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Matthew Oetgen

Matthew Oetgen, M.D., M.B.A, lauded for paper on treating Compartment Syndrome

Matthew Oetgen

For his work in advancing the care for children with complex orthopaedic needs, Matthew Oetgen, M.D., M.B.A., chief of Orthopaedics at Children’s National Hospital, recently accepted the award for Best Basic Science Paper at the 2021 Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) annual meeting. Dr. Oetgen co-authored the paper titled “Activation of A Central Immunosuppressive Cascade Prevents Ischemia Reperfusion Injury after Acute Compartment Syndrome in a Murine Model.”

Compartment Syndrome is rare and often difficult to diagnose. It occurs when interstitial pressure exceeds perfusion pressure and results in warm ischemia and cell death due to impaired aerobic metabolism. Following surgical decompression and reperfusion of the extremity, a robust innate inflammatory response results in further tissue injury due to the production of reactive oxygen species and local capillary dysfunction.

The authors described using varenicline, an FDA-approved medication for smoking cessation, to mitigate inflammation after ischemia reperfusion injury in murine models. Twenty-four hours after reperfusion, the treatment reduced acute leukocyte infiltrate, 7 days following reperfusion, the expression of pro-fibrotic genes was reduced and 14 days following treatment, histologic evidence of collagen deposition was also significantly reduced.

“The promising results of this study show that this medication may have the potential to blunt the immune response resulting in better outcomes for children with compartment syndrome,” says Dr. Oetgen.

Watch Dr. Oetgen’s presentation here.

Matt Oetgen talks about an x-ray

Nicotine-like anti-inflammatories may protect limbs, testicles from inflammatory damage after injury

Daniel Casella

Daniel Casella, M.D., is teaming up with Matthew Oetgen, M.D., MBA, for a POSNA-funded pre-clinical study of the anti-inflammatories varenicline and cytisine.

A new pre-clinical study will explore the use of anti-inflammatory medications to prevent the body’s inflammatory response from further damaging limbs after an injury restricts blood flow. Varenicline and cytisine, anti-inflammatories with similarities to nicotine, have shown early promise in similar pre-clinical laboratory studies of the testicles and will now be tested in arms and legs.

Matthew Oetgen, M.D., MBA, chief of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at Children’s National and Children’s pediatric urologist Daniel Casella, M.D., will jointly lead the new study entitled, “Modulation of the Injury Associated with Acute Compartment Syndrome,” which builds on Dr. Casella’s previous work with the two anti-inflammatory agents. Drs. Oetgen and Casella recently were awarded the Angela S.M. Kuo Memorial Award Research Grant to fund this research during the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America’s (POSNA) Annual Meeting.

“We are honored that this important research was selected by POSNA for support,” says Dr. Oetgen. “An arm or leg injury can trigger the body’s natural inflammatory response, causing severe swelling that restricts blood flow. Even after blood flow is restored, the inflammatory response can lead to permanent muscle or nerve damage or even loss of limb. This grant will give us the opportunity to truly explore the application of anti-inflammatories after injury and see if this approach can modulate the immune response to protect the limbs.”

If successful in the laboratory, the team hopes to expand this work to human clinical trials.

Matt Oetgen talks about an x-ray

“We are honored that this important research was selected by POSNA for support,” says Dr. Oetgen. “This grant will give us the opportunity to truly explore the application of anti-inflammatories after injury and see if this approach can modulate the immune response to protect the limbs.”

The Angela S.M. Kuo Memorial Award Research Grant is given each year to an outstanding investigator aged 45 or younger based on criteria including the study’s potential significance, impact, originality/innovation, the investigator’s track record and study feasibility. The award totals $30,000.

While at POSNA’s 2019 Annual Meeting, Dr. Oetgen and Children’s pediatric orthopaedic surgery colleagues also participated in podium presentations and poster sessions, including:

  • “Achieving Consensus on the Treatment of Pediatric Femoral Shaft Fractures,” Matthew Oetgen, M.D., MBA
  • “A Prospective, Multi-centered Comparative Study of Non-operative and Operative Containment Treatments in Children Presenting with Late-stage Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease,” Benjamin Martin, M.D.

The Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America is an organization of 1,400 surgeons, physicians, and allied health members dedicated to advancing musculoskeletal care for children and adolescents. The annual meeting presents the latest research and expert clinical opinion in pediatric orthopaedics through presentations, posters, and symposia. It was held May 15-18, 2019, in Charlotte, North Carolina.