AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 20.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lu Qi, MD, PhD HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and Professor Director,Tulane University Obesity Research Center Department of Epidemiology Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine 1440 Canal Street, Suite 1724 New Orleans, LA 70112 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gallstone disease has been related to various risk factors of cardiovascular disease, and several previous studies suggest potential link between gallstone disease and heart disease. Our study, for the first time, provide consistent evidence for the association between gallstone disease and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Surgical Research, University Texas, Weight Research / 27.12.2014

Taylor S. Riall, MD, PhD Professor, John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TXMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Taylor S. Riall, MD, PhD Professor, John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Riall: In patients who have symptoms related their gallstones – most commonly sharp right upper quadrant abdominal pain (often associated with fatty meals), nausea, and vomiting - the current recommendation is to remove the gallbladder (perform cholecystectomy). However, in older patients there are multiple factors that make this decision difficult. Older patients have more associated medical problems (like diabetes, heart disease, etc.) making elective surgery higher risk. On the flip side, older patients are at higher risk of developing complications from their gallstones, and once they do, their mortality (death from gallbladder disease) and complications increase substantially. In recent study of Medicare beneficiaries with symptomatic gallstones, we found that fewer than 25% underwent elective removal of the gallbladder after an initial episode of pain or symptoms related to their gallbladder. We then developed a model that predicted the likelihood of these same patients requiring emergent gallstone-related complications if they did not have their gallbladder removed electively. This information prompted the current study. We sought to determine if the patients getting their gallbladders removed were the ones at highest risk for complications. Similar to the previous study, we found that only 22% of Medicare beneficiaries in this study (a different population) underwent elective gallbladder removal. We divided patients into three groups based on our risk prediction model – those with <30% risk, 30-60% risk, and >60% risk of requiring acute gallstone-related hospitalization. Please note that while we call the <30% risk group “low” risk, a 17% chance of hospitalization is actually a significant risk – much higher than seen in other medical conditions for which surgery or other interventions may be considered.
  • First, our model worked well – the ACTUAL hospitalization rate was 17%, 45%, and 69% in the two years after the first symptoms.
  • Second, whether patients had their gallbladder removed seemed unrelated to risk. 22% of patients in the lowest risk group, 21% in the middle risk group, and 23% in highest risk group had their gallbladder removed. Even more striking, in the healthiest patients – those with no medical problems and no reason not to perform elective surgery - cholecystectomy rates actually decreased with increasing risk of emergent admission. Cholecystectomy was performed in 34% of patients in the low risk group, 25% of patients in the moderate risk group, and 26% of patients in the highest risk group.
  • In addition, fewer than 10% of patients who didn’t have their gallbladder removed were ever seen by a surgeon, suggesting that this decision is being made at the level of the primary care or emergency physician and not necessarily patient choice.
Author Interviews, Surgical Research / 26.09.2014

Dennis Kim, MD Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute Researcher MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dennis Kim, MD Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute Researcher Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Kim: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a minimally invasive procedure to remove the gallbladder, is one of the most common abdominal surgeries in the U.S. Yet medical centers around the country vary in their approaches to the procedure with some moving patients quickly into surgery while others wait. Our study found gallbladder removal surgery can wait until regular working hours rather than rushing the patients into the operating room at night. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ on the upper right side of the abdomen that collects and stores bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver. Gallbladders may need to be removed from patients who suffer pain from gallstones that block the flow of bile. In a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, surgeons insert a tiny video camera and special surgical tools through small incisions in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. Occasionally, surgeons may need to create a large incision to remove the gallbladder, and this is known as an open cholecystectomy. We conducted a retrospective study of 1,140 patients at two large urban referral centers who underwent gallbladder removal surgeries. We found 11% of the surgical procedures performed at night (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) were converted to the more invasive procedure, open cholecystectomies. Only 6% of those who underwent the surgery during the day required the more invasive form of surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Surgical Research / 20.08.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mats Möller MD Department of Surgery, Ersta Hospital Department of Clinical Sciences Karolinska Institutet Danderyds Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Möller: The natural course of common bile duct stones seem not as favorable as previous studies have suggested. Leaving stones with no measures taken has in our study a less favorable outcome compared to removing the stones. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mayo Clinic, Surgical Research / 11.08.2014

Dr. Juliane Bingener-Casey, M.D. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Juliane Bingener-Casey, M.D. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.   Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?   Dr. Bingener-Casey: “About half of patients seeking emergency care for gallbladder problems were immediately admitted and underwent urgent cholecystectomy, the other half went home. The half that went home was younger and had lower WBC counts, lower neutrophils and less people with elevated temperature than the patients immediately admitted. Of the half that went home, 31% returned at least once to the ED within 30 days and 20% were admitted to undergo urgent cholecystectomy after the return visit, 55% percent of those within 7 days of the initial ED visit. Patients who failed the elective treatment plan had similar WBC counts but were more likely to have an ASA >3, slightly higher creatinine and higher average maximum VAS pain score. Patients who were less than 40 years old or older than 60 years were more likely to fail the elective pathway.” (more…)