SO TONIGHT, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HOW ADVANCES IN MEDICINE CAN HELP. WE'RE TALKING PROSTATE, HEART DISEASE AND WEIGHT LOSS. WOW, WHAT A TRANSFORMATION THERE, RIGHT?
STICK AROUND! YOU'LL LEARN A LOT. WE PROMISE. "ADVANCING MEDICINE TAKING CHARGE: MEN & HEALTH" STARTS NOW!!
"I'm the man, I'm the man, I'm the man … "
Denise D'Ascenzo: That was luck! Hi. I'm Denise D'Ascenzo joining you from Bradley Bowl in Windsor Locks. I'd say I'm an okay bowler, but Ray D'Amato is really good. We met him here in March, just four days before he had weight loss surgery.
RAY D'AMATO'S 'GOT GAME', KNOCKING DOWN PINS LIKE IT'S NOBODY'S BUSINESS.
RAY IS A POWER PLAYER … A BIG GUY WHO'S BEEN ACTIVE SINCE HE WAS A CHILD.
Ray D'Amato: "Played flag football into my 50s. You know, I traveled around the country playing softball until my 50s and then the knees started giving out."
HIS WEIGHT BATTLE HAS BEEN A CONSTANT IN HIS LIFE.
Ray D'Amato: "You gain five pounds. And ten pounds. And twenty pounds. The next thing you know, I went from 300 pounds to 365 before I knew it. And then you're like in no man's land."
HE DIDN'T REALIZE HOW BIG HE REALLY WAS.
Ray D'Amato: "Your mind plays tricks on you. Even when you're that big, you don't think you're that big."
BUT MOUNTING MEDICAL ISSUES TOLD THE REAL STORY.
Ray D'Amato: "The next thing you know, my heart went into a-fib. Then I got diabetes. And it just started to cascade and I says 'you know, I want to retire in four or five years. I want to enjoy my retirement.'"
SO AFTER A LOT OF THOUGHT AND IN CONSULTATION WITH DOCTORS, HE DECIDED HE WOULD HAVE WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY. HE TURNED TO HARTFORD HOSPITAL'S CHIEF OF BARIATRIC SURGERY, DR. DARREN TISHLER.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "I think the simplest view of how weight loss surgery works is .. to really think of it as giving you a smaller stomach."
AMONG THE THREE MOST COMMON WEIGHT LOSS SURGERIES IS GASTRIC BYPASS, ALSO KNOWN AS THE ROUX-EN-Y PROCEDURE. DOCTORS FIRST SECTION OFF A SMALL POUCH FROM THE STOMACH.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "We then bypass the rest of the stomach and the first part of the small intestines and then connect things up again further downstream."
IN DOING SO, THE BODY ABSORBS FEWER CALORIES LEADING TO WEIGHT LOSS. BUT IT ALSO ABSORBS FEWER NUTRIENTS, SO SUPPLEMENTS ARE IMPORTANT.
ANOTHER SURGICAL OPTION: THE GASTRIC BAND PROCEDURE.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "This procedure involves putting a small silicone band on the upper part of the stomach and by doing that we're able to give a very small stomach above the band."
THEN THERE'S THE SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY IN WHICH ABOUT 80 PERCENT OF THE STOMACH IS REMOVED. AS IN, CUT OUT. THE RESULT?
Dr. Darren Tishler: "A patient has a smaller stomach and therefore they eat less food because they feel full faster. But the other effect of the sleeve gastrectomy is one that's a little harder to understand and fully quantify. And that is the fact that after someone eats a meal, in between meals, they don't feel hungry."
AND FOR PEOPLE WHO SAY 'WHY HAVE THE SURGERY? WHY NOT JUST STICK WITH EXERCISE AND DIETING?
Dr. Darren Tishler: "The typical very low calorie diet - something like an Atkins diet or a South Beach diet - you're able to lose weight in the short-term but over three to five year period, that weight usually comes back in more than 90-95% of patients."
PLUS, HE EMPHASIZES, AFTER SURGERY …
Dr. Darren Tishler: "Patients just don't feel hungry in between meals or even at meal time like they did before the surgery."
RAY OPTED FOR THE GASTRIC SLEEVE PROCEDURE. AFTER A COMPREHENSIVE WORK-UP,
Dr. Darren Tishler: " All of our patients need to see a psychologist, a nutritionist and a cardiologist before surgery."
