Researcher Spotlight: Featuring Ken Linnau
As an Emergency Radiologist at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Dr. Ken Linnau sees a number of high-energy trauma cases each year that include a broken pelvis. These patients are at risk for severe internal bleeding if the break disrupted nearby arteries, so the recommended care is to perform a pelvic angiography and then embolization if arterial bleeding is present.
Arterial bleeding only occurs in roughly 20% of patients with pelvic fractures, however, and the angiography procedure is costly and involves risk. As a result, trauma surgeons vary in how aggressive they are in sending major trauma patients to receive pelvic angiograms. This difference in treatment approach has long intrigued Dr. Linnau, who is now coordinating a multi-center study that is seeking to better identify trauma patients who should receive pelvic angiograms.
“This study focuses on developing tools for risk stratification to ensure we are selecting the correct patients for pelvic angiographies,” said Dr. Linnau, who is also an Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Washington. “We know the procedure can save lives, but we don’t exactly know how to select patients appropriately and efficiently.”
Dr. Linnau’s co-principal investigators for the study are Dr. Jorge Soto of Boston University and Dr. Bharti Khurana of Harvard Medical School. The study involves chart abstractions of up to 1,000 records of patients who received pelvic angiograms in the last five years. They are working with 15 medical centers in the United States and Europe to gather this data, with the goal of determining the proportion of angiograms performed that actually showed arterial bleeding. Once data gathering is complete, Dr. Linnau hopes they will be able to develop a profile of high-energy trauma patients who would be best served by receiving a pelvic angiogram.
Abstracting patient records spread across two continents posed a challenge to Dr. Linnau’s study design. To avoid the need to ship or scan records, he turned to REDCap, an electronic data capture tool offered by the Institute of Translational Health Sciences, to facilitate onsite data entry via an Internet browser. Dr. Linnau used REDCap to develop a questionnaire to guide data entry, develop associated branching logic, and implement user rights management. He will be able to easily export data for statistical analysis once the study sites have finished data entry.
“I love REDCap,” said Dr. Linnau. “It has a very elegant form builder, is user friendly, and has great user support. I think the data for this study will be much cleaner as a result of using REDCap.”
REDCap is available for free to researchers in the five-state WWAMI region. To learn more about REDCap, please visit the ITHS website or contact the ITHS Research Navigator.