Affiliates

Big Steps Toward Early Cancer Detection

Posted on Feb 18, 2020 in Affiliates, Expanding Access, Innovation, Quality, Research, Scroll Images

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Cancer researchers worldwide seek new clues to aid early detection and better treatments for cancer. The future is now, however, as research to support the development of a blood test for the detection of multiple types of the disease is underway at Sutter.

cancer blood test

Last month, Sutter began inviting eligible patients into the PATHFINDER clinical study. Sponsored by GRAIL Inc., the PATHFINDER study will evaluate the diagnostic capabilities of an investigational, multi-cancer early detection blood test. Sutter also helped support the development of GRAIL’s early cancer detection test by participating in the ongoing STRIVE study, which closed to enrollment at Sutter in 2018.

The goal of the PATHFINDER study is to enroll patients across eight sites at Sutter, currently the only health system in California participating in the multicenter PATHFINDER study. Other sites across the U.S. include Intermountain Healthcare, with additional centers launching this year.

While blood tests to detect or monitor cancer progression are not new, existing cancer tests typically screen for one type of cancer (e.g., breast cancer) and must be used with other screening tools . The PATHFINDER study is assessing whether GRAIL’s blood test will help aid early detection for multiple types of cancer with a single blood draw before symptoms present. The study will evaluate the implementation of the investigational test into clinical practice, and marks the first time results will be returned to health care providers and communicated to study participants to help guide diagnosis.

If the investigational test detects a cancer signal, it is designed to identify where in the body the cancer arises from, to inform the appropriate diagnostic next steps confirming if cancer is present.

Charles McDonnell, M.D., FACR

“Insights from the PATHFINDER study may improve how we screen for cancers and expand the types of cancer for which we can screen. Sutter’s participation in this study could help pioneer breakthroughs in early detection that may help save lives around the world,” says Charles McDonnell, M.D., FACR, a Sutter radiologist in Sacramento and lead principal investigator for the study at Sutter.

Dr. McDonnell and Andrew Hudnut, M.D., a family medicine doctor in Elk Grove, saw the potential and importance of the STRIVE study. They were instrumental in securing Sutter as a site for PATHFINDER.

“We anticipate this trial may allow us to personalize cancer screening and may eventually enable earlier, safer care for those patients found to have cancer,” says Dr. Hudnut.

During the PATHFINDER study, blood samples will be collected from eligible Sutter patients who consent to participate in the study. Blood samples will be analyzed for small pieces of the tumor’s DNA (i.e., its genetic “code”). If a study participant is diagnosed with cancer, the participant will be counselled on the results of their blood test and followed during workup to diagnose their cancer. There will be 12 months of follow-up for all participants.

PATHFINDER AT-A-GLANCE:

  • Study participants who are diagnosed with cancer will have their study test results communicated to them by qualified, Sutter clinical research staff and PATHFINDER study physicians. Participants will also receive e-mails and newsletters with information about follow-up appointments and study milestones.
  • The PATHFINDER study is part of Sutter’s coordinated efforts to improve cancer research and treatment outcomes for patients. Sutter also participates in large, phase 1-3 national clinical studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and collaborates with pharmaceutical companies on cancer research.

Early cancer detection may be part of the “holy grail” for cure. Find out how you can help! Learn more about PATHFINDER by contacting the study team at pathfinderstudy@sutterhealth.org or call 916-746-2161.

Find more clinical trials and research at Sutter.

Sutter Lakeside Hospital Welcomes Scott Knight as Chief Administrative Officer

Posted on Feb 13, 2020 in Carousel, People, Scroll Images, Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Uncategorized

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Sutter Health announced today it has selected Scott Knight as chief administrative officer of Sutter Lakeside Hospital, effective Feb. 3. Knight was previously Assistant Administrator of Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.

“Scott is committed to serving the community, as he demonstrated by serving on the boards of both the Tracy and Ripon Chambers of Commerce,” said Julie Petrini, president and CEO of Hospitals, Sutter Health Bay Area. “I know Scott is eager to bring this passion for community to his new role at Sutter Lakeside.”

