The research interests of Walter C. Hellinger, M.D., are infections related to health care (health care-associated infections) and infections that appear in solid organ transplant patients.
Dr. Hellinger's investigations usually involve careful retrospective (after the fact) reviews of patients who did and did not develop infections after receiving the same health care treatment or organ transplant. This is done to determine how often these infections occur and whether and how the patients who developed infections differ from those who did not.
When the opportunity is appropriate and resources are available, Dr. Hellinger also participates in prospective tests of interventions designed to prevent these infections.
- Cytomegalovirus infections occurring in solid organ transplant patients
- Infections of the surgical site after liver transplantation
- Tests of interventions designed to prevent health care-associated infections or infections that appear after solid organ transplantation
Significance to patient care
A better understanding of the frequency and outcomes of health care-associated infections and infections in solid organ transplant recipients serves to make their significance known and the importance of their prevention clear. The identification of risk factors associated with these infections directs clinical interventions designed to prevent them and research investigations to assess the effectiveness of prevention strategies.
Finally, validating the effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent these infections in prospective, randomized trials determines which should become a routine part of clinical care.
- James H. Nakano Award (for outstanding scientific paper), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003