Author Archive

Identifying Diseases Faster

Friday, July 13th, 2018


As part of our ongoing effort to offer patients in southeast Idaho the most cutting-edge medical technology available, we recently acquired a new positron emission tomography-computed tomography (better known as PET-CT or PET/CT) system. During an imaging session, it reveals the most comprehensive information about both the structure and the function of cells and tissues in the body. In layman’s terms, it helps providers identify disease faster and at earlier stages.

Of course, the more important question is what does that mean for patients? Sometimes bigger is just bigger and another high tech piece of equipment is just another piece of equipment. When we consider adding new technology to our already advanced diagnostic arsenal, we always ask: what does this do for our patients; how does this particular piece of technology directly impact lives?

In short, our new PET/CT scanner enables our facility to identify the smallest of lesions and detect cancerous tissues and cells in the body early. It too helps support an accurate diagnosis and more personalized treatment for our patients. Additionally, imaging with a PET/CT can often identify diseases that may not have been detected through computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is well documented that this up-to-date imaging tool improves outcomes, reduces long-term costs and aids providers in developing effective therapies.

Portneuf Cancer Center was recently recognized by a leading organization. ASCO is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. Your doctor is one of nearly 45,000 ASCO members from around the world committed to conquering cancer through research, education, prevention, and the delivery of high-quality patient care. To achieve QOPI® Certification, this oncology practice participated in QOPI® and met or exceeded a benchmark score on measures that compared the quality of their care against national standards.

As your regional leader in cancer care, we don’t just want to be among the best in the region; we want to be among the best in the nation. To reach Portneuf Medical Imaging centralized scheduling, call 208-239-1500. To reach Portneuf Cancer Center, call 208-239-1720.



Portneuf Medical Center Celebrates 100th TAVR

Friday, July 13th, 2018


In 2015, our cardiovascular team performed a historic valve replacement, the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), on a 76-year-old gentleman. At the time, only a handful of major medical centers were equipped to perform the technique and Portneuf Medical Center was the only rural hospital in the country and the only hospital in Eastern Idaho to offer the life-saving operation.

Fast forward to today, Portneuf Medical Center proudly celebrates its 100th TAVR. Leland Hill, who worked for the ISU bookstore for 37.5 years, was one of three patients scheduled for a TAVR on the day Portneuf performed its 100th procedure.

“I drove up, checked in and had the surgery,” Hill said. “I had my first pacemaker put in by Dr. Grigera. All three of my stents were done here at Portneuf. I don’t know why people would go anywhere else when you can get it done here. The doctors are so gracious and talented.”

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that allows a surgeon to fix a severely narrowed aortic valve without having to open up a patient’s chest. It is approved to be performed in facilities with a high level of cardiac and heart surgery experience. Basically, a stent based aortic heart valve is placed into the body via a catheter that is inserted through an incision in the groin/leg. It is then threaded up the heart through the arteries

“That day we had three TAVR cases,” said Jacob DeLaRosa, MD. “Several new technologies, including TAVR, have evolved to address conditions that were previously considered inoperable or not amenable to surgical treatment. With such a talented cardiovascular team here at Portneuf, we continue to advance and stay abreast of the latest procedures and advancements.”

As your regional leader in cardiovascular care, we don’t just want to be among the best in the region; we want to be among the best in the nation. To reach Portneuf TAVR and valve clinic, call 208-239-2580.

Dr. DeLaRosa is double board certified in cardiothoracic surgery and general surgery.


The Scoop on Chia Seeds

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

The word “chia” may trigger a certain image in your mind such as planted pots or creatures sprouting green “hair”. Though chia seeds are a great craft project, they can also provide us with many health benefits when added to your favorite foods!

What are Chia Seeds?

Chia is an annual plant that produces small white or purple blossoms. A relative to mint, this plant originated from pre-Columbian South and Central America where it was used as a medicinal and staple food. Chia is mainly grown for their seeds which contain multiple health benefits. These seeds contain high levels of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), fiber, protein, minerals, and antioxidants. Also, unlike flax seeds, chia seeds are fully digestible in their whole form which allows us to absorb the nutrients they contain. Studies have shown that ALA, the main component of chia seeds, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and hypertension.

How to Incorporate Chia Seeds…

  • Soak chia seeds in water for about 10 minutes until plump; the soaked seeds will have a gel-like texture (chia gel) that can easily be added into oatmeal, yogurt, or milk and cereal!
  • Baked goods can be improved with chia; up to 25% of oil or egg in cake recipes may be replaced chia gel without affecting weight, volume, or taste of the final product.
  • Add chia seeds directly into smoothies as shown in the Morning Sunshine Chia Seed Smoothie!

Chia seeds can be purchased at most grocery stores in the health food section or online. Give these amazing seeds a try in your favorite snack!