About Scott Knight

Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in Health Care Administration from University of Washington. Scott has a broad healthcare background in finance, revenue cycle, planning, business development, marketing and community relations, operations, and administration.

While at Sutter Tracy, Scott provided leadership for non-nursing operations and business development. During his tenure, Sutter Tracy received patient safety awards from various organizations, and in 2020 was awarded a CMS 5-star rating – the highest ranking possible – for overall performance on quality measures including readmission rates, safety of care and patient experience.

About Sutter Health

Sutter Health is more than 60,000 people strong thanks to its integrated network of physicians, employees and volunteers. Rooted in Sutter Health’s not-for-profit mission, these team members partner to deliver exceptional care that feels personal. From physician offices to hospitals to outpatient care centers and home services, they proudly support the more than 3 million people in their care—nearly 1 percent of the U.S. population, in one of the most diverse and innovative regions in the world. Sutter team members adopt new technologies, make novel discoveries and embrace creative thinking to help patients and communities achieve their best health. From its street nurse program that provides check-ups for homeless people, to telemedicine-aided specialist consultations, to walk-in care clinics, to video visits, the Sutter Health team goes beyond traditional models to make care more convenient and to nurture and empower people throughout their healthcare journey.

For more information about the Sutter Health network visit: sutterhealth.org| facebook.com/sutterhealth| youtube.com/sutterhealth| twitter.com/sutterhealth

To Prevent Stroke, Start with the Heart

Posted on Feb 13, 2020 in Affiliates, Cardiac, Carousel, Expanding Access, Innovation, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Neuroscience, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, We're Awesome, Women's Services

BURLINGAME, Calif. – Does it sometimes feel like there are butterflies in your chest? Does your heart race or skip a beat? If it’s not your crush making your heart go pitter-pat, it could be a common heart condition called atrial fibrillation or AFib for short. This Valentine’s Day, take heart and consider seeing an expert if you are experiencing these symptoms. After all, AFib dramatically increases the odds of having a life-threatening stroke.

“Stroke occurs when arteries in the brain are either blocked by a blood clot or burst under high pressure,” said Ilana Spokoyny, M.D., neurologist who cares for patients at Sutter’s Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. “So when we talk about stroke prevention, it’s natural that we emphasize how to keep clots from forming or keep blood pressure regulated—and both start with the heart.”

Heart health and stroke prevention were the focus of a recent educational event, hosted by United Airlines, and led by Sutter Health. Attendees toured Northern California’s only Mobile Stroke Unit – a specialized ambulance that has the staff and equipment on-board to start stroke treatment while enroute to a hospital – and heard from the unit’s director, Dr. Spokoyny, about two common heart conditions that increase stroke risk.

Atrial fibrillation

AFib is caused when the upper part of your heart beats out of sync with the lower half. While not usually life-threatening by itself, AFib alters the normal function of the heart which leads to the formation of blood clots in the heart. Eventually these clots are pumped out of the heart and can travel to the brain where they causes a stroke.

According to Dr. Spokoyny, nearly one in every six strokes is the result of AFib, and these strokes are often more serious. “Not only are AFib patients nearly five times more likely to suffer a stroke than those without the condition, AFib-related strokes are nearly twice as fatal and twice as disabling as non-AFib-related strokes.”

“AFib may be asympomatic or symptoms show up intermittently, and because they come and go many people don’t take them seriously,” Dr. Spokoyny explained. “We need to spread the word that you shouldn’t ignore the butterfly feeling in your chest or dismiss the occasional fatigue or shortness of breath you experience.” When diagnosed, AFib is treatable with medication or medical procedures, including surgery, to reduce your risk of stroke.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure increases the strain on blood vessels transporting blood throughout your body. When blood is routinely pumped through arteries at a higher than optimal pressure, the arteries may become weakened or narrowed, creating conditions where they burst or clog more easily.

