Walter Koltun, M.D., Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center – Penn State Hershey Medical Center


[ Music ]>>My name is Walter Koltun. I’m the chief
of the Division of Colon Rectal Surgery here at Hershey Medical Center. I’m also the head
of the IBD Center that has recently been established at Hershey Medical Center. I’m also the Peter
and Marsha Carlino professor of inflammatory bowel disease. I decided to take a special
interest from a career standpoint in inflammatory bowel disease patients very early in my education.
When I was still at medical school I became very interested in gastrointestinal diseases
and subsequently did research in small bowel transplantation. I rapidly recognize that
the diseases that were affiliated with intestinal abnormalities really focused on inflammatory
bowel disease and that stimulated me to then take special training from a surgical perspective
and inflammatory bowel disease management. I came here after my training in colon rectal
surgery in Boston and established the Division of Colon Rectal Surgery here and then went
on to fulfill my dream of having an inflammatory bowel disease center. Taking care of patients
with inflammatory bowel disease has been a personal passion of mine. I think it’s a special
group of patients in part because they’re usually relatively young but also because
their disease affects many parts of their life that really impacts negatively their
entire lives. Their families are affected, their jobs are affected and they have a great
difficulty in just leading a normal life at a point in time of their lives when they should
be active, happy, healthy and doing things like normal people should. They need special
care because it is a disease process that not only needs surgery but also needs the
input of many different specialties, gastroenterology, stoma nurses, nutrition, dermatology, fertility
experts and the care of an IBD patient therefore requires all of these experts to come together
under one roof in order to provide the best care. Here at Hershey Medical Center our surgeons
and our gastroenterologists work shoulder to shoulder with the patients. Patients will
meet their surgeon relatively early in the care process because frequently surgery will
be necessary. Sometimes it’s for cure. Patients who have ulcerative colitis can be cured with
surgery. Other times surgery has to be done under more urgent circumstances and then it
can be lifesaving. But it’s important to remember that the majority of inflammatory bowel disease
patients will sooner or later need surgery. Surgery is one tool in the tool box of the
care giver. That tool should be used when it’s appropriate to be used. Sometimes it
is the best tool. The outcomes from such surgery frequently are very very good. There are very
many unique features of how surgery is provided to IBD patients here at Hershey Medical Center.
We have the most modern cutting edge techniques. We use laparoscopy or minimally invasive surgery
for over half our patients. We include robotic surgery in the management of patients with
inflammatory bowel disease. We have been doing surgery for patients with inflammatory bowel
disease for over twenty years and we have the region’s largest experience in the ileal
pouch anal anastomosis, which is the surgery that can cure patients with ulcerative colitis.
Many years ago when I was doing research in inflammatory bowel disease, I asked myself
how could we do research in a way that would have the most impact and the most relevancy
to human disease? Well, we started about fifteen years ago was the inflammatory bowel disease
bio bank. This bio bank stores DNA from patients with inflammatory bowel disease, as well as
tissues that may be removed at the time of surgery. We then can do research looking into
the genetics of inflammatory bowel disease and then correlate the findings with the actual
tissues from the patient removed at the time of surgery. This IBD bio bank is unique in
several regards. First of all it’s the largest that contains both DNA and tissue from patients
for research. Secondly, it now has been in existence for so long that we have multi generations
from the same family that have been accumulated over multiple years. We have over seventeen
hundred patients in this bio bank presently allowing us to do a remarkable amount of research
into the genetics and the causes of inflammatory bowel disease. What inspires me to continue
to work on inflammatory bowel disease is the patients, specifically the gratification that
comes from seeing a young patient who years earlier was sick and had their lives almost
destroyed by this disease and then to see them a few years later having a normal life,
a normal family and being successful in their career. Five to ten years from now I see the
Penn State Hershey IBD Center as being nationally recognized as one of the places to be for
not only patient care but also for cutting edge research [ background music ]. We have all of the necessary
components to make that happen [music ].

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