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Seriously ill COVID-19 patients in northeast Oklahoma are finding new hope for recovery thanks to technology being used at Oklahoma Heart Institute (OHI).

The technology is called an ECMO machine, which stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. One of only three machines in the state, the ECMO at OHI acts as an artificial heart, an artificial lung or both, depending on the patient’s needs.

The ECMO machine can also be placed in an ambulance, so health care providers can travel to a patient and connect them to the machine sooner, thereby saving hours of time, and often... Read More »

For Dr. Jan Summers (left) and her identical twin sister, Dr. Scout Lee, there have been many similarities in their lives during the past 77 years.

“I always had a best friend,” Summers said. “I can’t imagine life without her.”

In high school, they were both competitive swimmers.

“She set a state record that she held nationally for nine years, so she was better at it then I was,” Summers said.

They both graduated from Toccoa Falls College, Georgia, and earned their masters’ degrees from the University of Georgia. Later, both obtained doctorate degrees and... Read More »

For Stephanie Thomas, the flu-like symptoms were very familiar as she recuperated at home. However, as the symptoms persisted and her breathing became more difficult, she was admitted to a local hospital and placed on a respirator.

Diagnosed with COVID-19, her breathing steadily declined over the next two weeks. Describing her situation, Thomas said, “I was down to my last resort.”

That’s when Ajit Tharakan, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon at Oklahoma Heart Institute, and the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) team picked up Thomas in Grove, transported her to Tulsa and... Read More »

On Oct. 3, 2021, Wes Dunn, a machine operator at a local manufacturing plant, was working his usual shift when he began experiencing mild aching in his chest. He described it as a sort of burning sensation. Dunn immediately turned to the folks in the emergency response team at the plant.

“I called one of my buddies on the emergency response team and asked him to meet me in the nurse's area to check me out,” Dunn said. “I told him I was having chest pain and that something's going on. He ended up calling an ambulance for me. And they took me up to Hillcrest Medical Center and... Read More »

For Skylar Green, 36, a patrol lieutenant for the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office, the first few days of being ill with COVID-19 felt like the flu. He had body aches and a fever. But by days five and six, congestion had settled in his lungs and he was having difficulty breathing.

That’s when his wife, Aariel Green, took him to the emergency room at a nearby hospital, where a COVID test confirmed that he was positive for the coronavirus. Skylar Green was diagnosed with COVID pneumonia.

The couple was sent home with a pulse oximeter, a device that uses light beams to estimate... Read More »

For Roger Glenn, a 69-year-old living in Grove, Oklahoma, with his wife and son, the day started normal enough.

He woke early and decided to sit and read until getting ready for his current vocation: driving a public school bus. But as he was walking to his recliner, he felt a severe pain – first in his groin and then in his chest - like something was sitting on him.

“The pain was terrible,” Glenn said. “I called out to my wife and told her I needed to go to the emergency room, but as she was getting ready, the pain got worse and I was scared about what was going on. So I... Read More »

Every day there’s another new diet trending around the country: GOLO, keto, Mediterranean, Mayo Clinic, DASH, Weight Watchers and flexitarian, just to name a few.

However, if you want a weight loss program that delivers real results under expert medical supervision, look to the Health Management Resources (HMR) program offered at the Weight Loss & Wellness Center at Oklahoma Heart Institute.

Rated as one of the Best Diets by U.S. News & World Report for the past six years, HMR has helped more than 1 million people lose weight. Many people in the HMR program lost 2-3... Read More »

American Diabetes Month is celebrated each November to raise awareness for those living with diabetes and pre-diabetes, something impacting nearly 1 in 10 Americans. Providers from Oklahoma Heart Institute's endocrinology team came together to provide insight on blood sugar levels, diabetes-related kidney disease, contracting COVID-19 as a diabetic and ways you can work to prevent and control diabetes.

Blood sugar levels can depend on several factors.

“Fasting blood sugar levels should be below 130 mg/dl,” said Christian Hanson, D.O. Two hours post meal, blood sugar levels... Read More »

Mark Milton, a retired educator of 37 years, has enjoyed an active lifestyle. Originally from Southern California and now residing in Arkansas, he enjoys the outdoors — fishing, golfing, wine tasting and traveling with his wife.

Milton’s health took a dramatic turn in December 2019 when he suffered a stroke. He made a full recovery, but lived a sedentary lifestyle that caused several health-related issues. When Milton began struggling with sleep apnea, he decided to have a sleep study performed in February 2020.

His wife picked him up from the sleep study the next morning,... Read More »

The pandemic has altered many elements of everyday life including sleep patterns, according to Michael Newnam, M.D., co-director of sleep medicine at Oklahoma Heart Institute.

Dr. Newnam described the condition as coronasomnia. Because of the pandemic, some have lost their boundaries between work and home environments.

"Many people are doing school and work in the home environment, so there’s no separation,” Dr. Newnam said. So you’re never really leaving work because that’s where you live.”

Learn his sleep tips in this KJRH interview here.