Dr. Spokoyny reminds patients that high blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke. “About three out of four people who have a stroke for the first time have high blood pressure.” High blood pressure often presents along with atrial fibrillation. The good news is that blood pressure can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications.

Expertise in action

Not-for-profit Sutter Health encourages doctors to work across specialties to ensure that patients receive high quality, coordinated care. Sutter includes sixteen Primary Stroke Centers across its integrated network.

Happy Ending to Librarian’s Story, Thanks to Coordinated Care

Posted on Feb 12, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Neuroscience, Quality, Scroll Images

BERKELEY, Calif. –When retired UC Berkeley librarian Barbara Kornstein walked into her neighborhood bakery for pastry and coffee on a recent January morning, she never imagined that within moments her fellow patrons would be calling 911 for help after she suffered a stroke and fell from her chair. Fortunately, a dedicated team of first responders, nurses and doctors were close by to coordinate the treatment that would save Kornstein’s life.

Within 30 minutes from the 911 call to the Berkeley Fire Department, Kornstein was evaluated by a doctor with special training in stroke management in the emergency department at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit network of care.

After undergoing a CT scan, Kornstein received clot-dissolving medication and was quickly transferred to the hospital catheterization lab, where a neurologist specially trained in neurointervention removed the blood clot from her brain through a minimally invasive procedure that significantly reduces the risk of stroke-related disability and death.

“Barbara is doing remarkably well thanks to the seamless coordination of care that she received at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s Regional Stroke Center,” says Brian Richardson, M.D., medical director of Alta Bates Summit’s stroke program. “Our program is nationally recognized for ensuring stroke patients receive life-saving intervention urgently upon arrival. Barbara’s story is just one example of our commitment to making sure stroke patients receive the very best care possible.”

“I go to the New York International Film Festival every year and I’m so glad that I will be able to attend this year’s festival in September,” says Kornstein. “I’m feeling great and I’m so thankful for all the people that helped saved my life.”

A few days after her stroke, Barbara was resting comfortably in the Alta Bates Summit Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit in Oakland when she received a visit from Chris Barney and Nick Scornaich from the Berkeley Fire Department who were the first to respond to the 911 call. Barney and Scornaich were joined by members of the Alta Bates Summit Emergency Department, Cath Lab, Intensive Care Unit, Regional Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Center and surgery teams that all played a part in Kornstein’s care.

“It’s wonderful and a bit overwhelming to meet all the people who cared for me,” says Kornstein. “I’m glad that I live so close and have access to such great medical care.”

“It’s quite moving to see everyone that had a touch in Barbara’s care shower her with love and words of encouragement,” says Debra Blanchard, R.N., Stroke Center Coordinator at Alta Bates Summit. “She’s doing great and it’s a testament to our first responders and our stroke team for their ability to provide timely treatment so that people who suffer strokes have the potential to have great outcomes like Barbara.”

After Saving Teen’s Life, School Nurse Pleads for Training

Posted on Feb 7, 2020 in Cardiac, Pediatric Care, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Uncategorized

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Kathy Papa, a school nurse with the Live Oak Unified School District, spreads her duties among five schools. It was luck – some may say fate or providence – that she was at Live Oak High School just after lunch on Jan. 13 when she got a call to go to English teacher Dani Fernandez’s classroom.

Use of AED
Pediatric electrophysiologist Dr. Oleg Kovalenko of Sutter Children’s Center demostrates how to use an AED.

When she arrived, she found 14-year-old Annalese Contreras slumped in her desk in full cardiac arrest, not breathing and without a pulse. Having been a hospital registered nurse, Kathy knew immediately what was wrong and what needed to be done, but never did she think she’d come upon this situation outside the hospital without a skilled team to assist her.

Kathy immediately sprung into action, starting rescue breaths, directing the 911 call, having two classmates get Annalese out of the desk and onto the floor so compressions could be started, and sending Fernandez to get the school’s portable defibrillator, called an AED. The school had it for years, but it had never been used. After a few successions of CPR, the AED arrived and Kathy applied the pads. The second shock did the trick and Annalese’s heart was back beating. She was then stabilized by EMTs and airlifted to the Sutter Medical Center Children’s Center. 

