Entries in Grey's Anatomy (2)


Cardiologist Makes TV Debut on ABC's "Grey’s Anatomy"

Mike Ferrari/UH Case Medical Center(LOS ANGELES) -- On ABC's Grey’s Anatomy this week, as Dr. Christina Yang, played by actress Sandra Oh, performed an operation to insert a parachute device into a patient’s heart. As she explained how it worked, her intern, Dr. Heather Brooks had one thing to say:

“That is crazyballs.”

In the scene, real life cardiologist Dr. Marco Costa is standing next to Yang, though he doesn’t have any lines. Costa was there to teach Oh how to fake the surgery for the cameras because he’s one of two leading experts on the device. As a reward, they put him in the episode.

After a 10-hour day on set to make sure Oh had the steps just right, the 30-second shot aired Thursday night.

“It was quick,” Costa, a University Hospitals cardiologist, told ABC News of his television debut. His face is in shadow during the scene, but the intern is holding the parachute device up for the cameras.”This kind of attention is important to create awareness and to help people that are out there that have a heart problem and have been given no option of therapy to learn that there is an option.”

The Parachute Ventricular Partitioning Device, which resembles an inside-out cocktail umbrella, redirects blood flow in a heart damaged by heart attack, Costa said. A damaged heart loses some of its shape, making it less able to pump blood where it needs to go as the muscle contracts. But the parachute has a conical shape that moves with the heart to focus blood flow, allowing the healthy parts of the heart to function normally when they would otherwise be overcompensating for the damaged parts.

Crazyballs, right?

Although the Grey’s Anatomy scene was short, Oh and Costa were standing over a “patient” who was awake but sedated. The parachute implantation procedure is somewhat like implanting a stent. The doctors use cardiac catheterization to deliver the parachute to the heart by inserting a tube into an artery in the patient’s thigh and pushing the device to the heart.

“We rehearsed a little so she [Oh] would understand all the little steps take place,” Costa said. “I think she did very well. I wish she was in the medical field. It would be easy to teach her how to do a lot of things.”

Although Americans invented the parachute and it is made by California-based medical device company CardioKinetix, it is not yet approved for standard care in the United States. Costa and his colleague, Dr. William Abraham at Ohio State University, are leading a clinical trial that will allow 500 patients to receive the device in the U.S. and Canada. They’ve already used it in 100 patients in Europe, where it was recently approved for standard use.

“Heart failure is an end of life disease we have in cardiology,” Costa said. “We believe a mechanical approach can make the heart work better. To take the ‘failure’ out of ‘heart failure,’ this might be one of the solutions.”

About 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the primary cause of 55,000 deaths a year.

Costa’s latest trial has already begun with patients in Kansas, Kentucky and Ohio, Costa said.

As for whether stardom has gone to Costa’s head, it’s safe to say he’ll stick to surgery.

“They told me to try to look normal, and I was like, ‘That’s easy for you to say,’” he said. “When the scene actually took place, we were more familiar with the crew and the team, but it was still not easy. I would rather do a real procedure than acting.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


'Grey's Anatomy' Chandra Wilson: Real-Life Stomach Migraine Mystery

Photodisc/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- In a case that sounds like an episode straight out of Grey's Anatomy, Chandra Wilson, who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey in the show, spent a year trying to determine what was ailing her daughter, Sarina McFarlane, who was experiencing never-ending bouts of nausea in early 2010.

Every month the queasiness escalated to the point that, for days, McFarlane could not stop vomiting.  Like clockwork, the vomiting stopped and nausea eased a bit.  But when a new month started, the vomiting cycle returned.

"She had every kind of scan you could think of, you know, upper GIs and CT scans, and delayed gastric emptying tests, and you know, blood work constantly," Wilson told ABC's local Philadelphia affiliate, WPVI-TV.

After excluding a host of other possible diagnoses, Wilson said her daughter was diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome, or CVS, a neurological disorder characterized by a series of prolonged attacks of severe nausea and vomiting, with no apparent cause.

CVS is also known as abdominal migraines because symptoms usually begin with severe abdominal pain or a migraine headache, followed by episodes of vomiting that can last for hours or even days.

Once an episode is over, the sufferer inexplicably returns to normal health, often with no remnants of the disease.

For most people, vomiting can be a source of relief from an unsettled stomach.  But for those who suffer from CVS, initial vomiting only triggers a cycle of more vomiting.

While a definite cause is unknown, some researchers point to a variety of neurological conditions that may be related to CVS.  Many experts say CVS may be one variation of a migraine.

According to researchers, for some, an intense headache or a condition known as an abdominal migraine may signal the onset of a vomiting episode. And many diagnosed with CVS have shown a family history of migraine headaches.

While the actual number of cases is unknown because of sparse research on the syndrome, estimates indicate that CVS may not be as rare as many believe.  Rather, according to the Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association, more often it is misdiagnosed.  Surveys that have been conducted on the condition suggest that as many as 2 percent of children worldwide may suffer from CVS.

Initially identified as a pediatric disease and believed that children would outgrow the disorder, researchers now say it can persist into adulthood and even appear in adults for the first time. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio