New therapy can diminish symptoms of heart diseases

EECP at Botsford Hospital

Enhanced External Counter Pulsation Therapy, or EECP, being performed at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, MI.

Patients suffering from ischemic heart diseases often experience symptoms including chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath and low energy levels in their daily lives.  George F. Riley was no exception, so when he found relief from a new noninvasive treatment while in Florida, he made sure Botsford Hospital could also offer it to people here in Michigan.

Thanks to a generous donation by Mr. Riley, Botsford has added a new piece of equipment called Enhanced External Counter Pulsation Therapy, or EECP.  It’s a safe, non-invasive, outpatient treatment option for patients suffering from ischemic heart disease, such as angina and heart failure.

The therapy involves the patient wearing large blood pressure-like cuffs over the lower body which inflate and deflate, increasing the force of the blood flow to the heart.  The procedure is done an hour a day, five days a week, for a total of 35 hours.

EECP has helped hundreds of thousands of patients around the world. Clinical studies show that more than 75 percent of patients benefit from EECP with sustained improvement up to three years post-treatment. Patients receiving

George F. Riley

George F. Riley

the therapy have reported:

  • Relief from chest pain
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Fewer episodes of shortness of breath
  • Improvements in energy and strength

Mr. Riley is feeling much better now and says the treatment

made him feel “much more energetic,” adding that “the effects really last.”

Learn more about Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) or cardiology services at Botsford Hospital.

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Junior Optimists Deliver Magic Hugs to Kids at Botsford Hospital

Junior Optimists Deliver Magic Hugs to Kids at Botsford Hospital

Dr. Sanford Vieder (far right) accepting a donation of magical stuffed animals for children treated or visiting Botsford Trauma and Emergency Center. Left to right: Cathy Neal (Junior Optimist Advisor), Diana Kohler (The Botsford Foundation), Morgan Webb (Junior Optimist), Dana Iles (Junior Optimist), Dr. Sanford Vieder.

Being in an emergency room can create anxiety in anyone, but what if you’re just a child? Imagine being young, not sure what’s going on and you’re sick, hurt, scared or worried about a loved one. That image is just what inspired a group of Farmington Hills-area high school students to take action.

Wanting to do something to ease children’s anxiety at Botsford Hospital, the Farmington United Junior Optimist Club donated brand new Beanie Babies wrapped in Magic Hugs Squares. The tag on the Magic Hugs Square reads: “This magic blanket was made especially for you.  It is made out of hugs.  When you are sad or mad or scared or bored, hold this square close to you and it will give you the comfort of a million hugs.  It will love you no matter what!”

And the lovable plush toys just might work. EMTs in Missouri have been handing out stuffed animals for years and have found that they actually do calm children and lessen fears.

Giving back to the community has already started to pay off for Junior Optimists Morgan Webb and Dana Iles. While they were here making their special delivery, the Harrison High School students were treated to a tour of Botsford Trauma and Emergency Center by medical director Dr. Sanford Vieder. They had a great learning experience and Dr. Vieder even gave them sage advice on becoming a doctor. As it turns out Dr. Vieder is a Harrison High grad himself, so they’re already on their way!

The Farmington United Junior Optimist Club is comprised of high school students from Harrison, Farmington and North Farmington High Schools.  They are one of the many Junior Optimist clubs in our area sponsored by the Farmington/Farmington Hills Breakfast Optimist Club.  For more information about Junior Optimists clubs go to their website at

If you’d like to donate or find another way to make a difference for patients at Botsford, visit

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Happy EECP Week! Celebrating a new way to mend a broken heart

EECP therapy is demonstrated here by two Botsford Hospital employees. It’s a non-invasive treatment for angina and heart failure.

There’s a new way to help mend a broken heart – with a treatment called EECP therapy. In fact, this new treatment now has it’s own week, which happens to be this week. EECP Week was created to raise awareness of this new treatment of angina and heart failure and honors the American Heart Association’s Heart Month.

So in honor of EECP Week and Heart Month, we thought we’d explain this new therapy.

