Scripps Health Reveals Top Medical News Stories of 2022

Treatment advances, research discoveries make headlines

Barbey Family Emergency and Trauma Center - Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla

Barbey Family Emergency and Trauma Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla

Treatment advances, research discoveries make headlines

As 2022 draws to a close, Scripps Health has revealed its top medical news stories that made headlines during the past 12 months. 

Whether it was introducing novel medical procedures, conducting groundbreaking research, or continuing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Scripps physicians, scientists and staff worked to advance patient care in important ways. Here are the top health stories of 2022 from Scripps.

New knee implant helps body repair its own torn ACL

Scripps Clinic orthopedic surgeon Tim Wang, MD, performed the first surgery in San Diego County using a new implantable device that enables the body to heal its own torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The Bridge Enhanced ACL Restoration (BEAR) implant allows the torn ends of the patient’s ACL to heal back together, eliminating the need to surgically reconstruct the ACL using another tendon. Surgeons inject the implant with the patient’s own blood to promote formation of a clot for healing, then arthroscopically insert and attach the device between the torn ACL segments.

Scripps leads weekly insulin clinical trial

Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute researchers reported positive results from a clinical trial testing an experimental weekly insulin shot in Type 2 diabetes patients that could replace daily injections taken to control the chronic disease. Lead investigator Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, who also is corporate vice president of Scripps Whittier, called the results “a remarkable step forward in insulin innovation.” Going from taking 365 shots a year to 52 shots would be a significant change for patients, she said.

Researchers discover method to revive human vision after death

A research team co-led by physician-scientist Anne Hanneken, MD, of Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla discovered a method to revive the retina in human eyes after death and to restore light signaling and cell communication within the central vision. Published in the journal Nature, the findings open important new research opportunities that could eventually benefit patients with age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease of the retina affecting the central vision. Research collaborators included Scripps Research, the University of Utah, and the Salk Institute.

First minimally invasive tricuspid valve replacement in county

A team of Scripps Clinic cardiologists, led by Curtiss Stinis, MD, became the first in the county to replace a tricuspid heart valve in a patient using a minimally invasive procedure that threads the device into the heart through a small incision in the groin. The procedure was part of an international clinical trial testing the investigative device. It’s the latest effort to repair or replace faulty parts of the heart with catheter-based procedures that are far less invasive than open heart surgery and have much shorter recovery times.

Mixed reality gives surgeons new 3-D hologram view in OR

Scripps Clinic orthopedic surgeon Brian Rebolledo, MD, performed the region’s first shoulder replacement using a mixed reality headset technology that offers a 3D holographic view of a patient’s preoperative surgical plan in the operating room during surgery. The new system allows surgeons to use hand gestures and voice commands to view and manipulate a hologram of the patient’s preoperative plan from inside the headset lens, while simultaneously maintaining a direct view of the open surgical site. The technology helps surgeons replicate the pre-op plan with precision.

Lung cancer screening program launches

To help improve early diagnosis for people who are at increased risk for developing lung cancer, Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center launched a comprehensive lung cancer screening program. Early detection of lung cancer is critical, but currently only about 20% of patients are diagnosed at an early stage, when treatments can be most effective. The new program includes tobacco cessation education and coaching, a shared decision-making visit and a screening schedule for annual low-dose CT scans.

Scripps La Jolla elevated to Level 1 trauma center

Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla was verified as a Level 1 trauma center, the top designation awarded by the American College of Surgeons to indicate the highest range of injury care available to patients. Scripps now has two of the three Level 1 adult trauma centers in San Diego County, with Scripps La Jolla joining Scripps Mercy San Diego. Driving the achievement was the development of a cutting-edge and collaborative research program, establishment of an academic training program for surgical residents from the Naval Medical Center San Diego and expansion of education programs for partnering health care providers as well as community members.

Scripps modeling used to predict Omicron surge

In the midst of the highly infectious COVID-19 variant surge last February, Scripps data scientists used predictive modeling to accurately forecast that the disease wave would wind down by early March. The sophisticated and complex computer modeling has been used to better plan for the use of staffing and critical resources, such as intensive care beds, medical/surgical beds and personal protective equipment. The accuracy of the modeling has been extremely high, running in the low- to mid-90% range during all three previous major COVID surges.

Partnership expands access to care for high-risk pregnancies

Scripps Health began providing perinatology services to patients of San Ysidro Health who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies. The partnership between the two organizations expands access to much-needed services, including detailed fetal imaging with ultrasound exams and consultations. Patients whose ultrasound exams reveal abnormalities can consult with a maternal-fetal medicine physician and receive an individualized care plan. Research shows high-risk pregnancies have been rising in the United States in recent years, said Sean Daneshmand, MD, medical director of the maternal-fetal medicine program at Scripps Clinic.

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