Jan. 31, 2020

Study aims to predict the risk of blood clots after traumatic injury

Orthopaedic trauma surgeon is one of 20 UCalgary researchers to receive support through Canadian Institute of Health Research Project Grants

A love of sports inspired Dr. Prism Schneider, MD, PhD, to study kinesiology at McGill University. But it was during her time as a summer student in the gait lab at the University of Calgary that she truly discovered her passion. 

“We were conducting clinical trials with injured patients, and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to be the surgeon performing the surgical intervention for these patients, and studying them before and after?’ And then somehow I ended up in medical school!” says Schneider, a clinical associate professor in the departments of Surgery and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM).

Today, as both a clinician and a researcher in the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the CSM, Schneider spends half her time performing surgery and treating orthopaedic trauma patients, and the other half doing research on how inflammation affects fracture healing and an individual’s risk of developing venous thromboembolism (blood clots) or excessive bleeding after a traumatic injury. Schneider has received CIHR Project Grant funding for a study to predict the risk of developing blood clots after trauma.

Orthopaedic trauma and blood clots

Patients who suffer a major broken bone, such as a broken femur (thigh bone), have an increased risk for developing blood clots in their legs and life-threatening blood clots in their lungs. These patients receive medication to help prevent blood clots. However, it is expensive and can increase bleeding. In order to help prevent blood clots associated with traumatic injury, doctors need to be able to identify which patients are at increased risk for clotting.

Schneider will assess this risk by using a simple point-of-care blood test called thrombelastography (TEG). Schneider’s study will also test if TEG can determine how long each patient should receive medication to minimize their clot risk. “If we can predict who is at risk of developing blood clots after an injury, we can tailor interventions to prevent them from happening and save the lives of trauma patients across Canada,” says Schneider.

CIHR success

Schneider’s projects is one of 20 UCalgary projects to be awarded funding through the CIHR Fall 2019 Project Grants. Projects were selected based on research deemed to have the greatest potential to advance health-related fundamental or applied knowledge, health research, health care, health systems, and/or health outcomes.

“We are grateful for CIHR’s continued support of science, research, and innovation,” says Dr. Andre Buret, PhD, interim vice-president (research). “The recipients are leaders in their fields, and this investment will enable them to continue the vital work of addressing our country’s most pressing health challenges.”

The recipients of CIHR Project Grant funding are:

  • Dr. Claire Barber, MD (Cumming School of Medicine): Understanding the Effect of Adherence to System-Level Performance Measures on Outcomes for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Dr. Sarah Childs, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): Probing Molecular and Mechanical Signals That Shape Blood Vessel Growth
  • Dr. Deborah M. Dewey, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): Prenatal Exposure to Chemicals in Plastics Can Cause Epigenetic Variation in Genes Associated with Neurodevelopment in Girls and Boys
  • Dr. Shabih Hasan, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): Pulmonary Insufficiency, Non-Invasive Respiratory Support via Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and Heated Humidified High Flow Nasal Cannula (HHFNC), and Development of Oromotor Skills in Preterm Infants: An Innovative Approach Towards Improving Infant Outcomes
  • Dr. Matthew Hill, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): Endocannabinoid Regulation of Stress Responsive Neural Circuits
  • Dr. Peng Huang, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): Perivascular Fibroblasts in Maintaining Blood Vessel Integrity
  • Dr. Michael Kallos, PhD (Schulich School of Engineering): Enabling Cellular Therapy Biomanufacturing through Integrated Modeling of Fluid Dynamics and Cellular Metabolism in Bioreactors
  • Dr. Mingshan Lu, PhD (Faculty of Arts): The Costs and Benefits of Transitioning from ICD-10-CA to ICD-11 in Canada
  • Dr. Katrina Milaney, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): Implementation and Evaluation of an Indigenous-Specific Managed Alcohol Program for the Homeless Indigenous Population in Calgary, AB and Victoria, BC
  • Dr. Melanie E Noel, PhD (Faculty of Arts): Elucidating the Role of Memory in the Transition from Acute to Chronic Pediatric Pain
  • Dr. Ken Parhar, MD (Cumming School of Medicine): Minimizing Variation In Care Among Critically Ill Patients With Respiratory Failure Through Implementation Of An Evidence-Informed Care Pathway
  • Dr. Paul Ronksley, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): High Needs, High Cost Patients: A Precision Public Health Approach to Improve Lives and System Sustainability
  • Dr. Prism Schneider, MD, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): Quantification of the Duration of Increased Risk for Venous Thromboembolism in Patients with Femur Fractures Using Thrombelastography
  • Dr. Fiona Schlute, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): Social Adjustment in Survivors of Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
  • Dr. Donna Senger, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine) [two projects funded]: Non-classical Mechanisms for Leukocyte Recruitment in the Lungs: Therapeutic Targets for Attenuating Acute Lung Injury; and Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Liver and Lung-Specific Metastasis
  • Dr. Karen Tang, MD (Cumming School of Medicine): Development of a Typology for Patient Navigation: Defining the Essence of a Complex Intervention
  • Dr. Roger Thompson, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine) [two projects funded]: Pannexin-1 Opening in Neurons: Mechanisms of Intrinsic Neuroprotection; and Mechanisms of Suppression of Excitotoxicity by Endogenous Amyloid Beta
  • Dr. Tuan Trang, PhD (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine): Central Mechanisms of Opioid Withdrawal
  • Dr. Raymond Turner, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): The Molecular Choreography of Ion Channel Expression
  • Dr. Yunyan Zhang, MD, PhD (Cumming School of Medicine): Prediction of Multiple Sclerosis Disability Worsening Scores Using Multi-Stream Deep Learning