Thomas S Helling

University of Mississippi, Mississippi, United States

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Publications (115)393.4 Total impact

  • No preview · Article · May 2014 · Gastroenterology
  • Thomas S Helling · Daniel Azoulay
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    ABSTRACT: Born in the early 20th century, the Vietnamese surgeon Ton That Tung received his medical education in French colonial Indochina at the fledgling l'Ecole de Médecine de Hanoi, the first indigenous medical school in Southeast Asia. The benefactor of a postgraduate position at the medical school, Ton That Tung subsequently obtained his surgical training at the Phú Doãn Hospital in Hanoi and concurrently developed a passion for the study of liver anatomy, pathology, and surgery. His contributions to an understanding of liver anatomy based on meticulous dissection of autopsy specimens antedated and rivaled later work by the famous Western anatomists Couinaud, Healey, Schroy, and others. Ton That Tung's contributions, however, were overshadowed by the intense national struggles of the Vietnamese to establish independent rule and self-governance from the French and by eventual alignment with eastern bloc Communist countries, thus isolating much of his work behind the "Iron Curtain" until well after the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless, Ton That Tung remains a pioneer in liver anatomy and liver surgery. His commitment to surgical science and, more importantly, to the Vietnamese people stands as a tribute to the tireless pursuit of his ideals.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Annals of surgery
  • Thomas S Helling · Magdeline Martin
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    ABSTRACT: Surgically directed therapy for liver metastases from colorectal cancer (CRC) has received substantial attention in the literature as a major focus of treatment for metastatic CRC. It is presumed, but not proven, that liver metastases are a major threat to life. This study examined the course of a cohort of consecutive patients who died with CRC to determine the role played by the presence of liver metastases. This is single-institution retrospective observational study involved all patients who died of CRC. Records were examined and imaging studies reviewed to determine the extent of liver and extrahepatic metastases in these patients. Overall survival in patients with and without liver metastases and those in whom liver metastases were thought to contribute to death was determined. After patient exclusions, the study population totaled 121 patients. There were 75 patients (62 %) with liver metastases at death. In 40 of 75 (53 %) patients, the liver metastases contributed to the patients' death. In 46 of 121 patients (38 %), metastatic disease did not include liver metastases. Overall survival in patients with and without liver metastases (median survival 12 vs. 8.5 months, p = 0.089) and in those whose liver metastases did or did not contribute to death (median survival 11.5 vs. 14 months, p = 0.361) was not significant. The presence of liver metastases seemed to contribute to death in approximately half of the study patients, although there did not appear to be a survival disadvantage in these patients.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Annals of Surgical Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. This study evaluates treatment of gastroparesis patients refractory to gastric electrical stimulation (GES) therapy with surgical replacement of the entire GES system. Summary Background Data. Some patients who have symptomatic improvement with GES later develop recurrent symptoms. Some patients improve by simply altering pulse parameter settings. Others continue to have symptoms with maximized pulse parameters. For these patients, we have shown that surgical implantation of a new device and leads at a different gastric location will improve symptoms of gastroparesis. Methods. This study evaluates 15 patients with recurrent symptoms after initial GES therapy who subsequently received a second GES system. Positive response to GES replacement therapy is evaluated by symptoms scores for vomiting, nausea, epigastric pain, early satiety, and bloating using a modified Likert score system, 0 to 4. Results. Total symptom scores improved for 12 of 15 patients with GES replacement surgery. Total score for the replacement group decreased from 17.3 ± 1.6 to 13.6 ± 3.7 with a difference of 3.6 (P value = .017). This score is compared with that of the control group with a preoperative symptom score of 15.8 ± 3.6 and postoperative score of 12.3 ± 3.5 with a difference of 3.5 (P value = .011). The control group showed a 20.3% decrease in mean total symptoms score, whereas the study group showed a 22.5% decrease in mean with an absolute reduction of 2.2. Conclusion. Reimplantation of a GES at a new gastric location should be considered a viable option for patients who have initially failed GES therapy for gastroparesis.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Surgical Innovation