Annalese suffered cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation, an event that is often fatal. Thanks to Kathy’s heroics and the care she received at the Sutter Children’s Center, Annalese is alive and now recuperating at home. Sutter Children’s Center pediatric electrophysiologist Oleg Kovalenko, M.D., pinpointed her ventricular arrhythmia and Annalese had a defibrillator called an ICD implanted by Sutter electrophysiologist Jonathan Man, M.D., to shock her heart into the correct rhythm when it detects irregular heartbeats.

“Cardiac arrest is an electrical abnormality in the heart. It leads to sudden death in many, many cases and leads to 2,000 deaths a year in children,” said Dr. Kovalenko, Sutter Medical Center’s medical director of pediatric electrophysiology. “In cardiac arrest, there’s no blood flow to your brain and your organs, and the longer a patient stays in this condition, the less chance of survival,” he said, noting that usually that’s just three to five minutes. “The only way to fix it is to shock.”

Annalese Contreras, center, was saved by school nurse Kathy Papa, left, who received the Heartsaver Hero Award from Liam Connelly of the American Heart Association.

Thankfully, Annalese received those shocks within a few minutes. For her efforts, Papa received a Heartsaver Hero Award from the American Heart Association. The AHA and Sutter Medical Center physicians urged all schools to have an AED on-site and train staff on CPR and how to use the defibrillator. Papa started working at the school district in 2019 and already had classes set up to train staff on both, and this event has made it even more important in the staff’s eyes.

As Dan Falco, co-medical director of the Sutter Medical Center Children’s Center said, “That school nurse is the real hero here.” However, Papa was quick to point out that the quick action on the part of Fernandez and the two classmates got Annalese out of the desk are heroes, too.

Annalese’s parents are so grateful to the school and Sutter Children’s Center staff for saving their daughter’s life that they traveled from Live Oak to the hospital to thank them personally and shared their thanks publicly through the media.

“I’d just like to give thanks to everybody – the school, the nurse, the emergency room, the ambulance, the helicopter, the EMS and the hospital – because if it wasn’t for all of them, my daughter wouldn’t be here today,” said Annalese’s father, Felipe Contreras. “I consider all you guys heroes.”

As for Papa, she had a plea: “I want the public to be aware that anyone can save a life, and it just takes a day of training or even just a few hours so that you know what to do in case of an emergency. And,” she said, holding up a portable AED, “this awesome device saves lives. And we all can see that that has happened.”

Here is a video of this story from Fox 40 in Sacramento.

Helping Mind the Gap on Cardiovascular Diseases

Posted on Feb 7, 2020 in Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center, Cardiac, Expanding Access, Innovation, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Sutter Medical Foundation, Sutter Roseville Medical Center

Heart valve imaging
Heart valve imaging

Lifesavers appear in big sizes and small. For patient Adam Livingstone, rescue was a dime-sized clip that restored his heart’s normal rhythm and size. For months, Livingstone had been experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain and fatigue. Diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, a minimally invasive procedure to repair the valve was performed at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento—one of Sutter’s sites where researchers evaluate new devices for treating damaged or diseased heart valves.

The Heart’s Finely Orchestrated Blood Flow

Heart valves
Heart valves

Like a musical conductor, the heart oversees rhythm and flow, circulating blood to each of its chambers in a coordinated, unidirectional symphony.

THE MITRAL VALVE

Mitral regurgitation, the most common type of heart valve disorder, occurs when blood leaks backward through the mitral valve when the left ventricle closes.

Some patients undergo non-surgical heart valve repair with transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) with MitraClip®.2 During the procedure, doctors thread a catheter into a large leg vein reaching the heart. Then a dime-sized clip clamps the improperly working valve, allowing it to close more tightly with less backward blood flow.