HE WAS PUT ON A DIET AHEAD OF THE SURGERY.
Ray D'Amato: "I've already lost like 45 pounds."
RAY WAS CLEARED FOR SURGERY. BUT DAYS BEFORE THE OPERATION, A CURVE BALL. HIS PRE-SURGERY BLOOD WORK SHOWED HIS POTASSIUM LEVELS WERE TOO LOW TO GO FORWARD.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "One of the side effects of his medications he's on is that it can drive the potassium levels down. Now low potassium level is a, can be a very life-threatening problem when it comes to surgery."
SO HE WAS ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL THE WEEKEND BEFORE. AND THOSE POTASSIUM LEVELS WERE BROUGHT BACK INTO A SAFE RANGE.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "Excited for this?"
Ray: "Excited. Nervous."
IT'S MONDAY, MARCH 17TH. SURGERY DAY. DR. TISHLER AND THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST GO OVER SOME FINAL INFORMATION.
Anesthesiologist: "We went over anesthesia to your satisfaction? You understand?"
Ray: "You're going to put me out."
AND THEN RAY IS WHEELED DOWN TO THE OPERATING ROOM.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "The surgery is being done laparoscopically through five small incisions. Surgery itself takes about an hour to do."
WITH RAY UNDER ANESTHESIA, DOCTOR TISHLER AND THE SURGICAL TEAM FIRST MAKE THE FIVE INCISIONS THROUGH WHICH THE TOOLS AND A CAMERA WILL BE INSERTED. THEY ALSO PUMP CARBON DIOXIDE INTO THE ABDOMEN TO OPEN UP THE AREA TO SEE BETTER.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "Here's his liver right here."
AND OVER HERE.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "So this is Ray's stomach. You can see the full size of it here."
DR. TISHLER MUST CAREFULLY FREE UP THE STOMACH WHERE IT'S ATTACHED TO THE DIAPHRAGM AND THE SPLEEN AND INTERNAL FAT.
HE ALSO HAS TO SHUT OFF A GOOD NUMBER OF THE BLOOD VESSELS THAT FEED INTO IT.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "We're just looking at a few of the end marks on the stomach to help us really know exactly where to start cutting the stomach."
WITH THAT SOUND, THE DIVISION OF THE STOMACH STARTS.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "The side right here I'm pointing at is staying. And this side is coming out."
OVER A PERIOD OF MINUTES, DR. TISHLER PUTS TITANIUM STAPLES DOWN THE LENGTH OF THE STOMACH.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "This is the last staple here. We're finishing up that last bit of, you can see how it's going to be separated right there. Once I finish this up. That looks real good. So now our stomach should be free. Here's the part of the stomach that we're taking out."
AFTER CHECKING TO MAKE SURE THE NOW SMALLER STOMACH WON'T LEAK, THE REMNANT STOMACH IS REMOVED.
Dr. Darren Tishler: "Here we go."
THE OPERATION'S BEEN UNDERWAY FOR LESS THAN AN HOUR.
THE TEAM THEN WORKS TO STITCH UP THOSE FIVE INCISIONS BEFORE RAY IS ROLLED DOWN THE HALL TO RECOVERY.
Denise D'Ascenzo: WHILE THE MAJORITY OF PATIENTS DO VERY WELL AFTER WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY, THERE ARE SOME WHO HAVE A HARDER TIME KEEPING THE WEIGHT OFF LONG-TERM. WHY IS THAT? AND HOW CAN THE ODDS FOR SUCCESS BE IMPROVED? DOES GENDER MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO SUCCESS? THESE ARE ISSUES NOW BEING INVESTIGATED HERE AT THE INSTITUTE OF LIVING.
Dr. Pavlos Papasavas: "We're trying to investigate factors that will predict success of bariatric surgery."
DR. PAVLOS PAPASAVAS IS A BARIATRIC SURGEON AND DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH FOR HARTFORD HOSPITAL. HE'S TEAMED UP WITH DR. GODFREY PEARLSON AT THE INSTITUTE OF LIVING. THEY'RE INVOLVED IN A STUDY THAT THEY HOPE WILL GIVE THEM INFORMATION THAT WILL HELP FUTURE BARIATRIC SURGERY PATIENTS.
