Research Overview – Children Surgical Sciences Institute

Under the leadership of Pediatric Surgery Chief Brad Warner, MD, researchers in the Division of Pediatric Surgery are developing new focused areas of research.

Intestinal Adaptation to Massive Intestinal Loss

Multiple conditions in humans exist in which a large proportion of the intestine needs to be surgically removed or is lost due to injury, inflammation or interruption of blood supply. Once the intestine is removed, the bowel that is remaining senses this acute loss and tries to compensate by a process termed adaptation.

The adaptation laboratory seeks to more fully understand this response and advance treatments, ultimately, to permit patients to achieve a more normal lifestyle.

Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Research is under way to better understand the role of various growth factors in the etiology and management of necrotizing enterocolitis.

Short Bowel Syndrome

Researchers in the Division are participating in clinical outcomes studies of children with short bowel syndrome.

Clinical Outcomes

Jacqueline Saito, MD, is developing a database to determine optimal imaging for children presenting with abdominal pain and designing evidence-based management of complicated appendicitis.

Trauma and Burn Care

As a Pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center, under the direction of Trauma Director Martin Keller, MD, St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) is a leading referral center for regional trauma cases. SLCH is also the only hospital with a dedicated pediatric burn program in the St. Louis metropolitan area,. An abundance of data has been generated from these patients and used to study important issues related to trauma and burns. This includes analysis of pediatric gunshot wounds, injuries from all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents, duodenal injuries and ambulatory burn care. These studies have been presented at prominent medical meetings and have been published in major medical journals.

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

The Division’s surgeons not only diagnose congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH, a protrusion of abdominal contents into the chest through a weakness in the respiratory diaphragm) and treat babies with the condition, but have investigated and carried out new methods to improve outcomes. Washington University Medical Center/SLCH is also one of seven centers participating in the DHREAMS (Diaphragmatic Hernia Research & Exploration; Advancing Molecular Science) study at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, which seeks to improve understanding of the molecular genetic basis of CDH. SLCH also is a contributing center to the National Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Database, which is housed at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

ACS National Quality Improvement Program Focused on Pediatric Surgery (ACS NSQIP Peds)

SLCH is participating in the pediatric version of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP Peds). The program is designed to identify best practices at pediatric hospitals, develop quality improvement targets and improve patient care and outcomes. Jacqueline Saito, MD, is surgeon champion for NSQIP Peds at SLCH.

Pediatric Surgery Research Fellowship

The Division of Pediatric Surgery offers a Pediatric Surgery Research Fellowship, which is funded by donations from Marion and Van Black.

Learn more about: 

  • Pediatric Surgery Research
  • Intestinal Adaptation Laboratory
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