Professor helps UHNM clinicians to evaluate the effectiveness of new treatment for debilitating condition.
The opportunity to have in-depth conversations with people who are living with chest wall abnormalities is providing the team with greater insight into the physical and emotional challenges of the condition which until recently was wrongly thought to be just cosmetic.
Karen Rodham, Professor of Health Psychology
A Staffordshire University Professor has been helping UHNM to evaluate the effectiveness of new treatment for patients with ‘sunken chest’.
A multi-professional team of clinicians at Royal Stoke University Hospital is leading the way in treating patients living with chest wall abnormalities which can cause problems with breathing, walking and carrying out everyday activities.
Karen Rodham, Professor of Health Psychology at Staffordshire University, has been undertaking interviews of patients before and after their corrective surgery to evaluate the impact on patient's lives.
Pectus Excavatum, also known as 'sunken chest or 'funnel chest', can be a debilitating condition and until recently, doctors have not been able to measure its effects on the heart and lungs.
Laura Scott, 34, of Rugeley, Staffordshire, was diagnosed with the condition at a young age and went to see Mr Chris Satur, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, for a round of in-depth investigations, including exercise testing and respiratory and imaging procedures. Two years ago she underwent the Ravitch procedure, where a metal plate and bar are inserted into the chest to help correct the abnormality.
Laura said: "Having treatment for my condition has been life-changing. As soon as I had the surgery it was as though my lungs had been opened up and now I go running several times a week and really enjoy exercising. I can do everything other people can, but I don't take anything for granted – I love that I can now take a full, deep breath.”
Mr Chris Satur, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, said: "At UHNM we wanted to change the understanding of the problem and improve treatments available by providing comprehensive assessment of all patients. We have gathered very detailed tests in order to work out why and how the condition affects the patient and are working to drive a culture of change in patient care through better understanding. We are seeking to work with NHS England to help patients who suffer with the condition now and we want to help move research forward."
In addition to imaging services and physical investigation, psychological tests have also been undertaken to help form a detailed view of the patient's overall condition.
Professor Rodham said: "The opportunity to have in-depth conversations with people who are living with chest wall abnormalities is providing the team with greater insight into the physical and emotional challenges of the condition which until recently was wrongly thought to be just cosmetic. This means that we are truly able to treat the whole person, which is incredibly important in aiding and enhancing someone's recovery."
Mr Satur added: “We hope that in the future our work will help to enable patients to receive treatment. Currently, funding is unavailable to provide treatment to patients due to a lack of evidence available and we hope our studies will provide the evidence to gain re-institution of treatment of these patients."