TO DO THAT, THEY'RE WORKING WITH CURRENT BARIATRIC SURGERY PATIENTS. THESE PATIENTS UNDERGO WHAT'S KNOWN AS A FUNCTIONAL M-R-I - OR f-M-R-I - BEFORE SURGERY AND A YEAR OUT OF SURGERY.
EACH PATIENT PUTS ON A HEAD GEAR LIKE THIS AND GETS INTO THE M-R-I- MACHINE. THIS ONE IS SPECIALIZED AND CAN ACCOMMODATE PATIENTS UP TO 600 POUNDS.
WHILE LAYING IN THE MACHINE, PATIENTS ARE PRESENTED WITH PICTURES OF FOOD. BRAIN SIGNALS ARE RECORDED WHEN THEY SEE DIFFERENT FOODS. THE F-M-R-I WILL SHOW WHAT PART OF THE BRAIN IS TRIGGERED WHEN THEY SEE THE IMAGES. DO THEY RESPOND IMPULSIVELY? EMOTIONALLY?
THEY'RE PRESENTED WITH MONEY CHALLENGES THAT ADDRESS MOTIVATION. HOW MUCH OF A ROLE DOES THAT PLAY IN A PATIENT'S SUCCESS?
Dr. Godfrey Pearlson: "Some people may be kind of driven by just their inability to control their cravings. Other people may be driven kind of by momentary pleasures - 'this feels good right now, don't think about the future'. Other people may be more related to binge eating, which may be related to mood disorders. So someone can present with the same behavior, but behind that behavior are very different motivations and different problems. And the more we can find that out, the more we can address a therapy that's tailored for that individual."
THE EARLY OUTCOME OF RAY D'AMATO'S GASTRIC SLEEVE PROCEDURE IS A GOOD ONE. TEN WEEKS POST-SURGERY HE'S DOWN ANOTHER 35 POUNDS.
Ray D'Amato: "Now I can, can eat whatever I want, just smaller portions."
ONE SIGNIFICANT MEDICAL ISSUE HE HAD PRE-SURGERY IS NOT AN ISSUE AT ALL NOW.
Ray D'Amato: "I never took any diabetes medication since I left the hospital. Diabetes was gone."
RAY IS CONVINCED THE SURGERY WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR HIM … AND HE'S RECOMMENDING IT TO OTHERS.
Ray D'Amato: "It's the best thing you can do for yourself. It's really, it's worth it. It's life changing."
SO WHAT DOES LIFE LOOK LIKE YEARS OUT OF WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY? LATER IN THE SHOW, WE'LL CATCH UP WITH CHRIS KUBICK. HE'S FACED A LOT OF STRESSES IN LIFE - BOTH GOOD AND BAD - SINCE WE FIRST MET HIM. HAS HE KEPT THE WEIGHT OFF?
AND NEXT, PROSTATE PROBLEMS. WE'LL SHOW YOU THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY THAT'S HELPING DIAGNOSE THEM EARLY. ADVANCING MEDICINE RETURNS IN LESS THAN A MINUTE.
Denise D'Ascenzo: If you think back, this winter was a rough one. Remember how bitterly cold it was? And the skies seemed to be perpetually gray.
But then spring arrived, finally! And with it, sunshine, warmth and for a West Hartford man: hope.
Avi Elnekave: The whole winter was imprinted, if you like, with this whole business of the cancer. I didn't really feel how it, it impacted on my life. But when I was done, it's then that I saw spring coming, everyone blooming, everything coming back and I came back also."
WE FIRST MET AVI ELNEKAVE IN MID-MARCH. HE HAD JUST STARTED RADIATION TREATMENTS FOR PROSTATE CANCER.
Avi Elnekave: "The radiation I started yesterday, which was the 18th of March."
OFTEN THE FIRST HINT OF A PROBLEM IS WHEN BLOOD TESTS REVEAL A HIGH PSA LEVEL. HERE'S UROLOGIC ONCOLOGIST DR. JOSEPH WAGNER.
Dr. Joseph Wagner: "There's a whole bunch of things that can cause your PSA to be elevated: an enlarged prostate, an inflamed prostate. Prostate cancer."
FOR A PERIOD OF YEARS, AVI'S PSA NUMBERS WERE HIGH. HIS DOCTORS KEPT AN EYE ON THINGS . REPEATED BIOPSIES OF HIS PROSTATE NEVER SHOWED ANY CANCER.