“Some research participants recover faster and resume normal activities within a week of the procedure, and may not require lifelong anticoagulant medications, repeat surgeries, or re-hospitalization,” says David Roberts, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, medical director of cardiovascular services at Sutter in the Valley Area.

A new clinical trial at Sutter called PASCAL CLASP IID/IIF will test the safety and effectiveness of TMVR with the PASCAL Transcatheter Valve Repair System® compared with MitraClip® in patients with mitral regurgitation.3

For patients with severe mitral regurgitation, Sutter’s CPMC seeks to enroll patients in a clinical trial called SM3, which assesses the safety and efficacy of the SAPIEN M3 System™.4

“In this study, we are evaluating a new type of mitral valve that may provide a minimally invasive alternative to surgery for high-risk patients with severe mitral valve disease,” says David Daniels, M.D., co-director of Sutter’s Structural Heart Program in the Bay Area, and principal investigator of the SM3 clinical trial at Sutter.

Some patients develop mitral valve disease when calcium deposits accumulate on the fibrous ring attached to the mitral valve leaflets. For these patients with mitral annular calcification (MAC), Sutter will begin offering enrollment in the Summit clinical trial, which will test the safety and effectiveness of the Tendyne™ transcatheter mitral valve.5

“Previous approaches to treat patients with MAC have mainly involved the off-label use of transcatheter aortic valves,” says Dr. Roberts. “But this strategy may lead to residual mitral regurgitation and the need for open-heart surgery. Sutter’s participation in Summit may lead to novel ways to care for this hard-to-treat subset of patients.”

THE TRICUSPID AND AORTIC VALVES

Although a skilled conductor, sometimes the heart needs help to maintain proper blood flow for musical perfection. To the rescue: Sutter researchers test interventional devices designed to treat patients with diseased or damaged tricuspid and aortic valves.

In one new clinical trial, Sutter researchers will collect information about treatment for severe aortic regurgitation, a condition typically treated with aortic valve replacement surgery.

This study will examine the use of TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement), a minimally invasive procedure designed to replace the aortic valve inside the heart. In this study, TAVR will be performed using the JenaValve™ Pericardial TAVR System, designed to help treat patients with severe aortic regurgitation or severe aortic stenosis.6

“Until now, all commercially available TAVR valves have focused on aortic stenosis, or a restricted valve,” says Dr. Daniels, co-principal investigator of the TAVR with JenaValve™ clinical trial at Sutter. “The JenaValve™ may allow researchers to treat patients with a leaky valve in the absence of any calcium. Currently these patients are only candidates for open-heart surgery.”

Additionally, Sutter researchers at CPMC and Sutter Medical Center are seeking to enroll patients who have tricuspid regurgitation in a clinical trial called TRILUMINATE.

The TRILUMINATE study will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the Tricuspid Valve Repair System™ (TVRS) for treating moderate or severe tricuspid regurgitation in patients currently on medical management and who are deemed appropriate for percutaneous transcatheter intervention.7

  • Learn more about Sutter cardiovascular diseases research and clinical trials.
  • If you are suffering from mitral or tricuspid valve regurgitation, aortic valve stenosis or other heart valve disorder, talk to your cardiologist to see if research participation and/or valve replacement or repair is right for you.

References:

  1. American Heart Association.
  2. MitraClip™ is manufactured by Abbott Medical Devices.
  3. The PASCAL clinical trial is sponsored by Edwards Life Sciences, makers of the Transcatheter Valve Repair System®.
  4. The S3 clinical trial is sponsored by Edwards Life Sciences, makers of the SAPIEN M3 System™.
  5. The Summit clinical trial is sponsored by Abbott Medical Devices, makers of the Tendyne System™.
  6. The JenaValve™ clinical trial is sponsored by JenaValve Technology, Inc., makers of the Pericardial Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) System.
  7. The TRILUMINATE clinical trial is sponsored by Abbott Medical Devices, makers of the Tricuspid Valve Repair System™.