Morning Medical Update Tuesday 6-11-24

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer, The University of Kansas Health System

  • With every other breath we take, oxygen rushes into the lungs, and when you exhale, carbon dioxide runs out of our lungs. Now imagine taking a deep breath filling your lungs with oxygen, pulling the oxygen that can't get into the blood. That is the reality of people living with ILD.
  • This is a group of diseases or inflammation and/or scar tissue that blocks the all-important exchange of gases inside the lungs.
  • The most common form of interstitial lung disease called IPF or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is deadly and incurable, but new drugs and research can help patients breathe easier and live longer.

Dr. Mark Hamblin, pulmonologist; director, ILD & Rare Lung Disease Clinic, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Scar tissue in the lungs is really kind of a genetic disease and it takes into account a lifetime of different exposures that might trigger fibrosis..
  • If they're genetically susceptible over time, you get fibroblasts, which are scar cells that move in and begin to take over the lungs. And the more fibroblasts that come in, the stiffer and more scarred the lungs get and it makes it really hard to breathe.
  • It kills just as many people each year as breast cancer and yet most people who get diagnosed have never heard of it and their families have never heard of it.
  • We're doing a better job of detecting the disease, so more and more people are getting diagnosed that maybe weren't getting diagnosed before.
  • New drugs are able to slow the progression by about 50 percent.
  • We're working hard to help develop new therapies. Madonna has been involved in a couple of these trials and we're starting to see that not only are we get developing better therapies, we may actually be adding in some therapies that begin truly changing the course of the disease, maybe even reversing some of the scarring process.

Madonna Mergenmeyer, IPF patient

  • Her brother had a double lung transplant and had IPF, so her doctor took a closer look at her condition, even though she had no symptoms.
  • She had the same IPF diagnosis in late July 2019 and they were able to put her on these new drugs early to help combat it.
  • Because it was caught so early and treated, she has had very minimal decline over the last four years.
  • Her brother is also being treated, but in his case, he was not diagnosed with IPF until much later when it had progressed to the point that a lung transplant was needed.
  • She thinks research is so important and recommends people stay active physically and socially.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • This week, the COVID count is at 16 active inpatients, down from 23 active inpatients last week.
  • The flu shot rate is doubling the COVID vaccine rate.
  • About 21 percent of adults have gotten the newest COVID shot, while more than 46 percent have received the flu shot.
  • We know that getting that yearly booster, especially for those over 60, is very beneficial in helping prevent you from severe illness and going to the hospital.

Wednesday, June 12 at 8 a.m. is the next Open Mics With Doctor Stites. Your gut affects your brain and your brain affects your gut. We’ll explore the emerging science science of the “gut-brain axis,” impacting everything from anxiety to bloating. And you’ll meet a woman who finally understands how her own mental health was making her sick.

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