Seattle Children's Provider News

Autism Center Is Changing Its Medication Management Program; Returning Stabilized Patients to PCPs and Community Psychiatrists

Seattle Children’s Autism Center is beginning to restructure its psychiatric medication management program with the goal of reducing long wait times for appointments and improving overall access to care. Wait times for a first-time appointment are currently one year or more. The medication management program is also actively recruiting new providers to fill gaps left by several staff departures last year.

The new medication management program will no longer see patients year after year for ongoing medication management, but will instead aim to provide a short-term, consultative model that helps patients get stabilized and on the right medication program, then return to their primary care provider or a community psychiatrist to receive ongoing medication management. In most cases, patients would require 3 to 5 visits, although patients needing more time to find the right regimen and stabilize would be seen longer. Read full post »

Amazing Advances in Cystic Fibrosis Treatment

A clinical trial at Seattle Children’s of a new drug called Trikafta has shown dramatic improvements in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, and is projected to benefit up to 90% of all people with CF. Seattle Children’s Cystic Fibrosis Program participated in the phase 3 trial, and our On the Pulse blog describes the research science, the team of doctors and nurses involved at Children’s and the very personal impact on 17-year-old Ellie and her family.

“The first therapy approved for cystic fibrosis treated only about 7% of patients,” said Dr. Ron Gibson, director of Seattle Children’s Cystic Fibrosis Program. “Not only is this third-generation drug more robust, but it is treating the vast majority of patients with cystic fibrosis.” Read full post »

Advances in Pediatric Cancer Care: Fine-Tuning CAR T-Cell Immunotherapy to Benefit More Kids

Seattle Children’s On the Pulse reports the hospital’s research teams are advancing the ways hospitals treat pediatric cancer patients with CAR T-cell immunotherapies. For the youngest patients — between 1 and 3 years old — Seattle Children’s physician Colleen Annesley, MD, reports that CAR T-cell therapy is safe and effective in a paper presented in December at the 2019 American Society of Hematology annual meeting. For older patients experiencing the systemic inflammatory response cytokine release syndrome (CRS) as a side effect of CAR T-cell therapy, doctors at Seattle Children’s have found that treating mild CRS promptly instead of waiting does not reduce the persistence of CAR T-cells in the body, but does reduce by half the rate of severe CRS. The finding is likely to change the practices of other pediatric cancer centers using CAR T-cell immunotherapies. Read full post »

3 Operating Rooms Re-Opened: Update on Air Handling Unit Work and OR Closures, Tuesday, Dec. 31

Seattle Children’s has completed the latest step in the installation process of our new air handling unit. That installation work required us to temporarily shut down all the operating rooms (ORs) at the hospital.

After extensively cleaning the ORs and performing air testing this past week, we have reopened three ORs we had previously been using that already have in-room HEPA filtration. Ten of our ORs will remain closed until the end of January 2020 to allow for installation of the new HEPA filtration systems in each of those rooms.

We will continue our extended operating hours at the hospital and Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center. This will allow us to serve more patients in our available ORs while we continue work to reopen those that are closed; we will also perform some surgeries at partner hospitals.

Please note that additional work will need to occur before the new air handling unit can be activated — we will not begin using it until the end of January. Read full post »

Update on ORs Reopening

We want to update you about our plans for reopening the four operating rooms (ORs) we had previously been using at our hospital campus, including the three that already have in-room HEPA filtration.

Work is continuing, and we now expect to reopen these four ORs after the holidays.

The other 10 ORs at our main hospital campus will remain closed until the end of January 2020 to allow for installation of the new HEPA filtration systems in those rooms.

We will provide updates as new information becomes available.

How should we refer patients with possible surgical needs?

Please continue to refer patients by calling our ED Communications Center at 206-987-8899. We will review potential surgical patients on a case-by-case basis with the appropriate surgical specialists and with our Surgeon-in-Chief. During the shutdown, we will perform emergent surgeries in the cath labs and alternate sites in the hospital; we will also perform some surgeries at partner hospitals. Read full post »

Air Handling Unit Work and Operating Room Shutdown

In late November, we moved components of our new air handling unit onto the hospital’s roof. The next step in the installation process is scheduled to begin this coming week and will require us to temporarily shut down all the operating rooms (ORs) at the hospital. During the shutdown, we will perform emergent surgeries in the cath labs and alternate sites in the hospital; we will also perform some surgeries at partner hospitals.

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, we plan to decommission all of the ORs, including the four we are currently using. After decommissioning, construction crews will perform the planned work on the air handling unit. We will then extensively clean the ORs and perform air testing.

We plan to reopen the four rooms we have been using on Saturday, Dec. 21 — this includes the three ORs that already have in-room HEPA filtration. The other 10 ORs will remain closed until the end of January 2020 to allow for installation of the new HEPA filtration systems in those rooms.

We will provide updates as new information becomes available.

Please note that additional work will need to occur before the new air handling unit can be activated — we will not begin using it until the end of January.

How should we refer patients with possible surgical needs?

Please continue to refer patients by calling our ED Communications Center at 206-987-8899. We will review potential surgical patients on a case-by-case basis with the appropriate surgical specialists and with our Surgeon-in-Chief. During the shutdown, we will perform emergent surgeries in the cath labs and alternate sites in the hospital; we will also perform some surgeries at partner hospitals.

