Rheumatoid Arthritis Center Emphasizes Importance of Early Diagnosis & Treatment

Vol. 14, No. 4
Winter 2005

  • Winthrop Ranked Among Top 5% in Nation For Overall Clinical Excellence -- Two Years in a Row!

  • Winthrop Gets Highest Marks from Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

  • Cardiac Services Score High in NY State Department of Health Reports

  • Pulmonary Hypertension Program Helps Patients Breathe Easier, Live Healthier

  • Winthrop Neurosurgeon Performs "Bloodless" Spine Surgery

  • Horticultural Program Branches Off Child Life Program

  • Popular Teen Diabetes Group Focuses on Fun

  • Weight Control Program Fosters Family Involvement, Healthy Choices

  • Chronic Lung Disease Patients Breathe Easier Thanks to WEB

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Center Emphasizes Importance of Early Diagnosis & Treatment

  • Stroke Peer Visitor Program Keeps Smiles Going

  • Winthrop's Breast Imaging & Diagnostic Center: Accessible to Patients, Timely Reports for Physicians


  • Yuletide Ball

  • Jets Women's Organization & Project Sunshine Spread Cheer in Winthrop's Pediatric Center

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  • Specialized facility set to expand, providing enhanced care

    Lois Bonetti, RN, RA Center, walks Mrs. Bongiovanni through the medication injection process as Dr. Carsons looks on. The Center offers patiens individualized sessions for learning therapy methods.
    Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a disease that orders the immune system to attack and destroy normal tissue, wrecks havoc on joints, burdening patients with chronic swelling and often unbearable pain.

    If not detected early and treated aggressively, RA can cause serious joint damage and deformity. While symptoms can be managed with medication, early detection -- through a combination of diagnostic tests, physical examination and X-ray evidence -- is vital.

    Director of the Winthrop-University Hospital Rheumatoid Arthritis Center, Steven Carsons, MD, Chief of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, stated: "There's been tremendous advancement and hope for patients, but to effectively fight the disease, they must realize there's a narrow window of opportunity to introduce therapy for best results."

    The Center, therefore, focuses on the early diagnosis and treatment of RA by providing patients with the most advanced options, which include monoclonal antibodies, receptor fusion proteins and decoy receptors. The team, including Elise Belilos, MD, Rheumatology Section Head; Gary Rosenblum, DO, Director of Geriatric Rheumatology, and Judy Maddox, DO, also is involved in clinical trials evaluating cutting-edge treatments.

    Recently, the controversy surrounding the popular anti-inflammatory medications (Cox-2 inhibitors) such as Vioxx and Celebrex, has confused many patients and forced them to seek alternative ways of finding relief. "People are so afraid of these new medications --hearing that they could cause heart problems -- that they'd rather take aspirin, which may result in serious gastrointestinal complications," explained Dr. Carsons. "They must remember that with all medications, there are risks versus benefits for everyone."

    He advises patients not to rely on hearsay, but tto consult a physician or rheumatologist before changing medication. "People do themselves a tremendous disservice and remove the potential for improvement by basing their treatment decisions on what they hear from others," he explained.

    Barbara Bongiovanni, Dr. Carson's patient since 1990, touts the Center's care for helping her manage RA. "Within two weeks of receiving therapy, I was able to wake up and walk into my kitchen without pain; it was amazing and so is the team," she added. "They're so knowledgeable and caring."

    The Center, which works closely with Winthrop's Department of Orthopaedics and Pain Management Center, will be enhancing the quality care it already provides by moving to new quarters. Conveniently located near the Hospital's Orthopaedics and Radiology Departments at 120 Mineola Boulevard, Mineola, it will feature an expanded treatment room where patients may comfortably receive their IV injected therapies in a relaxed environment.

    For more information, call (516) 663-2097.

    The Pediatric Inpatient Center received computers, printers and DVD movies thanks to the generosity of Twigs. (Picture l to r): Twigs members Janice Mazzari, Suzanne Eigl and Jackie Sprotte, along with John Broder, Winthrop's Vice President of External Affairs, and AnnMarie DiFrancesca, Child Life Program Director.

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