June 16, 2011
UC San Diego Surgery Resident Wins Young Investigator Award
Studies show promise in pediatric cardiology and surgery
For the second year in a row, Hannah Copeland, MD, general surgery resident at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine received the young investigator's award at the International Conference on Pediatric Mechanical Circulatory Support and Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Perfusion.
This year, Copeland received the William Pierce Young Investigator's Award for a presentation entitled “Anticoagulation for Children on Mechanical Circulatory Support.”
“When patients go on a mechanized device, their blood has to be thinned and there is no protocol for managing children on anti-coagulants,” said Copeland. “The protocol we created provides a way to treat children on an individual basis, using the same drug, and monitoring them to make sure the blood is appropriately thinned.”
In 2010, Copeland received the John Waldhausen Young Investigator’s Award for a presentation entitled “Mechanical Support and Medical Therapy Reverse Heart Failure in Infants and Children.” The paper documents a unique experience in the recovery of children with dilated cardiomyopathies. In the study, 28 children with heart failure received LVADs, BiVADS, EMCO, or total artificial heart devices. 20 of the 28 participants survived and almost 50 percent of the survivors recovered their native heart function.
“One of the children has been living without a device with no need for transplant for almost five years,” said Copeland, who conducted the studies at University of Arizona College of Medicine. “We showed that it’s possible to avoid transplant and not succumb to a life limited by immunosuppressant therapy. This opens many more possibilities for children to live well with their native hearts for years to come.”
The William S. Pierce, MD, Young Investigator Award is given in honor of William S. Pierce, MD, founder of the total artificial heart assist devices more than 30 years ago. The John A. Waldhausen, MD, Young Investigator Award is given in honor of John A. Waldhausen, MD, who founded the department of surgery at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and served as its chair for 25 years.
Copeland plans to pursue a career in cardiothoracic surgery with a special emphasis on treating children and adults with congenital heart defects. “As a young investigator, I am honored to have been part of a distinguished team that produced landmark findings.”
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