What is EECP therapy?
EECP therapy, or Enhanced External Counterpulsation therapy, is noninvasive, meaning no instruments are entered into the body. Instead, inflatable cuffs are worn on the lower half of the body, and as they inflate and deflate, blood flow is increased to the heart and through the body.

Am I a candidate for EECP therapy?
Only your health care provider can say for sure, but you might want to start the conversation with him or her if you experience angina pain that is not relieved with medication and are unable to have one of the more traditional treatments such as balloon angioplasty or bypass surgery. EECP may also be an option if you have had angioplasty or bypass surgery, yet continue to suffer from chest pain. Many people are not good candidates for EECP however, including those with severe heart failure, who are taking certain medications or have implanted devices (among others).

Learn more about EECP therapy at Botsford Hospital.

EECP Week was initiated by the International EECP Therapists Association (IETA) and Vasomedical, Inc., the company behind the EECP equipment.

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How to read food labels

How to read food labels with Annie House RD Botsford HospitalThose nutrition food labels — you’ve seen them on almost every prepared food item in the grocery store.  They’ve been mandated since 1990 and they’re meant to give you the information you need to make smart, healthy food choices.  But sometimes they can be confusing and even downright misleading.

So Annie House, a Botsford Hospital registered dietitian, sat down with the Farmington Hills/Farmington Commission on Children, Youth and Families to explain those sometimes daunting nutrition food labels.

Tips to interpret & better understand food labels

Annie advises us to pay attention to the number of servings per container.  This is important because you have to multiply all the other numbers on the label by this number if you eat the whole container.  So if a food label says there are 45 calories in a serving, but the package includes 2.5 “servings per container,” that really means if you eat the whole container you’re really getting 45 calories multiplied by 2.5, which is 112.5 calories!

Annie also points out that the foods we should be eating the most don’t have food labels on them!  These include items found on the perimeter of the grocery store such as fruits, vegetables and fresh meats.  Annie says “the closer you can get to nature with these foods is better” because they don’t have additives in them.  Although most of these foods don’t have nutrition labels, they are packed with nutrition!  So try to include more of these in your diet and you’ll be making a big first step to healthier eating.

You can see the full video interview here.  Annie’s interview is about 25 minutes long but if you’ve ever found yourself confused by food labels, it’s worth watching the whole thing. You will learn:

  • Why food labels are important
  • What will you find on the food label
  • How to be an educated consumer
  • The first thing you should look at on the label
  • What a calorie is
  • Why labels are sometimes misleading
  • What each of the items on the label mean, such as total fat, saturated fat, % Daily Value
  • What are good fats and what are bad fats
  • The key to carbohydrates
  • What protein is and what the best types of protein to eat are
  • What ingredients to look for and avoid
  • Code words for sugar and sugar substitutes
  • Identify possible allergens
  • Finding nutritious options at restaurants

If you’d like to learn more about nutrition, healthy eating or even eating to prevent or control diabetes, browse the Botsford Hospital events calendar.  We have many workshops, demonstrations and classes to help you take a step toward better nutrition!

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Botsford doctor answers flu questions

by David Walters, D.O., Chief Clinical Officer, Botsford Hospital.  Follow Dr. Walters on Twitter @BotsfordDocs
Dr. David Walters, Botsford Hospital Chief Clinical Officer

Dr. David Walters, chief clinical officer at Botsford Hospital, answers some of the most common questions he hears about the flu

As most everyone has heard this year has brought an early and relatively severe Influenza season on us. I have compiled some answers to frequently asked questions I’ve received from staff, patients and visitors.

Question 1:  How long will this flu season last?

According to CDC reports, the 2013 influenza outbreak in the U.S. is widespread with no reliable way to forecast the length or severity of the outbreak.

Question 2:  What are the symptoms of the flu?  

Flu-like symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, body aches, chills and fatigue.  If you have 2 or more of these symptoms, do not go to work.

Question 3:  How do I prevent the flu?

