The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Annual Report: Health & Public Service

March 22, 2010

Profile: Treatment by trial

Lifelong heart patient helps test new drug

ANDERSON, Ind. — A doctor in her clinical trial for a new medicine told Sarah Lapp that she was going to be on the cutting edge of cardiology.

Lapp, 64, informed the physician that she had been on the “cutting edge” for more than 50 years.

“I was born with pulmonary stenosis,” said the Anderson native, “and have had two open-heart surgeries, one in 1958 and one in 2004.”

Lapp is a subject at Community Hospital’s Clinical Research Center, in a study for a new anticoagulant similar to Coumadin.

Lapp’s 1958 surgery was performed at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, when she was 12 years old.

Pulmonary stenosis, she said, “means the pulmonary artery and the pulmonary valve do not work properly. They were repaired when I was 12, and then I had a replacement of my pulmonary valve and repair of my tricuspid valve.”

The 1963 Anderson High alumna could not offer any specifics about the drug she is taking in the study, nor its name, nor the name of the company testing it.

Neither could Crystal Bingham, clinical studies manager for the center.

“You’re on something, but you just don’t know which one,” Bingham said of the double-blind study. “You could be on the standard-of-care treatment, which is what’s already available, or the study medication.”

Bingham also said that participants receive free nursing care and on-call help 24/7. “They always have somebody available,” she said.

Bingham also added that the care participants receive is so intensive and personal that it can many times spot conditions that have gone undetected elsewhere in the system. Community, she said, conducts 15 or so clinical studies a year.

Lapp, a former elementary school teacher who has two grown children with her husband, Joe, will be on the study for three years.

When the staff told her that, Lapp said she responded: “Good! That means you think I’m going to live for the next three years!”

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Annual Report: Health & Public Service
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