Baltimore VA Medical Center Participates in a Multicenter Clinical Trial Measuring Blood Volume in Cardiac Patients

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Led by Stephen Gottlieb, MD, co-director of the Heart Failure Clinic at the VA Maryland Health Care System and professor of medicine at the Universityof Maryland School of Medicine, the Baltimore VA Medical Center will be participating in a six-month, multi-center clinical trial to determine if using blood volume measurements in addition to standards of care will decrease the number of re-hospitalizations of cardiac patients post discharge after a heart attack.

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An essential part of our clinical assessment for our patients with heart disease is identifying excess blood volume. The blood analyzer may give us useful information we can use to improve our patient's quality of life.

Led by Stephen Gottlieb, MD, co-director of the Heart Failure Clinic at the VA Maryland Health Care System and professor of medicine at the Universityof Maryland School of Medicine, the Baltimore VA Medical Center will be participating in a six-month, multi-center clinical trial to determine if using blood volume measurements in addition to standards of care will decrease the number of re-hospitalizations of cardiac patients post discharge after a heart attack. The study’s other objective is to determine if measuring blood volume and adjusting treatment accordingly will enable patients to improve exercise capacity and quality of life.

“This is an important study, considering the number one Medicare diagnosis is cardiac disease,” says Gottlieb, the local principal investigator. “In cardiac patients, fluid is always a concern. Cardiac disease affects a good number of Veterans, and we are testing whether monitoring the blood volumes of cardiac patients and then correcting abnormalities can improve outcomes and lead to decreased hospitalizations and an improved quality of life. It could also potentially reduce the financial burden of heart disease.”

Joining Gottlieb on the study is Shawn W. Robinson, MD, co-director of the Baltimore VA's Heart Failure Clinic and assistant professor of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine. "An essential part of our clinical assessment for our patients with heart disease is identifying excess blood volume, which contributes to patients feeling short of breath. The blood analyzer may give us useful information we can use to improve our patient's quality of life" Robinson said.

The study, a follow-up to a 2004 observational trial from the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, will enroll about 300 heart failure patients discharged with a primary diagnosis of acute decompensated heart failure. To measure blood volume, the study is using a device known as the Blood Volume Analyzer-100 (BVA-100), manufactured by Daxor Corporation, a New York-based medical instrumentation and biotechnology company. Daxor will provide the Baltimore VA Medical Center with the BVA-100, an instrument that enables semi-automated measurements of a patient’s total blood volume, red blood cell volume and plasma volume. “If the machine picks up abnormalities, treatment will then be adjusted,” said Gottlieb, adding that measuring the blood is a non-invasive procedure.

The Baltimore VA Medical Center’s Heart Failure Clinic treats more than 200 patients annually. “Having this type of program at the VA Maryland Health Care System will be a bonus for our patients with heart disease if only because of the extra attention they will receive, but also for the potential benefit the blood analyzer information can bring to their medical care,” Robinson said.

The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and outpatient care to veterans at two medical centers, one community living & rehabilitation center and five outpatient clinics located throughout the state. More than 52,000 veterans from various generations receive care from the VAHMCS annually. Nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and quality patient care, the VAHMCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in veterans’ health care, research and education. It costs nothing for Veterans to enroll for health care with the VA Maryland Health Care System and it could be one of the more important things a Veteran can do. For information about VA health care eligibility and enrollment or how to apply for a VA medical care hardship to avoid future copayments for VA health care, interested Veterans are urged to call the Enrollment Center for the VA Maryland Health Care System, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-463-6295, ext. 7324 or visit http://www.maryland.va.gov.

Contact:
Rosalia Scalia
410-605-7464
Cell 410-736-8444
Pager 410-447-4523
Rosalia.scalia(at)va(dot)gov

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