The research interests of Patrick S. Kamath, M.D., focus on acute-on-chronic liver failure, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic liver disease, Budd-Chiari syndrome and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Dr. Kamath also studies alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis and the complications thereof, including portal hypertension, variceal hemorrhage, ascites and hepatic encephalopathy.
- Complications of cirrhosis. Dr. Kamath has contributed to recently published research on management of acute-on-chronic liver failure and on prevention and treatment of cirrhotic complications, including management of hepatic encephalopathy in the hospital, primary prophylaxis of variceal bleeding, and prevalence and prediction factors of infections in patients with cirrhosis. He and his co-workers were instrumental in developing the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, which is used worldwide to determine prognosis in liver disease and prioritize organ allocation for liver transplantation.
- Treatment of alcoholic hepatitis. Dr. Kamath serves as a co-investigator in the Translational Research and Evolving Alcoholic Hepatitis Treatment (TREAT) consortium. This collaboration among researchers at Mayo Clinic, Indiana University and Virginia Commonwealth University is aimed at improving understanding of alcoholic hepatitis and developing novel therapies to treat it. It is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. An additional area of focus includes collaboration on the effects of sleep apnea on fatty liver disease and research into the effects of a specific caspase inhibitor on patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and elevated transaminases, a common indicator of liver damage. Inhibiting caspase activity may slow or prevent programmed cell death (apoptosis), which may occur with increased frequency in liver disease.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Kamath works to improve understanding of the mechanisms and complications of liver disease, in the hopes of developing new strategies of prevention and treatment that will improve quality of life and overall outcomes for patients with various liver diseases. The MELD score that he helped develop is used worldwide as a prognostic score for liver disease. His current focus is on finding ways to improve survival in patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure. He is also dedicated to the education of the next generation of physicians, who will further advance this work.
- Special section editor, Journal of Hepatology, 2014-present;
- Teacher of the Year, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 2014, 2008, 2014, 1993-2001 consecutively
- Associate editor, Hepatology journal, 2007-2011; Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal, 2005-2006
- Distinguished Educator, Mayo Clinic, 2005