Dr. Steven Shichman: "It was comforting for him to see that he already had over 50 needle cores, almost 60 needle cores taken out of his prostate and there was no evidence of cancer. Unfortunately with subsequent blood tests, his PSA continued to rise."
Dr. Shichman: "So we'll have an ultrasound image with this three dimensional overlay."
IN JANUARY, AVI'S UROLOGIST DR. STEVEN SHICHMAN SUGGESTED HE UNDERGO A NEW HIGH-TECH SCAN, SOMETHING HARTFORD HOSPITAL JUST ACQUIRED, CALLED M-R-I FUSION IMAGING.
Dr. Steven Shichman: "Fortunately, that is what helped us diagnose his prostate cancer."
IN A TRADITIONAL BIOPSY, THE UROLOGY TEAM TAKES RANDOM SAMPLES FROM THE DIFFERENT QUADRANTS OF THE PROSTATE WITH THE HELP OF ULTRASOUND TECHNOLOGY.
THE M-R-I FUSION TECHNOLOGY HELPS DOCTORS BETTER TARGET THESE BIOPSIES. DR. ANDREW SALNER IS A RADIATION ONCOLOGIST AND DIRECTOR OF THE HARTFORD HEALTHCARE CANCER INSTITUTE AT HARTFORD HOSPITAL.
Dr. Andrew Salner: "Now with this wonderful tool of MRI, we can specifically identify an area where the cancer cells may be residing. We then can fuse that image onto the ultrasound and actually know exactly where to pinpoint the biopsy, so that it's become a really wonderful technique for having the biopsies have a much higher yield in terms of whether there's cancer present or not."
Denise: "When you look at it, this technology may have saved his life."
Dr. Steven Shichman: "Absolutely."
ANOTHER ADVANTAGE OF M-R-I FUSION?
Dr. Steven Shichman: "What this technology does is it helps us find prostate cancer and especially the prostate cancer that are, are of higher grade or more aggressive type."
THE MOST COMMON TREATMENTS:
Dr. Steven Shichman: "Active surveillance and watchful waiting is one category. Another category would be radiation therapy options. And a third category would be surgical options."
BECAUSE PROSTATE CANCERS CAN BE SLOW-GROWING, ACTIVE SURVEILLANCE - JUST MONITORING THE CANCER WITH P-S-A CHECKS, ULTRASOUND BIOPSIES AND NOW M-R-I FUSION-GUIDED BIOPSIES - IS ENOUGH. THE CANCER MAY NEVER BECOME A PROBLEM.
SURGERY IS ANOTHER OPTION. DR. WAGNER BROUGHT MINIMALLY INVASIVE ROBOTIC PROSTATE SURGERY TO HARTFORD HOSPITAL.
Dr. Joseph Wagner: "In robotic surgery, we put in five tubes, each about the size of a … bigger size pen. And we pass instruments and cameras through that and hook them to the arms of a robot. And perform the surgery that way."
BECAUSE OF AVI'S AGE - HE'S OVER 75 - DOCTORS SUGGESTED RADIATION WAS THE WAY TO GO.
Dr. Andrew Salner: "That's done either with external radiation through a process called IMRT - intensity modulated radiation therapy, a treatment that's given daily five days a week for about eight weeks. Or with a … through a seed implant where we actually - we place radioactive seeds inside the prostate and the radiation is therefore given from the inside out."
DR. SALNER IS AVI'S ONCOLOGIST.
Dr. Andrew Salner: "The external radiation with IMRT was really a treatment that would offer him a high likelihood of success in eradicating the cancer, but it also would allow him to have normal function."
AND FUNCTION - BOTH URINARY AND SEXUAL - IS A CONCERN EXPRESSED BY PATIENTS WITH PROSTATE CANCER.
Dr. Andrew Salner: "Erectile function is preserved in most patients who get treatment for prostate cancer these days both for surgery and radiation. Sixty, seventy, eighty percent of men will preserve their erectile function and those that don't can have some restoration of their erectile function with medication."
THOSE CONCERNS ARE ALSO COMMON TO MEN WITH ENLARGED PROSTATES, WHICH TENDS TO HAPPEN AFTER THE AGE OF 50.
THE PROSTATE GLAND - WHICH IS NORMALLY ABOUT THE SIZE OF A WALNUT - HAS A JOB.