Information gathered from

Kidney Stone Prevention Guide

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

1 in 11 adults in the U.S. will have a kidney stone. This means tens of millions of people going for ER visits, getting CT scans, taking painkillers, and waiting in misery to pass the stone or go to surgery. Here is a brief guide to help you prevent kidney stones.

  1. Drink Water

Drinking plenty of water is by far the best way to prevent kidney stones. I recommend drinking at least 2.5 Liters of water per day (84 oz., or 10 cups). Plan to drink even more water if you’ll be exercising.

  1. Consume Citrate

Citrate is a naturally occurring substance in urine that prevents kidney stone formation. You can increase it several ways; add lemon juice to your water (two teaspoons per glass), drink orange juice (50/50 with water to decrease sugar content), or try Crystal Light.

  1. Watch your Salt

Too much salt in your diet increases your risk of kidney stone formation, not to mention it puts you at risk for heart disease. I recommend following The American Heart Association guideline of no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg/day for most adults. Cut back on processed foods. Avoid adding salt at the dinner table.

  1. Calcium – not too little, not too much

Well-intentioned patients sometimes try to prevent kidney stones by reducing calcium in their diet. This actually makes your stones worse. You should consume a normal amount of dietary calcium, which is 1,000 – 1,200 mg/day for most adults. Too much calcium can increase your stone risk, so if you take a multivitamin or calcium supplement be aware of how much you are getting.

  1. Less Meat

Unfortunately, the medical literature shows that almost all of the popular sources of animal proteins such as fish, poultry, red meat, eggs, and cheese increase the risk of stone formation. Try to limit your daily meat quantity to no bigger than a deck of cards. It’s better for your heart too.

  1. Oxalate

Oxalate is found in urine and promotes stone formation. Oxalate is also found in many of our favorite foods including chocolate, tea, nuts, spinach, beans, and beets. If you’ve had a kidney stone you may need to examine your dietary sources of oxalate and consider reducing them.

Jason Orien, MD is a urologist at Portneuf Medical Center. He specializes in the treatment of kidney stones, cancers of the prostate, kidney, and bladder, enlarged prostate, erectile dysfunction, vasectomy, and women’s health needs including overactive bladder, prolapse, and urine leakage. He is trained in minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic techniques. To schedule an appointment, please call 208-239-2770.

Local Firefighter Relies on Portneuf Medical Group for Hernia Treatment

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Randy Anderson

Early this past March, Randy Anderson noticed a lump under his skin in his abdomen area. He has his suspicion of what it was.

“I wasn’t experiencing any pain, but after I Googled it I was pretty confident it was a hernia,” Anderson shares. “I scheduled an appointment with my primary care provider, who took an ultrasound and confirmed my suspicion.”

While many people self-diagnose online, the best rule of thumb is to schedule an appointment with a provider who can diagnose and outline a course of action; together you can develop a treatment plan. Having a partner in your care can lessen fear and anxiety. His primary care provider referred him to Drew McRoberts, MD, general surgeon with Portneuf Surgical Specialists.

“He is well-known in the community and so my doctor referred me to him,” said Anderson. “I don’t have a lot of health issues and don’t go to hospitals regularly, so I was very impressed with my experience with Dr. McRoberts and the Portneuf Medical Center staff.”

After Anderson was diagnosed with a hernia, he wanted to schedule the surgery as quickly as possible. “I am a Wildlife firefighter, so my schedule can get pretty hectic,” said Anderson. “I wanted to have it all taken care of before summer because that is when work gets very busy with trainings and I didn’t want to have any health issues lingering.”

Reflecting on his first appointment with Dr. McRoberts to discuss treatment options, Anderson said, “He was great and really took the time to sit and talk with me about the surgery and recovery time and to learn more about me. We talked for around 30 minutes about everything, and I was just really impressed he took that much time with me. Once I let him know I had a narrow window to have the surgery because of work, he was very accommodating and scheduled the surgery for a couple of weeks later, which was nice.”

In late March, Anderson went to Portneuf Medical Center for his surgery. “Dr. McRoberts had explained the surgery to me in great detail, so I wasn’t nervous and knew I was in good hands,” Anderson shares. “Everyone was helpful and super friendly. I was very impressed with the amount of professionalism and personal care I received from everyone involved. After I woke up, I was given food and coffee and was able to go home within the hour.”

Three weeks after surgery, Anderson went in for a post-surgical check-up with Dr. McRoberts. “I’m doing great now,” said Anderson. “I’ve been a firefighter for 30 years and haven’t had very many surgeries. Overall my whole experience was barely an inconvenience and it didn’t set me back from work at all. I would definitely recommend Portneuf Medical Center and Dr. McRoberts to the community.”

