Mercy Health Physician and Researcher Charles Glueck, MD, Presents Symposium Paper at Prestigious Conference

(Cincinnati; March 13, 2014) – It’s always an honor when a leading medical organization accepts your paper for a symposium presentation of international experts at its annual meeting. It is an unusual honor for such a body to choose a symposium presentation from a discipline different to the one it represents.

Mercy Health Physician Charles Glueck, MD found himself in just that situation when he presented at a major symposium held during the annual meeting of The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Dr. Glueck is an endocrinology and blood clotting specialist researcher and Medical Director of Mercy Health - Cholesterol and Metabolism Center. Working closely with Dr. Richard A. Freiberg, Director of Orthopaedics at the Cincinnati VA hospital, Drs. Glueck and Freiberg have published a large body of work on a common, usually crippling, serious bone disease called osteonecrosis over the past 25 years.

Each year in the USA, orthopaedic surgeons perform approximately 40,000 total hip and 40,000 total knee replacements because of osteonecrosis at a cost of about $40,000 per procedure. Osteonecrosis of the hip or knee can occur when a blood clot blocks veins in the bone, leading to increased pressure in the bone, reduction of blood flow, hypoxia (low oxygen) and slow death of the bone. Because bone cells die without an oxygenated blood supply, osteonecrosis ultimately leads to destruction of the hip or knee joint and crippling osteoarthritis, which then requires total joint replacement.

Dr Glueck’s work has shown that common blood clotting disorders, both inherited and acquired, are often the treatable cause of osteonecrosis. His subsequent research has determined that providing these patients with conventional blood thinners can allow the body to dissolve the blood clot, bring back oxygenated blood, stop bone death, relieve pain, allow bone healing in these patients and even halt the development of arthritis, with one major caveat.

“The blood thinning treatment is effective only if physicians initiate it before bone collapse and it requires that doctors test for the underlying blood clotting disorder,” warns Dr. Glueck. “The exciting part of this research is that medical treatment of common clotting abnormalities can rescue the osteonecrotic knee and hip and allow healing, thus avoiding the need for total hip or knee replacement. If we could prevent 20% of all total hip and total knee replacements through medical treatment, we could save about $640,000,000 in medical costs annually.”

Dr. Glueck presented these findings during a symposium of international experts at this year’s annual meeting of The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which runs in New Orleans March 11-15. Orthopaedic Surgeons commonly treat patients with osteonecrosis.