Waiting for a Heart
Forty-three years ago, the first human heart transplant was performed, and since then, thousands of people with irreversible heart conditions have been given a new lease on life.
Wanda, 61, hoped her life would change when she was featured as one of four transplant candidates on The Doctors in 2009.
Wanda suffered from heart disease for 10 years, and soon after her appearance on The Doctors, she was told a heart was available to her. "I'm really ready to get it over with so I can have my life back," she said after getting the news.
Unfortunately, when the heart arrived in the operating room, cardiovascular surgeon Dr. O.H. Frazier found multiple, malignant masses on it and deemed it unsuitable for transplantation. "This was the first time in my career, and in Dr. Frazier's career, that we've ever turned down a heart because of cancer," said Dr. Roberta Bogaev, medical director of heart failure and cardiac transplant at the Texas Heart Institute.
Cardiologist Dr. Stephanie Coulter of the Texas Heart Institute explains that making sure the donor heart is healthy is essential. "It's good to get it right," she says. "It's serious stuff, so you don't want to put in a bad heart."
Wanda finally received the call that doctors had a healthy heart ready for transplant. "I have a lot of people praying for me," she said before the procedure. "I have no fear whatsoever. I'm just excited."
Just six months after surgery, Wanda joins The Doctors via Polycom and reveals how she is doing! "I feel much better," she says. "I can breathe much better."
Linda, 45, suffers from recurring sinus infections and is desperate for relief. "It's really been bad," Linda says. "Especially the last year, I've had a lot of chronic infections that made me really sluggish, and tired and really tired of being sick all the time."
Otolaryngologist Dr. Craig Schwimmer performs the FinESS procedure on Linda, a unique, minimally invasive approach for treating sinusitis. The procedure incorporates angioplasty technology, by inflating a balloon to open and reshape the sinuses behind the cheek bones and between the eyes.
"This isn't for everybody with sinus disease," Dr. Schwimmer says. "But for appropriate patients, it's brilliant because it takes 15 minutes, you do it in the office, it's not a big deal, and you go right back to your activities."
Find out more about the FinESS procedure!
Patti's 16-year-old son, Jeremy, wants to put an end to his acne. His dermatologist suggests he take isotretinion, better known as Accutane, to treat the breakouts.
Isotretinoin is used to treat severe acne, and is usually prescribed only after other medications and topical treatments have failed. "It's reserved for the people who have tried everything else, have severe acne and are suffering from it," pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says.
"It's a really strong medication," Dr. Jim adds. "It's actually a derivative of vitamin A, so it's actually kind of a natural substance. It's super, super effective for severe acne. Most patients show a huge improvement; as a matter of fact, half the people that take it are completely cured of severe acne and never have to do anything for their acne ever again."
Patti is concerned about possible side effects of the drug and wonders if the treatment is worth the risks. Less than one percent of people who take isotretinoin will experience depression, and some people suffer headaches and decreased night vision. More common side effects include dry skin and mouth and dry, chapped lips. Isotretinoin can also cause birth defects, so women who may become pregnant should not ingest the drug.
While the side effects can be severe, the drug is useful in extreme cases.
Speak to your doctor about treatment options and side effects before trying any medications.
• Dr. Ordon explains what the causes of acne are and how to treat a breakout.