UofL pediatrician part of national study reported in New England Journal of Medicine


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dropping a child’s body temperature following a heart attack does not appear to improve the child’s chance of surviving or their heart function one year after the heart attack, reports a team of physicians including Melissa B. Porter, M.D., an associate professor in the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics.

    The study is in tomorrow’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Porter was the principal investigator for the Louisville portion of the national clinical trial. The two participants included in the local portion of the study were seen by Porter at Kosair Children’s Hospital, where she serves as a pediatric intensivist.

    While therapeutic hypothermia is recommended for comatose adults after such events, there was limited data about this intervention in children. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, compared data for children who were treated with therapeutic hypothermia with those treated with the existing standard of care. The researchers concluded that therapeutic hypothermia did not offer significant benefit for the children’s survival and functional outcome at one year.

    “It was a privilege to work with the team of physicians on this study,” Porter said. “It is gratifying to be a part of such wide-ranging research and to contribute to the improved standard of care for children with serious illnesses and speaks highly of the research practices here at UofL.”

    This is the second large-scale, multi-center study involving UofL physicians published in the New England Journal of Medicine this spring, attesting to their increasing status among medical research centers nationwide.

    In an earlier study, published March 5, 2015 in the journal, Charles R. Woods, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist and acting chair of the UofL Department of Pediatrics, participated in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Valganciclovir therapy in newborns with symptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease.

    CMV is the leading nongenetic cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Woods tested patients at Kosair Children’s Hospital over a three-year period, comparing a six-week period of treatment with the drug to six-month treatment. The researchers concluded that treatment with the drug for six months provided modest long-term improvements in hearing and development over the six-week treatment.

    “This study of Valganciclovir showed that the drug improves hearing in infants with symptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection,” Woods said. “This also opens the door for more studies to see if this drug can help a broader group of infants with congenital CMV infection.”

    University of Louisville physicians have long been at the forefront of pediatric medicine in Kentucky, providing state-of-the-art patient care at Kosair Children’s Hospital in addition to teaching and conducting research. Participation in studies such as these is an indication that their reputation for quality research is increasing among academic centers across the nation.

    “Our contribution to these studies represents UofL’s growing connection and impact at the national level in research that improves health care for children,” Woods said. “UofL Pediatrics faculty members are becoming more widely recognized for quality research and contribution to medical knowledge.”

    To read the NEJM articles, go to:

    Therapeutic Hypothermia after Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in Children


    Valganciclovir for Symptomatic Congenital Cytomegalovirus Disease


    Betty Coffman
    Betty Coffman is a Communications Coordinator focused on research and innovation at UofL. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.