Robert Krouse, MD, FACS, awarded $1.1 million for malignant bowel obstruction study

Robert Krouse, MD, FACS, was recently awarded a $1.1 million grant to study ways to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from malignant bowel obstructions.

Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, this five-year project, in conjunction with SWOG, will compare current surgical and non-surgical approaches to cancerous malignant bowel obstructions in terms of minimizing days in hospital and improving a patient’s quality of life. This multi-site comparative effectiveness study will look at patients who are admitted to the hospital with a malignant bowel obstruction.

Dr. Krouse and his team are currently working with SWOG to finalize the study’s protocol, and he hopes to start enrolling patients in the spring.

“This has the potential to be a precedent-setting study,” Dr. Krouse said. “There are very few studies like this that generate hard data regarding quality of life for patients suffering from advanced cancerous bowel obstructions. As interest in palliative care issues has increased in recent years, we’ve seen a recent push for comparative effectiveness trials to determine which methods lead to the best outcomes for patients.”

Dr. Krouse, a University of Arizona Cancer Center member, is a surgical oncologist with the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, a professor of surgery with the University of Arizona, and Director of Surgical Research at the Tucson VA. He serves on the Executive Committee of the American College of Surgeons Surgical Palliative Care Task Force, whose purpose is to help introduce the precepts and techniques of palliative care to surgical practice and education in the United States and Canada.

He participates in many research projects — predominantly related to his major interests in gastrointestinal cancers, skin cancers, quality of life, and end-of-life care.

Dr. Krouse is among the most active and influential researchers in the palliative care field. In 2004 Dr. Krouse organized and was moderator for an international conference on malignant bowel obstruction, with the goal of advancing palliative care research through development of a trial protocol using malignant bowel obstruction as a model. He is recognized internationally as an expert in the palliative surgical treatment of patients with advanced cancer.

“Our goal with this study is to provide clinicians with clear, data-driven recommendations on when it’s appropriate to operate and when it’s in the patient’s best interest to explore non-surgical treatment options,” Dr. Krouse said.

This study is sponsored by the Department of Health & Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, grant #1R01HS021491-01A1.

- Jan. 22, 2014