Morning Medical Update Thursday 5-4-23

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


- The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 26 COVID patients today, 32 yesterday. Other significant numbers:

  • 10 with the active virus today, 14 yesterday
  • 0 in ICU, 2 yesterday
  • 0 on a ventilator, 0 yesterday

Key points from today’s guests:

Michelle DeMartino, diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome

  • Michelle lost both parents from COVID in less than a week, and then COVID dealt her a health problem as well.
  • She was diagnosed with COVID for the second time and started to experience heart issues.
  • Her diagnosis was Long QT Syndrome, a heart signaling disorder that causes fast, irregular heartbeats.
  • Dr. Ramirez got her on the right path to recovery. She also took her own initiative to get back into a healthy lifestyle and is running 5K races now.
  • She is so thankful for her medical team and support system to help her through this journey.

Dr. Rigoberto Ramirez, cardiologist, electrophysiologist, The University of Kansas Health System

  • There are two different types of Long QT -- one is hereditary form, and the other is an acquired Long QT that is more related to circumstances.
  • Patients who are critically ill and have are on many medications, and also those who may have electrolyte abnormalities, may be at risk of developing the acquired form of Long QT.
  • There is an incredible fear and anxiety and uncertainty with patients after getting this significant diagnosis. And we've seen that our programs reduce depression and anxiety at a significant level.
  • With some adjustments and medications for Michelle, her heart rate was much lower and that put her at lower risk.
  • This allowed her to live her life and do the things that she wants to do. This is something Dr. Ramirez can continue to monitor.
  • COVID has evolved. And in a hybrid adrenaline state, it’s going to accelerate your heart rate and it can cause some slight QT prolongation. Michelle was having issues with palpitations and heart racing sensation, which is something that we commonly see with COVID.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • The FDA yesterday approved the first ever vaccine for adults 60 and over sometime this fall.
  • The vaccine is for seniors, but we usually think of RSV as a pediatric problem.
  • RSV is a respiratory virus and it does have some seasonality, like most of the other respiratory viruses.
  • It does cause significant illness and death. In any one year you can have 60,000 to 120,000 hospitalizations in people over 65 and you can also have up to 6,000 to 10,000 deaths in those over 65 as well.
  • This new vaccine is effective against preventing hospitalization and death. It's about 84 percent effective at preventing lower respiratory tract disease which can lead to hospitalization and about 90 to 94 percent at preventing death in those over 60.

Friday, May 5 at 8 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. It will be a special Mother’s Day for a woman with 13 grandchildren who underwent a heart transplant.

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