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Resident physician Ashley Bartels
Ashley Bartels, MD, a resident physician in general surgery, is the lead author of a paper that won first place for a clinical science paper at a regional meeting of the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma.


Research Leads to New Test for Trauma Patients


Resident physician wins first place for clinical science paper

A test commonly used to assist in managing bleeding disorders in patients with traumatic brain injuries is unreliable, according to MU researchers.

Ashley Bartels, MD, a resident physician in general surgery at the University of Missouri, led a team of pathology, trauma surgery and neurosurgery researchers who reviewed the effectiveness of the Platelet Function Assay-100 (PFA-100) lab test for detecting platelet dysfunction in trauma patients.

“A lot of trauma patients are older and are taking aspirin or other antiplatelet agents, such as clopidogrel,” Bartels said. “Having a reliable test to detect these medications is important and helps guide our management of these patients.”

Because the medical history of trauma patients is often unknown, health care teams turn to lab tests to help them determine the best course of treatment. The PFA-100 is commonly used for trauma and neurosurgery patients.

The research group evaluated 475 cases in which PAF-100 tests were used during a 13-month period in 2013 and 2014. As a result of the study, University of Missouri Health Care started using another test, thromboelastography with platelet mapping (TEG-PM), for trauma patients instead of the PFA-100.

The team hopes to expand the study to look at the underlying mechanisms of platelet inhibition and brain injury.

Bartels was lead author of the paper that explained the researchers' findings. “Platelet Function Assay – An Unreliable Tool for Detecting Platelet Dysfunction in Traumatic Brain Injuries” won first place for a clinical science paper at a regional meeting of the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma. Bartels also presented the findings at the Central Surgical Association meeting in Chicago in March.

In addition to Bartels, the MU research team included Yaw Sarpong, MD, resident physician in neurosurgery; Jared Coberly, MD, resident physician in pathology and anatomical sciences; Natalie Hughes, medical student; N. Scott Litofsky, MD, professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Neurological Surgery; Richard Hammer, MD, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences; Stephen Barnes, MD, professor and chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery; and Salman Ahmad, MD, assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Acute Care Surgery.

Posted March 25, 2015


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