Versiti Blood Research Institute Articles
Thrombosis: Not All Blood Clots Are Created Equal
Associate Investigator Lisa Baumann Kreuziger, MD, MS, is researching venous blood clots
Blood clotting isn’t always a bad thing—it helps your body heal from injuries as small as scrapes and recover from more serious procedures like surgery. But not all clotting is created equal. Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in a vessel that prevents blood from flowing normally, and this phenomenon can have serious repercussions to your health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clot in the veins under the muscles of the legs or arms. DVT can cause serious health problems, especially if part of it breaks off and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs, known as pulmonary embolism (PE).
As a hematologist with Versiti Blood Research Institute and Medical Sciences Institute, and a practicing physician at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Lisa Baumann Kreuziger, MD, MS, studies device-related thrombosis, particularly what causes patients with catheters and heart pumps to develop blood clots. “My focus is venous thrombosis. I see patients with blood clots, do research to understand how to best treat patients with blood clots, and set up systems of care for the hospital so other doctors can prevent and treat blood clots,” she said. Dr. Baumann Kreuziger and her colleagues have created a Thrombosis Clinic where adult patients can be seen urgently for new blood clots. Her hope is that, by addressing clots early, patients are less likely to be hospitalized and, if they are, are discharged more quickly.
Dr. Baumann Kreuziger is also a founding member of VENUS, the Venous thromboEmbolism Network U.S., a collaborative research network organized under the Hemostasis & Thrombosis Research Society. VENUS’s goal is to implement multi-institutional, investigator-initiated clinical trials and research projects that focus on thrombotic disorders. In addition to managing the executive committee, Dr. Baumann also leads the device-related thrombosis committee,” she said. “We are working on a multicenter study of patients with catheter-related thrombosis, which occurs in 5-10% of patients who have catheters to treat their cancer.” By understanding how and why these clots occur, physicians will be better positioned to treat them—or prevent them altogether.
Dr. Baumann Kreuziger feels that Versiti Blood Research Institute, as a collaborative institution, is the best place to perform her research. “Being a clinician scientist gives you a perspective about what questions are important to patients and their health. Basic science researchers focus on the molecular mechanisms of disease and understanding biology,” she said. “The ability to do clinical research and collaborate on basic research was the reason I came here.”
In addition to her research and work as a physician, Dr. Baumann Kreuziger is hard at work encouraging physicians interested in studying benign hematology. “Versiti is very involved with the American Society of Hematology and the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Society to get trainees interested in hemostasis and thrombosis,” she said. “We want trainees to know that hematology is not only about treating cancer. There aren’t a lot of places that have as many benign hematologists as we do.” Versiti’s critical mass of expertise and collaborative culture of knowledge-sharing positions the Blood Research Institute as a leader in hematology. This environment increases the possibility for new, life-saving discoveries that will save lives across the country and around the world.
Lisa Baumann Kreuziger, MD, MS, is a medical director of hematology and associate investigator at Versiti Blood Research Institute. She serves as an associate professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.