Research Awarded for BEST-CLI Investigators Meeting, Holiday Coordinator Challenge

February 5, 2019

Whitely Ausbie, MHA, Research Coordinator with the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Science Center Houston, has been selected to participate in the BEST-CLI

Whitley Ausbie, MHA, selected to attend BEST-CLI Investigators Meeting at the Society of Vascular Surgery, Vascular Annual Meeting

clinical trial investigators meeting being held in Washington D.C. this June at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, in National Harbor, MD.  The investigators meeting will be held in conjunction with the Society of Vascular Surgery, Vascular Annual Meeting.  The BEST-CLI clinical trial is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The research project examines the best medical therapies for people with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and critical limb ischemia (CLI).  Ausbie was selected for this opportunity in recognition of her hard work in recruiting participants for the research study over the past few months.

“Enrolling patients in the BEST-CLI Clinical Trial is definitely a team effort.  It has been a pleasure to be a part of such a supportive and knowledgeable team,” says Ausbie.  Vascular Surgeon at the McGovern Medical School, and Program Director of the Vascular Surgery Fellowship and Integrated Residency, Kristofer Charlton-Ouw, MD, FACS leads the trial as the site principal investigator.  Rana Afifi, MD, Naveed Saqib, MD, and Bruce Tjaden Jr., MD assist in the research study as co-investigators for BEST-CLI.  “I look forward to representing our site at the investigators meeting at the Society of Vascular Surgery Annual Meeting,” she says.

The UTHealth Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery Department treats patients with PAD, a condition where plaque builds up in the blood vessels that carry blood to the arms and legs.  Over time, if enough plaque builds up, blood supply becomes limited to the arms and legs.  This can cause leg pain, nonhealing wounds, tiredness in the legs or muscles, and discomfort after walking.  PAD occurs in nearly 10 million people in the US and commonly effects people who are 65 and older.  Those at risk for developing PAD include those who smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, diabetes, kidney disorders, and/or obesity.  Some patients with PAD develop CLI, which is a severe form of PAD – the blood vessels become so narrowed that the foot or leg receives little to no blood flow. CLI can cause pain in the foot, even at rest, foot and leg ulcerations, and can lead to gangrene or in some cases, amputation.

120 of the nation’s top research institutions are participating in BEST-CLI trial to assess treatment options for patients with PAD and CLI.  There are two possible treatment options for PAD with CLI: open surgery or endovascular treatment. Open surgery is when a vascular surgeon cuts out the blockage in the artery or creates a bypass around the blocked section of artery.  This requires an incision to expose the artery.  The bypass re-routes blood flow to the feet and legs around the area of blockage in the artery.  Endovascular treatment refers to a minimally invasive surgical treatment option where a thin flexible tube (catheter) is inserted across the blocked artery.  A balloon at the end of the tube is inflated to compress the plaque buildup and expands the artery to allow proper blood flow.

In this landmark study, the UTHealth team works towards a solution to “determine best practices for patients with limb-threatening arterial disease,” says Dr. Charlton-Ouw.  “We are honored to contribute to the trial as one of the high enrollment centers.  This study will help determine the best practices for our patients, and the future treatments for vascular disease,” he says.

You can read more about the BEST-CLI Clinical Trial by visiting the NIH Library of Medicine, here.  Ausbie and other UT CV Surgery BEST-CLI research team members will attend the investigators meeting in June. More information about the SVS meeting can be found here.

Caliann Ferguson, -Marketing and Communications

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