Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 11

"Remarkably, John's heart was

patients, we have a multidisciplinary

back to 40 percent functionality

team of professionals in thoracic surgery,

within days of surgery," Dr. Griffith

vascular surgery and orthopaedics who

says. "When he was well enough

have expertise in diagnosing and treating

for us to remove the device, his heart

patients with TOS."

function stayed stable on its own."

Dr. Sarkar and colleagues at UMMC are

Wise persevered through numerous

researching blood vessel growth in hopes

complications, including infections,

of determining preventive protocols. In

pneumonia and severe blood loss.

the short term, they have fine-tuned sur-

He had great support staff at UMMC

gical methods to ensure strong outcomes.

to help him relearn how to walk and

Within seven weeks, Obitz was back

eat and to make sure he was well

to work. She did exercises at home

enough for discharge after a long

and now has full motion of her arm.

Rachel Obitz

two months at the hospital.

She considers herself lucky-a couple of

Wise, now 54, will continue

colleagues have also experienced TOS

to see Dr. Feller for regular follow-

One day while driving, Obitz lost

up appointments.

all feeling in her left arm and her hand

"Although I do not remember the first

but never returned to work after surgery.
"I'd like to thank the whole team who

turned blue. She went to a local emer-

cared for me at UMMC-I have a new-

seven weeks of my stay [due to being on

gency room, but she was transferred

found outlook on my own health and am

life support], I can never thank everyone

to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma

grateful for the opportunity to live my life

enough for saving my life," Wise says.

Center within a few hours.

on my own terms," Obitz says.

Obitz was diagnosed with thoracic

EXPERTISE
UNDER PRESSURE

outlet syndrome (TOS), a rare and
often misdiagnosed disorder in which

INNOVATION
IMPROVES OUTCOMES

Rachel Obitz, 32, experienced chest

arteries, veins or nerves are pinched

Michael Moore's blood pressure

pressure and numbness in her hands

between the collarbone and first rib.

had been on the high end of the spec-

for months, symptoms that she

Rajabrata Sarkar, MD, PhD, professor of

trum for a long time, which he attributed

reasoned were related to her job as

surgery at the University of Maryland

to poor diet and stress at work. One day

a paramedic. She shrugged off the

School of Medicine and head of the

while he was driving on the Baltimore

discomfort as a minor inconvenience,

Division of Vascular Surgery at UMMC,

Beltway, he blacked out. When he

potentially caused by heavy lifting

performed the surgery to remove her

regained consciousness, he was speeding

and texting too much.

first rib and alleviate the pressure.

at 80 mph; he pulled off to the shoulder,

"I thought the pain was just part

"Thoracic outlet syndrome typically

and a bystander called 911.

of the job. I'm so used to taking care

occurs in people who do a lot of

of others that I didn't think to take

upper-extremity exercise," Dr. Sarkar

hospital for a chest scan, which revealed

care of myself," Obitz says.

says. "Luckily for Rachel, and all of our

that he was experiencing a thoracic aortic

Paramedics rushed him to the closest

aneurysm, or swelling of the aorta in his

JOHN WISE'S
DOCTORS

RACHEL OBITZ'S
DOCTOR

MICHAEL MOORE'S
DOCTORS

chest due to weakness in the aortic wall.
He was immediately transferred to UMMC.
Shahab Toursavadkohi, MD (known
to his patients as Dr. Tour), assistant
professor of surgery at the University of
Maryland School of Medicine and codirector of the Center for Aortic Disease
within the Heart and Vascular Center,

Bartley
Griffith, MD

Erika
Feller, MD

Rajabrata
Sarkar, MD, PhD

Bradley
Taylor, MD

Shahab
Toursavadkohi,MD

examined Moore and told him his condition was severe.
umm.edu/midtown | Spring 2018  11


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018

In This Issue
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 1
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - In This Issue
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 3
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 4
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Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 6
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 7
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 8
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 9
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 10
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 11
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 12
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 13
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 14
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 15
Maryland’s Health Matters - Midtown - Spring 2018 - 16
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