Dr. Joseph "Pepe" Wagner: "The function of the prostate is to secrete um .. juices that sort of support the sperm and the female genital track for fertility."
IT SITS BELOW THE BLADDER. THE URETHRA IS THE TUBE - IF YOU WILL - THAT CARRIES THE URINE FROM THE BLADDER OUT OF THE BODY. IT PASSES THROUGH THE PROSTATE. IF THE PROSTATE IS ENLARGED, THAT TUBE CAN GET PINCHED, AFFECTING THE FLOW OF URINE. HERE'S UROLOGIST DR. ART TARANTINO.
Dr. Art Tarantino: "The biggest issue is that there's been a change in their daily or nightly urinary habits that's beginning to affect their lifestyle, be it work or play."
WHILE THESE PROBLEMS CAN BE PROSTATE-RELATED, SOMETIMES SOMETHING ELSE IS TO BLAME, LIKE AN INFECTION OR EVEN DIABETES.
Dr. Art Tarantino: "Sometimes it's a sign of a change in how our body is handling fluids and we may be some of the first physicians to find diabetes for the first time because of that."
MEN CAN HAVE ENLARGED PROSTATES AND HAVE NO SYMPTOMS.
WHAT ABOUT CANCER? ARE THESE URINARY ISSUES A SIGN OF PROSTATE CANCER? NOT TYPICALLY, ACCORDING TO DR. TARANTINO.
Dr. Art Tarantino: "Most prostate cancers are discovered way before they get to a point where they would develop any physical changes in the prostate enough to cause changes to urinary habits. "
A HIGH PSA ISN'T ALWAYS INDICATIVE OF CANCER, BY THE WAY. BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS … AND THAT MEANS GETTING TO A DOCTOR.
FOR AVI, THE NUMBERS WERE A SIGN OF CANCER. AND HE'S DEALING WITH IT.
HE FINISHED RADIATION LAST MONTH. NOW HE'S WORKING THROUGH THE AFTEREFFECTS OF A HORMONE SHOT THAT HELPS BOOST THE RADIATION'S EFFECTS.
AND HE'S MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER TO FINALLY BEAT THIS CANCER.
Avi Elkenave: "I know this is a fight, this is a battle that I have to finish. And I will."
HE AND HIS WIFE ARE THANKFUL FOR THOSE WHO JOINED THE BATTLE WITH THEM.
Helen Rauch-Elnekave, Ph.D: "I happen to be a medical psychologist. And the attitude of doctors and the emotional contact with their clients is probably as important as whatever medication and treatments they prescribe and both of these doctors have it, have it down."
AS HAPPY AS AVI WAS TO FINISH RADIATION, HE ADMITS TO BEING SAD ON THAT LAST DAY.
Avi Elnekave: "It was very hard for me to part from these wonderful people who took care of me. They are really … something."
Denise D'Ascenzo: "When we come back … a heart to heart about the heart … and the new approach to stopping atrial fibrillation that has this man playing in the park. Plus look, twins!! See why weight loss surgery isn't just about the weight.
Stay with us!!
IT'S A BUSY MORNING AT FIRST CLASS BARBER SHOP IN WINDSOR. IN BETWEEN THE BUZZING, TRIMMING AND STYLING, THE MEN HERE ARE GETTING SOME POTENTIALLY LIFE-SAVING INFORMATION.
Stanley Sanders: "I just learned a little something more today."
"We die quicker. It's just the facts."
Greg Jones: "October 2012 we started a Take Charge of Your Health series, the Black Men's Health Project".
GREG JONES IS A MEMBER OF HARTFORD HOSPITAL'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND IS ONE OF THE FORCES BEHIND THIS EFFORT.
Greg Jones: "We do monthly visits to barber shops and churches in our community to talk about health, encouraging people to be responsive to take care of their health but also to be aware of the chronic diseases that we suffer from."
AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN HAVE HIGHER RATES OF CERTAIN CANCERS.
Dr. Andrew Salner: "Men of African American or West Indian descent have a higher risk of prostate cancer by approximately 50 percent and have a higher risk of dying of prostate cancer by almost 100% as compared to Caucasian men."
AND COLON CANCER?
Dr. Salner: "It is a slightly higher rate and is a higher mortality rate. And we believe a lot of that is due to access to screening and early detection."
THE OUTREACH INCLUDES SCREENING FOR COLON CANCERS. AND NURSES LIKE VICIE BROOKS CHECK FOR OTHER ISSUES, TOO, INCLUDING HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.
Vicie Brooks: "Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal failure. So it's all related to the high blood pressure."
"We don't like greater than 120."
IF THEY SEE SOMETHING THEY DON'T LIKE, THEY GET THESE GUYS TO UNDERSTAND THEY NEED TO BE TREATED AND THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED WITH STANLEY SANDERS, WHOSE BLOOD PRESSURE WAS A LITTLE BIT HIGH.
Stanley Sanders: "I'll make my appointments."
Denise D'Ascenzo: ACCORDING TO THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, HEART DISEASE IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN MEN.
SOME HEART ISSUES ARE RELATED TO THE HEART'S PLUMBING - LIKE BLOCKAGES - AND OTHERS ARE THE RESULT OF FAULTY WIRING IN THE HEART OR ELECTRICAL ISSUES. ONE SUCH PROBLEM IS ATRIAL FIBRILLATION.
Chris Jeffers: "I was a healthy guy. I was athletic."
MEET CHRIS JEFFERS, CALIFORNIA TRANSPLANT. NOW CONNECTICUT RESIDENT. AND GLOBAL ADVENTURER.
Deckie Jeffers: "This is in Mongolia … "
IT WAS TWENTY YEARS AGO ON A CLIMB WITH FRIENDS THAT HE NOTICED SOMETHING WAS 'OFF'.
Chris Jeffers: "I moved very slowly. And I didn't associate that with anything other than encroaching old age. I had - before that - begun to notice particularly when I was just going to bed, a strange rhythm in my heart."
SO HE SAW A CARDIOLOGIST IN CALIFORNIA WHO DIAGNOSED HIM WITH ATRIAL FIBRILLATION.
Dr. Robert Hagberg: "Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia that patients have in the United States and in the world. That is a disorganized rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart, the atria."
REALIZING THE STRANGE RHYTHM WASN'T GOING AWAY ON ITS OWN, HIS DOCTOR PUT HIM ON MEDICATION. THAT WAS PLAN 'B'.
Chris Jeffers: "It worked … "
BUT AFTER A PERIOD OF MONTHS,
Chris Jeffers: "I noticed that I was back into arrhythmia, bad rhythm."
SO THEY TRIED THE NEXT THING: PLAN 'C' - ELECTROVERSION - DONE IN THE HOSPITAL.
Chris Jeffers: "Basically the idea is to stop the heart, restart it and it tends, the heart tends very much of the time to restart normally."
THAT WORKED FOR A BIT. AND THEN IT DIDN'T.
Chris Jeffers: "We continued Plan C a couple of times. I think I must have had three electroversions. After my third electroversion, we were in Asia and we did a pretty arduous climb up to 14 thousand feet and I notably made it up to, to the destination really well."
Denise D'Ascenzo: THINGS WERE GOOD. BUT THEN THE A-FIB CAME BACK AGAIN. THEN IT WENT AWAY ON ITS OWN. AND THEN IT WAS BACK: DECADES OF THIS BACK AND FORTH. EVENTUALLY IT JUST DIDN'T GO AWAY ANY MORE.
DOCTORS AT HARTFORD HOSPITAL'S A-FIB CENTER HAVE A NUMBER OF OPTIONS FOR ATRIAL FIBRILLATION. SOME A-FIB CAN BE FIXED WITH A PROCEDURE THROUGH A CATHETER IN THE LEG THAT WILL PUT AN END TO THE CHAOTIC BEATS. BUT BECAUSE CHRIS HAD WHAT'S KNOWN AS LONG-STANDING PERSISTENT ATRIAL FIBRILLATION,
Dr. Hagberg: " - which means that the patient is always in atrial fibrillation - "
A CATHETER APPROACH WOULD LIKELY NOT BE EFFECTIVE.
SO HE CONSULTED WITH DR. ROBERT HAGBERG, CHIEF OF CARDIOTHORACIC SURGERY AT HARTFORD HOSPITAL, WHO TOLD HIM ABOUT SOMETHING NEW THE HOSPITAL WAS OFFERING, CALLED THE COX MAZE FOUR PROCEDURE.
