Pittsburgh Magazine recently published astonishing stories of patients who cheated death or permanent disability, and the physicians who saved their lives. Featured in these patient stories were the medical efforts of two McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members (pictured left to right):
- Peter Wearden, MD, PhD, director, Pediatric Mechanical Cardiopulmonary Support Program, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
- David Okonkwo, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, director of Neurotrauma and of the Spinal Deformity Program, clinical director of the Brain Trauma Research Center, and associate director of the Center for Injury Research and Control
These two clinician-researchers were also named 2012 Top Docs by Castle Connelly Medical Ltd.
Dr. Wearden is a congenital cardiothoracic surgeon at Children’s Hospital. He currently is spearheading two National Institutes of Health-funded projects to develop an internal and external ventricular assist device (VAD) for young children. VADs are mechanical devices that take over the pumping action of the heart and offer lifesaving support, most often acting as a bridge to keep patients alive until a donor heart becomes available for transplantation. It is estimated that as many as 1,000 children annually may benefit from these technologies.
The Brain and Spine Injury Program consists of a number of programs developed to better understand and treat the problems associated with traumatic injury to the central nervous system, brain, and spinal cord, in both adults and children. Dr. Okonkwo and collaborators work with investigators worldwide through the international Spine Trauma Study Group to advance the evaluation, treatment, and outcomes of patients suffering traumatic injuries of the spinal column and spinal cord. The Neurotrauma Clinical Trials Office provides the infrastructure necessary to carry out the large number of active research protocols ongoing within the program.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.