Open Mics With Doctor Stites 2-7-24

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


Key points from today’s guests:

Morning Rounds – Updates on Current News

Dr. Scott Mullen, orthopedic surgeon, The University of Kansas Health System

  • The University of Kansas Health System sports medicine team will be at the Super Bowl with the team like we always do to perform the best care we can from the sideline and the trading room and keep them in the game as much as possible.
  • The Chiefs training staff does an amazing job.
  • The same doctors who are treating the Chiefs players are treating patients in the region through our normal orthopedic sports medicine clinics and the training facility.

Focus Topic

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

  • The pulmonology hypertension program here at The University of Kansas Health System is one of the largest and best programs in the country.
  • Pulmonary hypertension is a very difficult disease to manage and can be rapidly fatal if it is not treated.
  • Several new drugs recently introduced have helped patients significantly manage their symptoms.

Dr. Tim Williamson, pulmonologist, vice president of quality and safety, The University of Kansas Health System

  • This is the first new class of drugs for pulmonary hypertension in probably at least 10 years, maybe more.
  • It's been a long time since we've had a new class and it's one of the first ones to really make a difference.
  • The clinical trial results look great and it is going to be coming up for FDA review next month.
  • On one walking test, the patients had the ability to walk much further than they were before.
  • One issue is that these new drugs will be extremely expensive.

Dr. Lewis Satterwhite, pulmonologist, medical director, medical ICUs, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Pulmonary hypertension means that you have high blood pressure in the blood vessels going from the heart to the lungs.
  • There can be many different causes, which require very specific treatments.
  • It's really important to try to under understand and identify the different contributions so that we know what are the appropriate treatments because one treatment for pulmonary hypertension can cause problems or damage or worsening if it's applied in the wrong patient in the wrong setting.
  • The average time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis is two plus years. And that's not changed despite education and outreach in probably 20-plus years. Part of the issue in delayed diagnosis is the symptoms that patients have overlap with a lot of other more common issues.

Ashleigh Macgillivray, living with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension

  • In 2020, she collapsed while going up the stairs and was taken to the ER.
  • She had very abnormal tests and was referred to a cardiologist and doctors eventually diagnosed her with very rare, but significant pulmonary arterial hypertension.
  • Her symptoms were so bad, she needed caretakers to help her with everyday activities.
  • Medication has helped stabilize her, but she still needs oxygen regularly.
  • This was a drastic lifestyle change as a young, former distance runner.
  • She now has inhaled medicine, which is so much better than previous medications that led to severe, painful side effects.
  • She encourages others in this situation to not lose hope and to use your faith. For others, she asks them to please donate to research.

COVID Updates

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

  • This week, the COVID count is at 24 active inpatients, in line with the 23 active inpatients last week.
  • Nationally, there were under 1,000 deaths attributed to COVID in January, which is the first time since May 2023 it was that low.
  • Locally, hospitalizations for RSV, influenza, and COVID have decreased over previous weeks.

Friday, February 9 at 8 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. Join us as we share the excitement of the Chiefs in the Super Bowl and show all that the Health System is doing to celebrate.

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