To learn more about Dr. McRoberts, please click here. If you are experiencing symptoms of a hernia, talk to your primary care provider about a referral to Portneuf Medical Group. 

New Screening Guidelines for Colon Cancer

Monday, June 25th, 2018

The American Cancer Society released new screening guidelines for adults of average risk of developing colon cancer. The new recommended age is now age 45 for both men and women. instead of 50. This is very important to note and even more important to share with friends and family. Professionally, we have seen a marked increase in colorectal cancer cases in younger people in recent years.

Approximately 140,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer in the U.S. and over 50,000 people die from it annually. It is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. However, colorectal cancer is different than most cancers – it’s largely preventable and beatable.

The number one way to detect colon cancer is through screening, namely a colonoscopy. Of course, the greatest barrier to long-term colon health is the social unease when it comes to sharing information about your bowels. Despite the prevalence of colorectal cancers, many individuals opt to not discuss their bowel habits during wellness visits or choose not to make a call if they have a concern. I would like to encourage men and women of all ages to talk with their primary care provider about their health concerns as well as about their family history of diseases.

Together, you and your provider should outline a schedule for preventative screenings, including colorectal cancer screening. Of course, if you experience any abnormal symptoms such as blood in or on your stool after bowel movements; frequent stomach pain, aches, cramps, or bloating; change in bowel habits; unexplained weight loss, fatigue, weakness or shortness of breath, it is important to see your doctor immediately.

To find out more about routine screenings, visit learn more about our gastroenterology services and schedule a colon cancer screening, please call 208-232-6616.

Judith Csanky, MD is a board-certified gastroenterologist. She specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the digestive tract, hepatology, inflammatory bowel disease, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and general GI endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopy.

Healthy Alternatives to Sugary Drinks

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Did you know that what you drink every day can cause you to gain weight? According to, people are drinking more soft drinks, juices, and other beverages that are high in sugar and calories without balancing their caloric intake from food. Over time, this can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Here are a few fun and simple ways to decrease the amount of sugar and calories you are drinking, and increase your water intake:

  • Switch from whole milk to low fat or skim milk. You’ll get all the same health benefits without the extra calories.
  • Drink only 4-6 ounces of juice a day. If you have a difficult time keeping to that amount, add water. You can still enjoy the flavor of the juice without the extra sugar and calories.
  • Last but not least, if you don’t like the way plain water tastes, add fruit to it. Fill an ice cube tray with fruit, add water, and freeze it overnight. The next day you have a sweet, healthy, drink that has almost no sugar or calories.

There are countless ways to add flavor to water, have fun with it. No matter how small this change may seem, it will make a difference over time.

“Greek Out” for Heart Health and Disease Prevention

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Following a Mediterranean diet may help to reduce your risk of heart disease or help manage it as well as reduce your risk for cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The Mediterranean diet comes from countries that border the Mediterranean Sea including Greece and France and some studies have shown to help lower our “lousy” LDL cholesterol. The heart-healthy eating plan emphasizes the following:

Fruits and vegetables: By adding more fruits and vegetables into your eating plan, you not only increase the variety and color, but you also increase your fiber, vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants which help to protect your heart and reduce your risk of cancer.

Olive oil: Due to its heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, choose olive oil more often instead of butter for dipping bread or cooking. Be sure to stick to the serving size on the nutrition facts label.

Whole grains: By choosing whole grains most often, we can increase our fiber intake as well as feel satiated or fuller longer. Look for the word “whole” when purchasing flour, tortillas, rice, crackers, and breads.

Nuts and seeds: We can add nuts and seeds to our eating plan as a snack or include them in our cooking by adding them to oatmeal, cereal, quick breads or muffins and on salads. Nuts and seeds also add fiber and heart-healthy fats. Choose unsalted or raw almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and pecans. Try chia seeds, sunflower seeds or ground flaxseed.

Fish: The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fish and poultry consumption most often and very little red meat consumption. Fish provides heart-healthy omega 3’s and can be prepared by baking and grilling instead of breading and frying. Choose fattier fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna and use lemon and a little bit of olive oil to prepare. Eat fish two times per week and limit red meat to one time per month.

Herbs and spices: Be creative with your cooking by trying different herbs and spices like turmeric, cumin, thyme, oregano, red or black pepper, garlic, and Mrs. Dash spice blends instead of salt. You can create your own spice blends as well as use vinegar, lemon or lime juice to flavor food.

Red wine: the Mediterranean diet also includes a small amount of red wine about 5 oz. per day for women and 10 oz. per day for men due to the health benefits of resveratrol. Overconsumption of alcohol can have negative effects on our health so it’s best that if you do not currently drink to talk to your practitioner first. Another alternative to red wine or grape juice which can be high in sugar is consuming red grapes.

