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Armbruster wins 2020 American College of Clinical Pharmacy Seed Grant

Published on 10 August 2020

Anastasia Armbruster, Pharm.D. ’09, AACC, BCPS, BCCP, associate professor of pharmacy practice, was recently awarded an American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Seed Grant for her study on medications used for atrial fibrillation.

She is collaborating with researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and BJC HealthCare on the study, which examines how medications that treat atrial fibrillation affect a patient who is also experiencing acute heart failure.

“We know that certain medications used to treat atrial fibrillation cannot safely be used long-term with patients who are also experiencing heart failure,” Armbruster explained. “But these medications are often used in emergency situations to control the heart rate of a patient who is having a cardiac episode. What we want to determine is the dosage and length of time these medications can be used in an acute situation before they harm the patient.”

Armbruster’s interest in the topic began in her clinical practice with Missouri Baptist Medical Center. As a specialist in cardiology, she frequently attends to patients who are being treated for a number of cardiovascular diseases.

“In my clinical practice, I’ve witnessed patients who experienced adverse effects after receiving medication for atrial fibrillation during a cardiac episode,” Armbruster explained. “My colleagues had noticed this trend, too, but we needed more data in order to determine how widespread the problem is and what guidelines should be put into place to solve it. BJH HealthCare is allowing me to use two years of data from their entire network of clinics and hospitals to study the outcomes of patients who fit this criteria in order to develop better guidelines and treatment options.”

Once the study is completed and ready to publish, Armbruster hopes to share her findings with medical doctors and pharmacists who work in critical care.

“As pharmacists, it’s our responsibility to make sure that patients receive the right medication at the right dosage and determine best practices,” Armbruster explained. “My hope with this study is that we can create clearer guidelines that will produce better patient outcomes.”

In addition to helping fund the study, Armbruster notes that the ACCP seed grant also provides validation for her research.

“ACCP has very high standards for these competitive grants,” Armbruster explained. “While I’m grateful for the financial support, what matters the most is that people who specialize in the same area I do recognize the importance of this work and validate the research approach I’m taking. I look forward to sharing my results with my ACCP peers at next year’s annual conference.”

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