MILWAUKEE, March 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A groundbreaking discovery by Versiti's Blood Research Institute (BRI), an international leader in blood health innovation, has recently saved the lives of several patients across the United States, providing the first evidence worldwide that this innovative treatment can effectively save those with a fatal blood disease.
Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a devastating condition that 10 million U.S. patients are exposed to annually. It is caused by an immune reaction to the drug heparin, a common blood thinner often given to those undergoing heart surgeries. HIT attacks platelets, causing abnormal blood clotting throughout the body that can lead to organ failure, stroke and death. There are approximately 20,000 HIT diagnoses and 2,000 deaths from HIT nationally each year.
Anand Padmanabhan, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director at Versiti and BRI Associate Investigator, and Richard Aster, M.D., BRI Senior Investigator, have developed an innovative new treatment for HIT patients. The drug, called IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin), calms platelets and reverses HIT's deadly clotting symptoms.
Since 2016, Dr. Padmanabhan has consulted with leading hospitals and physicians across the country on this new approach with life-saving results. HIT patients in Maryland, Oregon, Texas and Washington have been saved as a result of the treatment. In several cases, critically ill patients have made a full recovery in just a matter of days, including one patient in 2018 at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
"The patient's turnaround was the most amazing thing that I have ever seen. When it comes to how we treat HIT, this is a complete game-changer," says Dr. Alison Grazioli, Medical Director, ICU, Baltimore VA Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center. "The discovery made by Dr. Padmanabhan and the Blood Research Institute is one of the most phenomenal developments in medicine today."
"This treatment, based on years of pioneering research conducted by the Blood Research Institute, is the first convincing demonstration of the efficacy of IVIg in HIT patients anywhere in the world. Our hope is that this leads to further advances in HIT diagnoses and treatment that saves the lives of patients in the United States and beyond," says Dr. Padmanabhan.
Versiti, a national leader in blood health innovation, was formed with the mission to improve the health of patients and enable the success of our health care partners nationally. We provide innovative, value added solutions in the fields of transfusion medicine, transplantation, and blood-related diseases to meet the needs of each of our customers. The collective efforts across Versiti result in improved patient outcomes, expanded access to care and cost efficiencies for health care systems nationwide. For more information, visit versiti.org.