National Study of Post-Heart Attack Therapies is a Family Affair for Brenau Professor
At the 2014 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions annual meeting in Chicago Nov. 15-19, Brenau University’s Augusta, Georgia-based economics professor Rama Mandawat presented a study that indicated procedures to open arteries with stents were more effective than blood clot-busting drugs in prolonging the lives of elderly patients who suffered the worst kinds of heart attack.
She represented a research team that included internists Aditya Mandawat from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Anant Mandawat Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and a cardiologist Mahindra K. Mandawat from Charlie Norwood Veterans Administration Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia.
If you wonder whether it is just a coincidence that the four researchers have the same last name, it is not. The cardiologist on the team is Rama Mandawat’s husband and the internists are their two sons. But, since Rama is the public health research specialist in the crowd, this study was really her baby.
“It worked very well that we all are involved in health care and that we all have the same interests in research,” she said – although she did add that each of the four have different perspectives based on their own backgrounds.
Rama Mandawat said that the study examined the outcomes of 178,976 patients age 75 and older who suffered a heart attack called a ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI.
“This heart attack occurs when blood vessels delivering blood to the heart become suddenly blocked,” she said. “The heart attack can be fatal, but if someone can make it to the hospital, it can be treated with a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention, PCI, or the more conservative management with medications.”
The non-surgical PCI is often referred to as angioplasty, which involves opening blocked arteries with a catheter and installing a permanent stent to increase blood flow and prevent clotting. Angioplasty, developed in Switzerland, rapidly increased in its acceptance as an outpatient therapy after its developer, Andreas Gruentzig, relocated to Emory University in Atlanta.
The objective of the study was to determine which of the two treatments leads to lower mortality in elderly patients.
“The study found that PCI was associated with a large reduction in mortality in patients 75 and older compared with conservative medical management,” Mandawat said. “Importantly, patients receiving PCI were much more likely to be discharged home than patients receiving conservative medical management.”
Mandawat, who specializes in health care research, has been teaching microeconomics, macroeconomics and global economics at Brenau for four years. She received a Master of Public Health (Informatics) at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, and a PhD in economics at Mohan Lal Sukhadia University in India. She also received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration at Jai Narain Vyas University, India.