• President’s Message
     In this issue of Healthy Living, we focus on the Neuroscience Center of Excellence, exploring conditions of the spine, neck and brain in depth. Aches and pains are nothing new to most adults,... click for more
  • Barbara Sinatra and Ma...
    In April, the Junior League Sustainers of the Coachella Valley and the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center at Eisenhower will partner to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month. On April 2,... click for more
  • Eisenhower Physician P...
    Over the past several years, Svetlana Rubakovic, MD, FACP has been invited to present new research data about melanoma genetics to the international melanoma community — namely, the 7th International... click for more
  • The Memory Assessment ...
    Since 2007, residents of the Coachella Valley who are struggling with memory changes — and the people who love them —have been offered close-to-home access to the Memory Assessment Center (MAC). The Center offers a newly revised, first-of-its-kind program for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or a related memory disorder, as well as a wealth of care and support resources tailored to their individual needs.

    The Memory Assessment Center, under the operation of Eisenhower Medical Center and located in the Uihlein Building on the Eisenhower campus, is a collaboration between Eisenhower, the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) and the Alzheimer’s Association®, California Southland Chapter, that provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to evaluation, care and support. click for more
  • Eisenhower Desert Orth...
    In keeping with its longstanding tradition of community service, Eisenhower Desert Orthopedic Center (EDOC) is involved in numerous activities and programs that “pay it forward” to local residents.... click for more
  • A Primer On Choosing A...
    The importance of having a primary care physician cannot be overstated. A primary care physician is a doctor who helps patients maintain their overall health and well-being, as well as coordinating a patient’s care when specialists or other medical professionals are needed. Seeing patients at regular intervals and not just during times of illness, a primary care physician can also help a patient to establish and maintain healthy lifestyle goals. Family physicians, geriatricians and internists are all primary care physicians.

    Getting to know a patient over time can have a profound effect on the health of that patient — understanding a person’s family history, workplace situations and stress, age-related concerns and more. Establishing a long-term care relationship with a patient can help a primary care physician treat an acute problem or focus on a larger issue. Regular visits to one’s primary care physician may also help expedite the diagnoses and treatment of high risk factors like high cholesterol or hypertension before a serious illness has had time to develop. In short, the primary care doctor is a patient’s first line of defense for getting well and staying well. click for more
  • Breast-Imaging — Seein...
    In the world of breast imaging, dense breasts present the most difficult problems in detecting cancer. Standard mammography equipment often cannot detect cancer lesions in women with dense breast tissue. According to Eisenhower Radiologist John Cutrone, MD, Board Certified in Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology, “It’s like looking for a small cloud behind a big cloud. Some small cancers, which are typically white on a mammogram, are easily obscured by breast tissue, which is also white.” 

    Thanks to a generous donation from BIGHORN Behind a Miracle (BAM), Eisenhower Schnitzer/Novack Breast Center was able to purchase the most advanced, state-of-the-art dense breast imaging diagnostic tool available, and is only the second facility in California to offer this exciting new technology. The SenoBright® Contrast-Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM) from GE Healthcare is a powerful diagnostic modality — able to detect minute cancers, as well as reduce the waiting time between detection and diagnosis. click for more

  • Relief From A Lifetime...
    Engineer and private pilot Neil Whelchel was just nine years old when he first experienced the rapid palpitations. “I would change my position or hold my breath and it would happen. As I got older the episodes got longer.”

    Whelchel went to doctors who ran electrocardiograms (EKG) and ultrasounds but nothing ever turned up and he was often dismissed. Rapid heart rate — supraventricular tachycardia — was something the young man learned to adapt to. He even taught himself to “reset” his heart by doing vagal maneuvers (methods used to reset or slow the heart rate). “At the time, I didn’t know that I was doing vagal maneuvers. I just was curious and aware of my body and was able to figure it out.” Whelchel would hold his breath and bear down, or press on his carotid artery to reset himself. He would sometimes use ice on his face, chest or back to put his heart back into rhythm. click for more

Relief From A Lifetime Of Suffering

Expert Eisenhower Electrophysiologists Treat Unique Patient

Dr. Feldman in surgery
Dr. Feldman in surgery
Engineer and private pilot Neil Whelchel was just nine years old when he first experienced the rapid palpitations. “I would change my position or hold my breath and it would happen. As I got older the episodes got longer.”

Whelchel went to doctors who ran electrocardiograms (EKG) and ultrasounds but nothing ever turned up and he was often dismissed. Rapid heart rate — supraventricular tachycardia — was something the young man learned to adapt to. He even taught himself to “reset” his heart by doing vagal maneuvers (methods used to reset or slow the heart rate). “At the time, I didn’t know that I was doing vagal maneuvers. I just was curious and aware of my body and was able to figure it out.” Whelchel would hold his breath and bear down, or press on his carotid artery to reset himself. He would sometimes use ice on his face, chest or back to put his heart back into rhythm.

Whelchel’s heart episodes continued throughout his 20s and 30s with no specific pattern, causing him repeated trips to physicians and to the hospital. The problem significantly affected Whelchel’s daily work as an engineer and the activities he loved like flying, scuba diving and snorkeling. “As I neared my 40s, I was concerned about secondary problems and long-term health effects. I also worried about what this would do to me when I was 60.”

Eventually, Whelchel found a cardiologist in the Coachella Valley who took him seriously and began running some tests. One of the tests involved wearing a heart monitor to track his heart activity. The day after he turned it in, he began to experience another severe bout of arrhythmia. “I returned to the doctor’s office and one of the nurses ran an EKG on me,” says Whelchel. “She thought the machine was off but I assured her it was correct. She repeated the test several times and still couldn’t believe it was real.” Whelchel was sent to the hospital for more tests before being referred to Eisenhower Desert Cardiology Center Electrophysiologist Leon Feldman, MD. “Dr. Feldman reviewed my EKGs and other test results and recommended an electrophysiology study. If they found something unusual they would fix it right away.”

Dr. Feldman and colleague Andrew Rubin, MD used the EnSite NavX™ navigation and visualization technology system for Whelchel’s procedure. The NavX uses electrodes to create realistic cardiac chamber geometries displaying activation times and voltage data to identify arrhythmias. They found that Whelchel had not one but two atrioventricular (AV) nodes. The AV nodes conduct the normal electrical impulse from the atria to the ventricles. “Neil had two AV nodes which made him very unique and was causing much of his difficulties,” says Dr. Feldman. “We addressed that by ablating the second node. We also found an abnormal heart rhythm at the normal AV node, which is common, and that was ablated. We also took care of a third heart rhythm problem called atrial flutter. So, we targeted three different arrhythmias in this one procedure on one patient,” says Dr. Feldman.

Within days, Whelchel felt the difference. “The procedure made more of a change than I had anticipated,” says Whelchel. “I feel great. I have so much energy and all these little insignificant problems that I have dealt with all my life have solved themselves. I am now having experiences that I have never had before. I can actually stand up and not have to do voluntary control methods on the way up. It’s really had a profound and positive impact on my life.”