The CDC recommends 3 Actions to protect yourself and others from the flu:

1.  Get a flu vaccine.  CDC recommends annual vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, especially health care workers, to protect against flu viruses.  Children less than 6 months of age are at high risk of serious illness from the flu, but are too young to be vaccinated.  Those who care for them should be vaccinated instead.  It’s still not too late to get your influenza vaccination and the shot doesn’t have to cause a sore arm

 2.  Stop the spread of germs

    • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medicines). If your temperature is equal or greater than 100.6 degrees F, you should not go to work.  
    • Cover your nose/mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.  Throw the tissue in the trash after use. Flu virus is spread through droplet contact from an ill person or object that has been exposed to droplet contact (for example on a doorknob, phone, etc.). Cough, without fever, is not a contraindication to work, as long as you cover your cough appropriately.  However, a cough, in addition to one or more other symptoms would indicate you stay home; such as fever, sore throat, headache, body aches, chills and fatigue.
    • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand rub.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.  Germs spread this way.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated.

3.     Take antiviral medications if your doctor prescribes them

    • If you get sick with the flu, antiviral drugs may make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick, especially for those with high risk factors.
    • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotic drugs and are not available over the counter.
    • Antiviral drugs are most effective when started within 48 hours of getting sick, but starting them later may still be helpful.  Follow your doctor’s instructions.

Please share this important information with co-workers, loved ones or others who may benefit but keep in mind it does not replace the advice from your doctor.  

Thanks and stay well,

David Walters, D.O.

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2012 in Review: Our most popular blog posts


Top 5 blog posts in 2012 on the Botsford Blog


As we look forward to creating more health, wellness and prevention content for you in 2013, we’re also taking a look back at 2012 to see what people read most.

Looking back helps us figure out what you might find helpful in the future.

Below is a list of our most popular blog posts in 2012 based on number of views:

  1. What if there’s an active shooter? Botsford prepares for crisis
  2. Benefits of Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients
  3. How to prevent hair loss from chemotherapy
  4. Health benefits of locally grown foods
  5. 4 Health Benefits of Grilling

If there’s a topic you’d like to see in the upcoming year, just let us know.  Send us a message on Twitter or Facebook – we’d love to hear from you!

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Detroit Catholic Central High School student fills cancer center with music


Jonah Lyon, a Catholic Central High School student, volunteered his time to play guitar and piano for patients at the Botsford Cancer Center.

The Botsford Cancer Center is filled with live instrumental music thanks to 14-year-old musician volunteer Jonah Lyon.

Jonah, a freshman at Catholic Central High School in Novi, needed to fill 10 community service hours as a school requirement and decided to spend some of that time entertaining patients at the Cancer Center.  He played holiday music and contemporary songs on his guitar and on a piano in the Cancer Center lobby.  The piano was recently donated to Botsford and Jonah was the first volunteer to grace its keys.

Jonah’s mom, Dawn, said he’s been playing piano for seven years and guitar for two.

Jonah’s service comes under a new volunteer program at Botsford called “Music from the Heart.”  Created from the idea that music can be good for your health, the program recruits musicians to share their talents with patients and visitors at Botsford Hospital or Botsford Cancer Center.  Jonah found the opportunity on our volunteer website and decided it was right for him.  We agree — it was a great way to share his talents and even get some practice.  Patients and employees alike loved it!

Patients in the Botsford Cancer Center enjoy Jonah's music as they stroll through the lobby.

Cynthia Bonkowski, Botsford’s volunteer services manager, said having Jonah and other musician volunteers here is about engaging patients.  And that’s exactly what happened.  People stopped to chat with him about his guitar and smiled as they passed by.  His notes filled the empty air and landed as smiles onto the faces of patients and visitors—and for that we are thankful.

If you have a gift for music, we’d love to hear from you!  Pianists, guitarists or any other

musicians can volunteer a little bit of time playing for our patients, brightening their day and maybe even helping to improve their health.

To learn more about our Music from the Heart program or to volunteer, please call (248) 471-8082.  You may also learn more about volunteering at Botsford.

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What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

It used to be that people suffering from chronic sinusitis symptoms (facial pain or pressure, recurrent sinus infections or headaches) had one invasive option to alleviate their symptoms.  That was traditional sinuplasty surgery which often involved removing tissue or even bone in order to improve drainage in the sinuses.  Many people chose not to get the procedure because of concerns about postoperative pain and recovery time.

