Horchow symposium crowd considers 'What's a Woman to Do?'

By Robin Russell / March 28-31, 2011

More than 200 women attending UT Southwestern’s 2011 Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium on campus learned critical health preparedness tips and how to respond when someone suffers a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening emergency.

Deborah J. Ryan and her daughter Capera Ryan, chaired the symposium, which was dedicated to the memory of Deborah Beggs Moncrief, their mother and grandmother, respectively.

UT Southwestern physicians at the March 22 event, titled “Prevention and Preparedness: What’s a Woman to Do?” presented topics ranging from childhood emergencies to CPR for adults.

Among the attendees at the 2011 Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium were (from left), Dr. John Warner; event chairs Capera Ryan and her mother, Deborah J. Ryan; Dr. Jeanne Sheffield; Dr. Siobhan Kehoe and Dr. Michelle Gill.

Dr. Siobhan Kehoe, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, gave attendees updated information on screenings for cervical, ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer during her talk, “Cancer Prevention and Screening in 2011: Get One Step Ahead.”

“Many people think ovarian cancer is the ‘silent cancer’ — I disagree,” she said. “Pay attention to the subtle symptoms like appetite changes, abdominal bloating and bowel-bladder pattern changes. If these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, see your gynecologist.”

Getting help quickly is critical in cardiovascular emergencies, said Dr. John Warner, director of the Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Heart, Lung and Vascular Comprehensive Center and medical director of the Doris and Harry W. Bass Jr. Clinical Center for Heart, Lung and Vascular Disease, in his presentation, “Heart Attack and Stroke: Think and Act Fast.”

“Speed is everything in responding to a heart attack,” he said, telling his audience to call 911 immediately when they suspect someone is having a heart attack. “From the minute the symptoms begin, you’re on the clock. It’s critical to get the patient to the hospital as soon as possible so the work of opening a blocked artery can begin in the first hour.”

Dr. Melanie Sulistio, assistant professor of internal medicine, and Dallas firefighter David Diaz demonstrated how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Bystanders should first call 911 and then begin CPR on someone who is unresponsive. When an AED is available, use it, Dr. Sulistio said in her talk, “CPR and AEDs: Save a Life.”

“A defibrillator shock doubles the chance of survival,” she said. “Bystander CPR and defibrillation can definitely save a life.”

Vaccinations are needed to help prevent communicable diseases in people of all ages, said Drs. Michelle Gill and Jeanne Sheffield in their presentation, “Immunization Update for Adults and Children: Stay Sharp in 2011.”

Adults should consider vaccines that prevent shingles, human papillomavirus, pertussis (or whooping cough), pneumonia, meningitis and flu, said Dr. Sheffield, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology. “We take care of our kids and our grandkids, but we’re terrible about taking care of ourselves.”

Dr. Gill, assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine, noted that flu vaccines are now universally recommended for everyone older than 6 months and need to be given annually due to variations in influenza strains from year to year. “No matter how often we wash our hands or try to avoid contracting influenza from others, the best source of prevention is the vaccine,” she said.

Among common pediatric problems seen in emergency departments are food-related allergic reactions, scald burns, submersion injuries, fractures and choking, said Dr. Pam Okada, associate professor of pediatrics, in her talk, “ABCs of Pediatric Emergency Care: Prevent and Treat Childhood Emergencies.”

Infants and toddlers are at the greatest risk for choking, she said. Parents should avoid giving small children hot dogs, grapes, peanuts and chunks of apples and carrots. Latex balloons, coins and toys with small parts also pose risks. Toddlers lack molars and the coordination necessary to chew and swallow hard foods. “The pediatric anatomy is perfect for choking,” she said. “Their airway is approximately the diameter of their pinkie.”

Adolescents, on the other hand, are at highest risk for anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reaction, Dr. Okada added. “These guys try crazy things. One study reported that teens purposely eat food they know they’re allergic to — they think they’ve outgrown their allergy, or they succumb to peer pressure to try foods to which they’re allergic.”

Steering committee members were Ruth Altshuler, Trudy Best, Harriet Burrow, Betsy Cullum, Margaret Anne Cullum, Sissy Cullum, Leslie el-Effendi, Regen Fearon, Chandler Lindsley, Ruth Lindsley, Dr. Chandler Lindsley, Melissa Macatee, Nancy Perot, Lizzie Routman, Nancy Shutt, Diana Strauss, Barbara Stuart and Marnie Wildenthal.

Dr. Susan Cox, associate dean for professional education and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, served as faculty adviser for the program, and Dr. Carol Podolsky, assistant professor of pediatrics, was physician adviser.

Patricia Patterson is the symposium’s founding co-chair.

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Dr. Warner holds the Jim and Norma Smith Distinguished Chair in Interventional Cardiology and the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Chair in Cardiovascular Research.

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