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RUTH B. MORRISON, RN, BSN

Ruth

My experience with thromboembolism:

I have been employed by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital since 1976 after graduating from Southeastern Massachusetts University, where I received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  My interest has always been in Cardiovascular Medicine and I first met Dr. Samuel Z. Goldhaber during my first year of Nursing Practice. After spending many years working in the Coronary Care Unit, I now celebrate my 27 years as the Clinical Research Nurse with the Thrombosis Research Group.

The Thrombosis Research Group addresses medical, nursing and psychological aspects of the care of patients diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases such as pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, atrial fibrillation, and coronary artery disease. Over the past 27 years I have had the opportunity to participate in numerous clinical trials, some of which have dramatically changed the management of these disease entities. Initially, many of the trials focused on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of venous thromboembolism. In the late 1980’s I participated in a clinical trial leading to the FDA approval of thrombolytic therapy for the treatment of pulmonary embolism.  Another exciting clinical trial led to the outpatient treatment of deep vein thrombosis with low-molecular weight heparin.  Larger studies included The National Institutes of Health sponsored PREVENT Trial and DVT FREE, the largest prospective registry of DVT. 

As a member of the Thrombosis Research Group, I am all too familiar with the statistics that 900,000 people in the Unites States develop venous thromboembolism (VTE) and

380,000 develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a serious an often fatal complication of deep vein thrombosis affects an estimated 530,000 people each year, and about 300,000 are fatal. VTE is a serious public health crisis. Many of these lives could be saved if the public and health care providers were aware of symptoms and risk factors for VTE. 

One of the most rewarding experiences of my nursing career is to be the co-leader of the Pulmonary Embolism Support Group founded in 1993 founded by Samuel Z. Goldhaber M.D. The Group provides a supportive environment in which patients can share common concerns, discuss medical treatment, and consider possible implications of their illness.

We provide education regarding contemporary developments in DVT/PE prevention and treatment. Research has suggested that support groups have a beneficial impact on quality of life and improve the psychosocial functioning of patients.

Presently, I am the Clinical Research Coordinator for BWH site for the Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT).  CIRT is a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, multi-center, event-driven trial funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) that will enroll 7,000 men and women from the United States and Canada.

The primary aim of CIRT is to directly test the hypothesis that inflammation plays a role in atherothrombosis by evaluating whether or not low-dose methotrexate (LDM) will reduce rates of recurrent cardiovascular events including myocardial infarctions, stroke and cardiovascular death among stable coronary artery disease patients with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, conditions associated with underlying inflammatory response.

Why I joined NATF:

I am also a member of the Patient Advocacy Committee of NATF, a non-profit organization that is a major resource for health care professionals for the cutting-edge information, national guidelines, and best practices in cardiovascular disease management and risk reduction. Our role as educators and advocators is to help people understand what we know, allow the opportunity to learn and ask questions, and encourage outreach efforts to educate others.

 

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