Check out the recipe below for a traditional Greek salad and add it to your Memorial Day weekend menu!

Traditional Greek Salad

From The Mediterranean Dish web site at


4 Medium juicy tomatoes, preferably organic tomatoes

1 Cucumber, or 3/4 English (hot house) cucumber preferred, partially peeled making a striped pattern

1 green bell pepper, cored   

1 medium red onion

Greek pitted Kalamata olives

Salt, a pinch

4 tbsp. quality extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

8 oz. of creamy Greek feta cheese in blocks (do not crumble)

1/2 tbsp. quality dried oregano


  1. Cut the tomatoes into wedges or large chunks
  2. Cut the partially peeled cucumber in half length-wise, then slice into thick halves (at least 1/2″ in thickness)
  3. Thinly slice the bell pepper into rings.
  4. Cut the red onion in half and thinly slice into half-moons.
  5. Place everything in a large salad dish. Add a handful of the pitted Kalamata olives.
  6. Season very lightly with salt (just a pinch) or omit the salt for heart health. Pour the olive oil and red wine vinegar.
  7. Give everything a very gentle toss to mix; do NOT over mix, this salad is not meant to be handled too much.
  8. Add the feta blocks on top and sprinkle the dried oregano.
  9. Serve with crusty whole grain bread!

Meet our Robot and learn about Hernias

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

More than 600,000 hernia repairs are performed in the US every year, making it one of the more common general surgical procedures performed. Hernia symptoms can range from a painless lump to a severely painful, tender, swollen protrusion.

Although abdominal hernias can be present at birth, hernias often develop later in life. Any condition that increases the pressure in the abdominal cavity may contribute to the formation of a hernia. Examples include, but are not limited to heavy lifting, obesity, straining during a bowel movement as well as coughing. If you experience symptoms, you should visit your primary care physician and/or an emergency department.

If you or a loved one would like more information about hernia surgery, please join Drs. Drew McRoberts, Terry Rager, Katie Fritz and Hannah Caulfield of Portneuf’s Surgical Specialists for an informative seminar. Learn about hernia – what it is, types of hernias, symptoms, how it is diagnosed, treatment options, recovery process and more.

Additionally, our robot will be available throughout the evening. Seminar attendees will have the opportunity to test drive robotic technology.

This free community seminar will be held in the Pebble Creek Conference Room at the Portneuf Medical Center Thurs, May 24, 2018. Doors open at 6:00 pm; the presentation begins at 6:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a seat, visit or call 208-239-2033. To learn more about Portneuf’s upcoming seminars be sure to like Portneuf Medical Center on Facebook.


Speech and Hearing Month: Free Screenings On May 18th

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Communication and hearing disorders are among the most common disabilities in children nationwide. According to the American–Speech-Language-Hearing Association 1 in 12 children ages 3-17 have a disorder related to voice, speech and language or swallowing. Additionally, 15% of children between the ages of 6-19 have some degree of hearing loss.

Children with even a slight hearing loss have much more difficulty than children who have normal hearing in speech and language development. The earlier children with hearing loss and/or a speech and language delay start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential.

Portneuf Ear, Nose, and Throat in conjunction with Portneuf Speech Therapy are celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month during the month of May. To serve our community, the Portneuf team is offering free speech, language and hearing screenings on Friday, May 18, 2018 from 12noon to 5pm in the Conference Center at Portneuf Medical Center. On the 18th, walk-ins are welcome. For more information, contact Portneuf Therapy Center (208) 239-1490 or Portneuf Ear Nose and Throat (208)-239-1960.

While May 18th is set aside specifically for walk-in free screenings, Portneuf Medical Center’s therapy services will be offering free speech, language, voice, and hearing screenings for the Southeastern Idaho community May. Additionally, Portneuf Ear Nose and Throat clinic is offering free hearing screenings. We can do hearing screenings on individuals 6 months of age and older as well as voice, speech and language testing on individuals 12 months of age and older. Testing during the month, with the exception of the 18th, is by appointment only, please call 208-239-1490 or 208-239-1960 to schedule.

Communication disorders are often treatable, yet all too often, we find parents are waiting longer than one would typically recommend to bring their child in for an evaluation. Delaying treatment means children may miss a critical developmental window where they acquire a majority of their foundational speech and language skills, which occurs between birth and 3 years of age. The skills achieved during this time lay the groundwork for later success with reading and writing, academics, social interactions, career options and much more. If you have any concerns about your child’s ability to hear, speak, or understand, our team of trained professionals in speech therapy services and audiology can help! We use a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to determine the best treatment plan for your child.

Makenzi Gwinn, Au.D, CCC-A, F-AAA is fully certified and licensed in Idaho as a Clinical Audiologist, is certified by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. She is presently taking new patients.