However, now chronic sinus sufferers have another option called balloon sinuplasty.  Balloon sinuplasty is minimally invasive, causes less pain and requires less recovery time (most patients can return to normal activity within 24 to 48 hours.)  This is possible because rather than using rigid surgical instruments and removing tissue from sinus passageways, the balloon sinuplasty procedure uses flexible materials and a balloon to simply widen those passageways.

If you suffer from chronic sinusitis symptoms, it might be worth your time to learn more about this new procedure.  Discuss it with your doctor or come to Botsford’s free balloon sinuplasty seminar.  Botsford ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Warren Brandes will explain the procedure in more detail.

Visit our event page on Facebook to learn more about this free event.

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Botsford Hospital recognized for social media

    Botsford Hospital won an eHealthcare Leadership award for its use of social media

Botsford Hospital won an eHealthcare Leadership award for its use of social media

A couple weeks ago, Botsford Hospital was honored to hear the news that all our blogging, tweeting, Facebook-ing and Pinning have been appreciated.  We received an eHealthcare Leadership Award in the Best Social Networking category.

It’s good news indeed, because we don’t use social media just for fun.  Our goal is to get to know the people in our community and to share important information to help keep them healthy.

Some 240 healthcare organizations, representing a broad industry spectrum, received recognition for their outstanding websites and digital communications at a special presentation in Las Vegas on November 14 during the Sixteenth Annual Healthcare Internet Conference.  Winners of the 2012 eHealthcare Leadership Awards were selected from nearly 1,100 entries.  A total of 115 individuals familiar with healthcare and the Internet judged the entries.

Judges looked at how websites and other digital communications compared with others in their organization’s classification.  They also reviewed entries based on a proprietary multi-point standard of Internet excellence.  The best overall Internet site category, for example, had to pass muster on more than 40 factors.

We hope you’ll check out what we’re doing and get social with us!

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Helping patients navigate the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis

At the Botsford Cancer Center, Stefanie Johnson, RN helps patients find insurance coverage or payment sources so they don’t have the worry of shouldering alone the high-cost of cancer care.

When someone gets a cancer diagnosis, the complexities of the treatment and the financial toll can be devastating. Many cancer centers have financial counselors to inform patients about the costs of treatment and make payment arrangements, but Botsford Cancer Center has chosen a different path by hiring a financial navigator, who works from the patient’s perspective and helps find resources to meet the patient’s financial needs.

Cancer treatment is expensive,” says Nicholle Mehr, Director of the Botsford Cancer Center. “Some cancer drugs can cost $100,000 for a year’s treatment. Coupled with high deductibles, copays and sometimes reduced income, patients and their families can easily become overwhelmed.”

In most hospitals, if there is a problem with coverage, patients must deal with those issues on their own. A lot of patients don’t understand the process and get lost in the system and may never return to the hospital. Also, in the hospital setting there are reimbursement issues that the hospital really cannot fix, because it requires some action on the part of the patient. A financial navigator helps find creative ways to solve those problems.

Meet Stefanie Johnson, RN.  She helps patients find insurance coverage or payment sources, so they don’t have the worry of shouldering alone the high-cost of cancer care.  Using her clinical knowledge and compassionate nature, Stefanie educates patients—often before a cancer diagnosis is confirmed. She helps patients and their families to make informed financial and insurance choices that are beneficial for them. And, she removes the fear factor, mystery and stress of navigating health insurance plans for cancer treatment bills than often total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Stefanie has worked in several nursing and operations positions for hospitals in the past, but she says that being the Financial Navigator at Botsford Cancer Center is her dream job.  She loves that her job is to care for patients’ financial needs, which leads to increased compliance with treatment.

While not an insurance agent, Stefanie is very knowledgeable about the variety of insurance products and cancer-specific funding programs available to patients. Using her knowledge on behalf of patients, she is helping to alleviate the financial burden of stress that faces so many cancer patients.

Learn more about Botsford Cancer Center or take a virtual tour.

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