A Second Opinion Can Make the Difference

A Second Opinion Can Make the Difference

Cleveland Clinic’s Global Patient Services Provides Local Point of Contact so Patients can Focus on What matters – their Health

Patients diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening illness or condition, may want to seek a specialist’s second opinion to ensure the validity of the initial diagnosis and the best course of treatment.  Sometimes a patient may want a second opinion when they’re just not feeling well and believe he or she might be suffering from a condition that has not been detected or properly diagnosed. Obtaining a second opinion can provide a patient the peace of mind needed to assuage any fears they may have about their health.

Many local patients travel to Cleveland Clinic in Florida and Ohio for a second opinion or for treatment in any one of the hospital system’s specialty areas. Cleveland Clinic is a top ranked U.S. health system holding the No. 1 rank in cardiology and heart surgery since 1995. Other specialty programs include cancer, digestive disease, urology, orthopedics, neurology and neurosurgery, among others.

Scheduling the visit and travel to the Cleveland Clinic Ohio or Florida campus is just a phone call away. Cleveland Clinic’s Global Patient Services (GPS), is a full-service department designed to meet the unique needs and requirements of international patients, serving nearly 8,000 patients in more than 90 countries each year. Multilingual staff understands that medical trips can be stressful and do everything possible to make each patient and their family feel at ease.

"When a patient is looking to come to Cleveland Clinic, whether through a referral or of their own accord, we receive a call or email and a GPS representative contacts them to help coordinate visits and appointments for patients seeking to obtain health services and facilitate second opinion referrals from local doctors for their patients," says Ivan Blanco, Senior Director of Business Development & Global Patient Services for Latin America. "Cleveland Clinic also collaborates with healthcare organizations around the world, developing and optimizing medical practices that improve health services and elevate the patient experience."

Once the patient is registered, a patient service coordinator receives all medical records and can make recommendations for translation services if necessary, and also recommend travel and accommodations for visiting patients. When the person arrives at Cleveland Clinic, a Global Patient Services representative will assist during the visit. "Making patients feel special at this critical time is our main priority. When we are able to address their medical concern with compassion and recommend the very best course of treatment available, we know we have done our job, "adds Blanco.

To schedule a visit, contact Global Patient Services at +1954.659.5080.

Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)

Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)

Afib occurs when someone has a heartbeat outside of the ordinary range of 60-100 beats per minute, ranging up to highs of 175 beats per minute. This causes the heart’s electrical system to malfunction, leading to decreased blood circulation and an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. Symptoms include heart palpitations, fatigue, shortness of breath and chest discomfort or pressure.

“Afib is triggered by a misdirection of the heart’s electrical rhythm. Rapid impulses fire simultaneously, causing an irregular rhythm in the atria, or upper chambers of the heart,” says Cleveland Clinic Florida cardiology department chair and interventional cardiologist, Robert Cubeddu, MD. “Over an extended period of time, Afib can significantly weaken the heart, increase the risk for blood clots and even lead to heart failure.”

Treatments focus on regaining a normal heart rhythm, controlling heart rate and preventing blood clots to reduce the risk of stroke. These typically start with lifestyle changes and medications. However, medications may fail to restore a normal heart rate, and anticoagulants are not well-tolerated by everyone. In this case, a procedure may be necessary.

“Several innovative techniques are available, including electrical cardioversion, catheter ablation, device therapy, as well as surgical ablation,” says Jose Baez-Escudero, MD, Cleveland Clinic Florida’s head cardiac electrophysiologist. “The best option for you depends on your heart rhythm and symptoms, as well as length of time.”

Afib affects over 2 million Americans, and is responsible for about 15 percent of all strokes.

“At Cleveland Clinic we will develop an individualized plan that best meets your needs. This may include medical, interventional and surgical treatment options, all aimed at rhythm control and decreasing your risk for stroke,” says Dr. Cubeddu. “If you’ve been diagnosed with Afib, talk to your doctor about all your options, to determine what is best for you.”

Using Robotic Surgery to Treat Prostate Cancer

Using Robotic Surgery to Treat Prostate Cancer

Surgical procedures in recent decades have become easier due to advancements in technology, resulting in shorter recovery times, fewer complications and reduced hospital stays.

An example of this is the laparoscopic and robotic prostate surgery performed by Cleveland Clinic Florida’s Urology & Kidney department. This type of surgery is aimed at treating patients with prostate cancer based on the use of technological devices.

In open prostate surgery, this organ is removed by a larger incision in the lower part of the abdomen, whereas in laparoscopic surgery, incisions are made with holes that are used to insert an illuminated vision instrument (laparoscope) into the pelvic region. This allows the physician to examine and remove the prostate without a large abdominal incision.

These procedures are done through small, keyhole-shaped incisions that do not cut muscles. Laparoscopic and robotic prostatectomy offers surgeons an unparalleled view of the area, which allows for accurate prostate removal. Patients also experience significantly less blood loss. Unlike traditional open surgery, laparoscopic and robotic surgery requires only four to five small incisions. Through these incisions, a surgeon uses a powerful high-precision endoscope (a tiny camera) and specialized surgical instruments to remove the prostate.

Both are minimally invasive techniques to perform radical prostatectomy against cancer. In laparoscopic prostatectomy, the surgeon stands next to the operating table and manipulates the instruments himself, while, in robotic prostatectomy, the expert is sitting next to a robotic console near the patient, from where he controls the robotic instruments to perform the operation. The robot reproduces the sophisticated maneuvers of the surgeon with precision.

“The benefits are similar between robotic and laparoscopic prostate surgery. Patients can usually go home the day after prostate surgery,” explains Dr. Muruve, an urologist at Cleveland Clinic Florida. “Patients who undergo robotic and laparoscopic prostate surgery generally experience less postoperative pain and discomfort and have a faster recovery. They also experience significantly less intraoperative bleeding.”

Advances in research and technology have contributed to the high cure rates associated with radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy for prostate cancer. The degree of sexual function after radical prostatectomy is determined by many factors, such as the man's age and how sexually active he was before the procedure. Most men experience at least temporary erectile problems after a radical prostatectomy. Through experience with thousands of patients, Cleveland Clinic has created a program designed specifically to offer a multi-disciplinary approach to improving quality of life after prostate cancer surgery.  The program combines the expertise of world-renowned urologic surgeons, endocrinologists, psychologists and physical therapists, and offers comprehensive diagnostic testing and clinical treatments for the patient.

In the postoperative process, the stay in the hospital is one to two days. Cleveland Clinic is responsible for providing the patient with daily care while he is admitted and giving him detailed instructions after surgery, before being discharged. It is recommended not to drive for the following seven days after the surgery. Physical activities in the postoperative period are not restricted, it is only recommended to do what the patient can tolerate.

Cleveland Clinic was the first US hospital to routinely perform laparoscopic prostate surgeries and among the first to perform robotic radical prostatectomy. Using the latest generation robotic surgical system approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), laparoscopic and robotic surgeries allow surgeons to perform this complex procedure in a minimally invasive way, with more precision and offering patients better results.