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Physician Wins Research Award


Dr. Aaron Reitman, a pediatric resident at the UC San Francisco-Fresno program at Children’s Hospital Central California, recently won the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) “Best Abstract for Physician in Training Award.” His research focused on procalcitonin as a biomarker for bacteremia in pediatric patients with a fever and abnormally low white blood cell count.

Results of Dr. Reitman’s study with about 400 pediatric oncology and Emergency Department patients at Children’s Hospital show that procalcitonin is an effective tool to quickly distinguish whether a patient has a more serious, and sometimes life-threatening, bacterial infection. Results also indicate that procalcitonin was superior to the more common C Reactive Protein test in predicting the absence of bacteremia.

Benefits of using the test potentially include physicians having a more effective method to determine if a patient should be admitted to the hospital, as well as the level of antibiotics to administer to the child.

Procalcitonin is a biological marker that is normal in healthy children. Elevated levels have been present in children with bacterial infections, but not those with viral infections. The ability to measure procalcitonin levels in the blood is a new technology that received FDA marketing approval in spring 2008.

“I’ve had amazing support from Children’s Hospital,” said Dr. Reitman. “You can have a great idea but you need help to get you the rest of the way. You can’t do it alone. I’ve had that help here.”

“All of us at UCSF Fresno are proud of Dr. Reitman for being recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics,” said Joan Voris, MD, associate dean at UCSF Fresno. “Dr. Reitman’s honor reflects positively on the partnership between Children’s Hospital Central California and UCSF Fresno for providing first-class residency training that is rich in research programs pertinent to the Valley and across the nation.” 

Dr. Reitman received the honor at the AAP’s annual National Conference & Exhibition Oct. 18 19 in Washington, D.C.  He was also only one of 11 participants selected to give an oral presentation on their abstract during the section on critical care.