LSU study could aid knee replacements

A study led by an associate professor of clinical orthopedics at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine has found a way to improve knee replacements.

The retrospective study was led by Dr. Vinod Dasa and published online in the journal The Knee. It found that freezing nerves before knee replacement surgery, combined with traditional pain management, improves patient outcomes.

The study looked at 100 patients in Dasa’s orthopedic practice who had advanced osteoarthritis requiring total knee replacement. The treatment group of 50 underwent cryoneurolysis (nerve freezing) in addition to multimodal pain management. It was compared with the control group, who had standard therapy alone. The two groups were similar in terms of gender, age and body mass index.

According to Dasa, patients in the treatment group had significantly shorter hospital stays and were prescribed fewer opioids. Shorter hospital stays mean reduced costs for hospitals and payers.

Six percent of the patients treated with cryoneurolysis prior to their surgery stayed in the hospital for two or more days, compared with 67 percent of the control group.

The shorter hospital stays of patients in the treatment group may be due to better local control of pain and a reduced need for nerve blocks that can impair motor function, all of which allows patients to walk and function well enough to go home sooner.

About 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year.

Tulane med school sets sarcoidosis conference

The Tulane University School of Medicine will bring international experts together for a daylong event aimed at helping patients and physicians better recognize and treat sarcoidosis, a potentially fatal inflammatory disease that often is misdiagnosed.

A physician conference, “Sarcoidosis: Tackling the Trickster,” is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Diboll Auditorium of the Tidewater Building, 1440 Canal St.

Sarcoidosis causes the immune system to go into overdrive, causing cells to group together into clumps called granulomas. When too many granulomas form on an organ, usually the lungs, they can interfere with its function.

Early detection increases survival and decreases disability, experts say.

According to conference organizer Dr. Lesley Ann Saketkoo, associate professor of medicine and director of the New Orleans Scleroderma and Sarcoidosis Patient Care and Research Center, there is a “high prevalence” of the disease in the New Orleans area.

Registration for the New Orleans Sarcoidosis Patient Conference costs $10 and is available online. The physician conference sessions are free for staff at Tulane, LSU, LCMC, Ochsner and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System.

UNO retains its ranking on research activity

The University of New Orleans has retained its status as a doctoral university with “higher research activity,” as determined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, school officials announced.

The classification places doctoral universities in one of three categories: highest, higher and moderate research activity.

LSU and Tulane are the only institutions in the state in the highest category. UNO and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are the only institutions in the second category.

Universities are classified based on a measure of their research activity. The scale includes research and development expenditures in science and engineering; expenditures in other fields; science and engineering research staff; and doctoral conferrals in the humanities, social sciences, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and other fields.

The Carnegie Classification was first published in 1973. It is updated every five years.