Where should I direct families who have questions?

Patients and families who have questions or concerns not related to scheduling may call our Patient and Family Relations Department at 206-987-2550. For an interpreter, they can call 866-583-1527 and ask to be connected to this number: 7-2550.

What if I have more questions?

Providers who would like to speak with Seattle Children’s leadership team directly should contact Dr. Jeff Ojemann, Seattle Children’s surgeon-in-chief (206-987-2544 or Jeffery.Ojemann@seattlechildrens.org).

If you have an urgent clinical concern, please call the Provider-to-Provider Line at 206-987-7777 and ask to speak to the specific surgical service on call.

For more information, read our complete FAQ for providers.

Read full post »

Brain Research Sheds New Light on Link Between Nicotine and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Researchers at Seattle Children’s Research Institute have discovered that populations of neurons in the brainstem have a previously unrecognized susceptibility to disruption by nicotine during early brain development.

Published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology, their findings offer a clue to how nicotine exposure in utero could have a lasting effect on the brain’s wiring and give rise to negative outcomes like SIDS.

“Our findings point to new areas in the brain where nicotine could act as a developmental disruptor and could be important to understanding sudden infant death syndrome,” says Dr. Eric Turner of the research institute’s Center for Integrative Brain Research. Read full post »

Update on Operating Rooms

All 14 operating rooms at Seattle Children’s main campus will be closed for approximately two weeks in December; you will receive an update with specific dates when details are confirmed, likely later this week. The closure, which will include the 4 ORs that have remained open up until now, will allow us to move the new air handling unit into place.

As a reminder, if your patient has surgical needs, please continue to call our ED Communications Center at 206-987-8899. We are continuing to review potential surgical patients on a case-by-case basis with the appropriate surgical specialists and with our surgeon-in-chief.

During the closure of all operating rooms at our main campus, we anticipate using our two catheterization labs  for emergency procedures. We will continue to divert some cases to other local hospitals and perform additional surgeries at our Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center.

As you may have seen in the media this week, several lawsuits were recently filed against Seattle Children’s. We are incredibly sorry for the hurt experienced by these families and regret that recent developments have caused additional grief. Out of respect for privacy, we do not intend to share details about our patients or comment on specific cases or legal action.

Previous information about air quality issues in our operating rooms is available in our complete FAQ for providers. Read full post »

Reducing Children’s Exposure to Radiation: A Q&A With Dr. Tom Lendvay

The U.S. population faces seven times more exposure to ionizing radiation from medical procedures than it did in the early 1980s, largely due to the growth in computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine, according to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Children’s hospitals are increasingly looking for ways to use lower radiation doses for diagnosis and treatment. Success has come from using new technologies and equipment specially designed for children and constantly being on the lookout for opportunities to share information and collaborate better across teams.

Tom Lendvay

Tom Lendvay

Why is radiation bad for children?  

Tom Lendvay, MD, urologist, Seattle Children’s: If you start receiving radiation exposure as a child, you run the risk of having a larger lifetime dose of radiation. Children exposed to radiation, especially those undergoing X-rays and CT scans to evaluate primary cancers, are also at increased risk of developing what is called a secondary malignancy, or cancer due to the DNA-damaging effects of radiation exposure as a child. These include hematologic (blood cell) cancers.

For all these reasons, we look for ways we can reduce the amount of radiation our patients are exposed to during diagnosis and treatment.

What are some of the ways kids are exposed to radiation in the hospital?

Dr. Lendvay: Children may be exposed to ionizing radiation through X-rays, CT scans, fluoroscopy (live X-rays), nuclear medicine tests and intraoperative imaging. Fortunately, children’s bodies are generally smaller and contain less fat than adults, which makes ultrasound technology a good choice much of the time. However, there are a number of conditions that require radiation imaging tests. Over the last two decades, CT scans have provided rapid, rich data and anatomic detail that surpass many other imaging modalities and has proven invaluable to the diagnosis of severe medical conditions. Thus, the use of CT scans has increased in adults and children over the last two decades. Read full post »

Epilepsy Program Expanding to Federal Way

Seattle Children’s welcomes epilepsy specialists Dr. Priya Monrad and Dr. Ahmad Marashly to the Epilepsy Program, where they will serve as Epilepsy Monitoring Unit medical director and surgical program director, respectively. They come from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and bring a combined 15 years of experience seeing the most complex patients, including those needing surgery. They joined Seattle Children’s this fall.

What are your plans for the epilepsy program at Seattle Children’s?

Dr. Monrad: We have the largest epilepsy program in the Pacific Northwest, but we want to make it more accessible to families, especially to those families living in Washington state south of Seattle. Starting in December, we’ll be seeing patients at our regional clinic in Federal Way for the first time. Previously, we offered epilepsy services only at the main hospital and the Bellevue and Everett regional clinics.

Dr. Marashly: We’re also going to be putting a stronger emphasis on making sure providers in the community have easier access to us and can get their epilepsy-related questions answered. We know PCPs can handle so much of their patients’ epilepsy care if they have a good connection with a specialist when needed. We want to be a resource to them. Read full post »