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Feb. 16, 2016 - USA Pediatric Residents Recognized with Trainee Travel Awards
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2016-02-05+Pediatric+Residents+MK6.jpgThree University of South Alabama pediatric residents - Drs. Maha Al-Ghafry, Sittichoke Prachuapthunyachart and Lamya Mubayed - were recognized with trainee travel awards for demonstrating excellence in their abstract submissions for the 2016 Southern Regional Meeting (SRM).

In addition, half of the pediatric residents at USA were accepted to present their abstracts at the 2016 SRM. Many faculty members from the department will also be presenting their research at the conference.

“We have had residents participate in the past, but we have never had this many,” said Dr. Rosina Connelly, associate professor of pediatrics at USA.  “Having three residents in one class receive an award is very rewarding.” Dr. Connelly commends the residents for participating in research during their residency training. “Participating in research shows dedication, which is extremely important for fellowship training,” she added.

Dr. Maha Al-Ghafry received a trainee travel award for her research abstract titled “Comparing the Desmopressin Challenge Test Biological Response to Desmopressin Clinical Response in Pediatric Patients with Von Willebrand Disease: A Single Center Experience.” According to Dr. Al-Ghafry, Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is a disorder that causes prolonged bleeding. Pediatric patients diagnosed with certain types of VWD undergo a challenge test using intravenous desmopressin (IV DDAVP). If the patient responds appropriately to IV DDAVP, the medication can be used at home to treat the bleeding episodes.

Dr. Al-Ghafry analyzed 10 years of medical records on pediatric patients with VWD and their individual response to the IV DDAVP challenge test. She then compared those results to the patients’ clinical response when using DDAVP at home. Through her research, she found that one out of three patients had to discontinue using DDAVP due to unwanted side effects or unresponsiveness.

“The IV DDAVP challenge test has been a standard of care for almost 40 years,” Dr. Al-Ghafry said. “Ultimately, our research highlights the need for the IV DDAVP challenge test to be re-assessed, which would benefit patients newly diagnosed with VWD greatly.”

Conducting research during residency training is very important to Dr. Al-Ghafry. “Medicine is a dynamic and ever-changing field, so every little bit of research helps to spark more questions and come up with great answers,” she said. “This all benefits our patients who are our number one priority.”

Dr. Sittichoke Prachuapthunyachart also received the trainee travel award for his abstract titled “The Correlation of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Assessment Symptom Questionnaire Score to Esophageal Multichannel Intraluminal Impedance –pH Measures in Children.” Gastroesophageal reflux is a normal process of the body that allows gastric contents to pass through the esophagus. Children experiencing symptoms such as recalcitrant vomiting, poor weight gain or weight loss and respiratory problems could be experiencing gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD.

The purpose of Dr. Prachuapthunyachart’s research was to find out if there was any association between the symptoms of children with reflux and the objective data from the impedance –pH study. Esophageal Multichannel Intraluminal Impedance –pH monitoring is an invasive tool used to monitor the reflux level in patients during a 24-hour time span.  A tube that detects food particles, liquid or air movement is inserted through the patient’s nose. The parent or guardian then presses a button when the patient experiences symptoms such as vomiting, choking or pain. The reflux data is analyzed in comparison to the symptoms experienced by the patient in order to diagnose GERD.

The association between the impedance –pH study and the symptom questionnaire was mostly found under the respiratory symptoms category. Dr. Prachuapthunyachart hopes the proposed non-invasive assessment symptom questionnaire could replace the impedance –pH study in the future for the diagnosis of GERD in children.

“So far, the evidence that we found may not be enough to be a replacement for a more invasive study. However, it could give us some better ideas about how the impedance -pH study correlates to the symptoms that may be related to gastroesophageal reflux disease,” Dr. Prachuapthunyachart said.

Dr. Lamya Mubayed received a trainee travel award for her abstract titled “Pre-participation Screening of Young Athletes: A Local Study.” The purpose of her study was to assess the feasibility of using an electrocardiogram (EKG), combined with patient history and physical exam, as a screening tool for sports clearance of young athletes. The study was volunteer and community based. Through her research, she found using an EKG as a screening tool for sports clearance is achievable.

According to Dr. Mubayed, using EKGs for mass sports clearance screening has been a hot topic of debate in the American medical society. An Italian study highlighted a significant reduction in the mortality rate of athletes after mandating EKG screening. “To date, there is not enough data to prove the same in the United States,” she said. “We hope that our data, when combined with that of other regions in the country, will help direct future statements and guidelines.”

The Southern Regional Meeting is the premier conference for clinical investigation in the southeastern United States. The 2016 SRM will take place in New Orleans Feb. 18-29, 2016.

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