Chris Jeffers: "They open up your chest and go in and create walls and moats around this rogue source of nerve impulses that was sending the heart into irregular rhythms."
HOW DOES DR. HAGBERG CREATE THOSE WALLS AND MOATS?
Dr. Robert Hagberg: "You create that maze by either burning, freezing or cutting both atria in a pattern so that the, the maze allows the normal electrical activity to start at the top part of the heart and go to the bottom part of the heart."
Denise D'Ascenzo: "It almost seems counter-intuitive because we're told to take care of our hearts, yet the treatment involves burning or cutting or freezing."
Dr. Robert Hagberg: "It's probably about 2% of the overall muscle of the atria that we are actually doing this to. The rest of the atrial tissue is okay. It doesn't suffer."
CHRIS HAD THE SURGERY LAST AUGUST. HIS A-FIB IS FINALLY GONE.
Chris: "What can I say? It's a full great, great success."
THE PROOF IS IN THE PARK - BUSHNELL PARK - WHERE WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM FOR A LITTLE FRISBEE.
TO SHOW HIS APPRECIATION TO DR. HAGBERG, HE AND HIS WIFE DECKIE HAD HIM OVER FOR DINNER AND TREATED HIM TO A MUSICAL PERFORMANCE WITH AN APPROPRIATE THEME.
Dr. Hagberg: "We had a great time … "
BEFORE WE LEAVE YOU TONIGHT, JUST A QUICK UPDATE ON A GENTLEMAN WE FEATURED IN AN ADVANCING MEDICINE EPISODE THREE YEARS AGO. CHRIS KUBICK STRUGGLED WITH HIS WEIGHT FOR A LONG TIME.
Chris Kubick: "My highest ever was 489."
HE FOUND IT DIFFICULT TO SATISFY HIS HUNGER, SO HE ATE, A LOT.
Chris Kubick: "I was doing about 5500-6000 calories a day."
HE GOT TO A POINT WHERE HE REALIZED HE HAD TO TAKE CONTROL. SO IN APRIL 2009, HE HAD GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY.
HE DID GREAT. AND WAS HAPPY TO SHOW US THE RESULTS.
Chris Kubick: "At one point these were actually tight on me."
TWO YEARS OUT, HE HAD LOST NEARLY THREE HUNDRED POUNDS.
SO HOW IS HE NOW, FIVE YEARS OUT?
WHILE THE MAJORITY OF PATIENTS KEEP THE WEIGHT DOWN, HAVING BARIATRIC SURGERY DOES NOT GUARANTEE WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS.
Dr. Pavlos Papasavas: "It's not an easy process. It's a life-long struggle to defend all the weight being lost."
BUT CHRIS IS SUCCEEDING. WHILE HE'S ADMITTEDLY LITTLE HEAVIER THAN WHEN WE FIRST MET HIM,
Chris Kubick: "I got to a period where I was too thin and even Dr. Papasavas and the nursing staff told me I needed to increase my amount of food intake."
HE'S FOUND A GOOD, COMFORTABLE AND HEALTHY WEIGHT FOR HIM.
Chris Kubick: "I've been there steadily for about three, three and a half years."
HE'S COME THROUGH SOME PRETTY STRESSFUL TIMES WITHOUT ADDING POUNDS.
WHAT HE HAS ADDED TO HIS LIFE? TWO BABY GIRLS. MEET RILEY AND REAGAN: TWINS!!
Chris: "What? We're busy and without that weight I'm able to run around with them and do what I have to do. It's been, it's been an interesting journey."
Denise D'Ascenzo: WE END THE SHOW WHERE WE STARTED, HERE AT BRADLEY BOWL. GENTLEMEN, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO!
HAVE FUN, BUT TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES!
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, WE HAVE DOCTORS IN OUR STUDIO RIGHT NOW WHO CAN ANSWER THEM. EVEN ON THE MORE SENSITIVE TOPICS! THE NUMBER: 1-800-688-WFSB. THAT'S 1-800-688-9372. THEY'LL ALSO BE CONDUCTING A WEBCHAT. JUST LOG ON TO WFSB.COM FOR THAT.
"ADVANCING MEDICINE" RETURNS IN SEPTEMBER WITH A BRAND-NEW EPISODE.
WE HOPE YOU'LL JOIN US THEN. I'M DENISE D'ASCENZO. HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.