  • No preview · Article · May 2013 · Gastroenterology
  • Thomas S Helling
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    ABSTRACT: Carbohydrate antigen (CA) 19.9 is a Lewis blood group oligosaccharide antigen which exists in fixed and soluble forms. The CA 19.9 antigen is synthesized by epithelial cells of the gastrointestinal tract, pancreatic duct, and biliary tree. The CA 19.9 antigen is commonly used as a tumor marker for malignancies of the pancreas and biliary tract. High levels (> 300 U/ml) of antigen have strongly suggested malignant processes. Four patients are described with markedly elevated levels of CA 19.9 due to benign calculous disease. Three of four patients underwent endoscopic stone removal followed by cholecystectomy; the fourth patient spontaneously passed stones and had a subsequent cholecystectomy with benign inflammatory pathology. Removal or passage of the obstructing stones produced normalization of the CA 19.9 in each case even with long-term follow-up up to one year. All pathology specimens were interpreted as benign. Marked elevations of CA 19.9 may be found in benign obstructive disease and should be interpreted with caution until biliary obstruction is relieved.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association
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    ABSTRACT: Background Unexpected clinical deterioration (failure events) in surgical patients on standard nursing units (WARDs) could have a significant impact on eventual survival. We sought to investigate failure events requiring intensive care (SICU) transfer of surgical patients on standard nursing units (WARDs) in a single center academic setting Study Design Surgical patients admitted to WARDs over a 12 month period who developed failure events were retrospectively reviewed. Time to deterioration since WARD arrival, clinical factors, notification chain, and outcome were identified. A physician review panel determined the preventability of failure events. Results Ninety-eight patients experienced 111 failure events requiring SICU transfer. Most patients (85%) were emergency admissions. Of 111 events, 90% had been previously discharged from SICU or Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Recognition of failure was by nursing (54%) and on routine physician rounds (34%). Rapid response or code blue alone was less common (12%). A second physician notification was needed in 29% with delays due to failure to identify severity of illness. Most commonly respiratory events prompted notification (77/111, 69%). The overall mortality was 26/98 (27%). The median time to failure was 2 days and was associated with early transfer from SICU or PACU. Rapid response or code blue activation was associated with higher mortality than physician notification. Conclusions Patients most at risk for WARD failures were those with acute surgical emergencies or recently discharged from SICU/PACU. Respiratory complications were the most common cause of WARD failure events. Many early failures may have been due to premature transfer from SICU/PACU. Failure events on WARDs can have lethal consequences. Awareness, monitoring, and communication are important components of preventative measures
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Journal of the American College of Surgeons
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction This study evaluates the modeling of gastric electrophysiology tracings during long-term gastric electrical stimulation for gastroparesis. We hypothesized that serosal electrogastrogram may change over time representing gastric remodeling from gastric stimulation. Patients Sixty-five patients with gastroparesis underwent placement of gastric stimulator for refractory symptoms. Mean age at initial stimulator placement was 44 years (range, 8–76), current mean age was 49, and the majority of the subjects were female (n = 51, 78 %). Only a minority had diabetes-induced gastroparesis (n = 16, 25 %); the remainder were either idiopathic or postsurgical. Methods At the time of stimulator placement, electrogastrogram was performed after the gastric leads were placed but before stimulation was begun. Patients underwent continuous stimulation until pacer batteries depleted. At the time of replacement, before the new pacemaker was attached, electrogastrogram was again performed. Results After a mean of 3.9 years of stimulation therapy, the mean of baseline frequency before stimulation therapy was 5.06 cycles/min and declined to 3.66 after replacement (p = 0.0000002). The mean amplitude was 0.33 mV before stimulation therapy and decreased to 0.31 mV (p = 0.73). The frequency/amplitude ratio was 38.4 before stimulation therapy and decreased to 21.9 (p = 0.001). Conclusion Long-term gastric electrical stimulation causes improvement in basal unstimulated gastric frequency to near normal.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery

  • No preview · Article · May 2012 · Gastroenterology
  • T S Helling

    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · British Journal of Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Ectopic liver is defined as liver parenchyma situated outside the liver proper with no connection to native hepatic tissue. This rare developmental anomaly is most commonly described as an attachment to the gallbladder with an incidence <0.3%, but it has been reported in other locations within the abdomen and thorax.(2-4) Most cases are found incidentally in asymptomatic patients, but ectopic liver has been known to cause visceral or vascular obstruction.(4,5) Herein we present a unique case of ectopic liver attached by a thin stalk seemingly floating in the suprahepatic inferior vena cava.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Journal of vascular surgery: official publication, the Society for Vascular Surgery [and] International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, North American Chapter
  • Thomas S Helling · Flavia Davit · Kim Edwards
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    ABSTRACT: Rural trauma has been associated with higher mortality because of a number of geographic and demographic factors. Many victims, of necessity, are first cared for in nearby hospitals, many of which are not designated trauma centers (TCs), and then transferred to identified TCs. This first echelon care might adversely affect eventual outcome. We have sought to examine the fate of trauma patients transferred after first echelon hospital evaluation and treatment. All trauma patients transferred (referred group) to a Pennsylvania Level I TC located in a geographically isolated and rural setting during a 68-month period were retrospectively compared with patients transported directly to the TC (direct group). Outcome measures included mortality, complications, physiologic parameters on arrival at the TC, operations within 6 hours of arrival at the TC, discharge disposition from the TC, and functional outcome. Patients with an injury severity score <9 and those discharged from the TC within 24 hours were excluded. During the study period, 2,388 patients were transported directly and 529 were transferred. Mortality between groups was not different: 6% (referred) versus 9% (direct), p = 0.074. Occurrence of complications was not different between the two groups. Physiologic parameters (systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and Glasgow Coma Scale score) at admission to the Level I TC differed statistically between the two groups but seemed near equivalent clinically. Sixteen percent of patients required an operative procedure within 6 hours in the direct group compared with 10% in the referral group (p = 0.001). Hospital and intensive care unit length of stay were less in the referred group, although this was not statistically significant. Performance scores on discharge were equivalent in all categories except transfer ability. Time from injury to definitive care (TC) was 1.6 hours ± 3.0 hours in the direct group and 5.3 hours ± 3.8 hours in the referred group (p < 0.0001). The most common procedure performed at first echelon hospitals was airway control (55% of referred patients). In this rural setting, care at first echelon hospitals, most (95%) of which were not designated TCs, seemed to augment, rather than detract from, favorable outcomes realized after definitive care at the TC.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2010 · The Journal of trauma
  • Thomas S Helling · Sumesh Kaswan · Justin Boccardo · James E Bost
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    ABSTRACT: Resident duty hour restriction was instituted to improve patient safety, but actual impact on patient care is unclear. We sought to determine the effect of duty hour restriction on trauma outcomes in Level I trauma centers (TCs; surgery residency programs) versus Level II TCs (those with no surgery residency programs) within the state of Pennsylvania, using noninferiority as our hypothesis testing. Outcomes (mortality and length of stay [LOS]) were compared in Level II TCs without surgery residencies (n = 7) with Level I TCs (with surgery residencies; n = 14) PRE80 (2001-2003) and POST80 (2004-2007). The subcategories of critically injured patients, Injury Severity Score (ISS) >15, ISS >25, Trauma and Injury Severity Score (TRISS) ≤ 50, Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) head/chest/abdomen score >3, age >65 years, mechanism, and shock, functioned as outcome predictors. There was a decrease in mortality overall PRE80 to POST80 for Level I and II TCs. There was a decrease in mortality in Level I TCs POST80 in ISS >15 (16.5% vs. 14.8%, p = 0.0001), AIS (head) score >3 (20.8% vs. 17.8%, p < 0.0001), age >65 years (12.2% vs. 10.7%, p = 0.0013), and blunt mechanism (5.2% vs. 4.6%, p = 0.0004). LOS was reduced in ISS >15, AIS (head) score >3, age >65 years, and penetrating mechanism in Level I TCs POST80. A similar but more profound decrease was also seen in Level II TCs PRE80 and POST80 (ISS >15, 25; AIS (head) score; shock; blunt mechanism; and TRISS ≤ 50). Testing for inhomogeneity identified less-severely injured patients at Level II TCs POST80 compared with Level I TCs in certain subcategories (ISS >15, 25; AIS (head) score; shock; blunt mechanism; and TRISS ≤ 50) regarding mortality and LOS (TRISS >50%). Decreases in mortality and LOS during the study periods were likely not related to resident work hour restriction but rather to overall improvement in outcomes seen at Level II (no residents) and Level I (residents) TCs. Resident work hour restrictions had no discernible effect on patient care (noninferiority).
    No preview · Article · Sep 2010 · The Journal of trauma

  • No preview · Article · May 2010 · The American surgeon

  • No preview · Article · May 2010 · Gastroenterology
  • Thomas S Helling
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer remains a deadly disease. Currently, the only hope for cure is surgical resection at an early stage of the disease. However, there is evidence that many individuals do not receive this treatment, perhaps because of health care disparities. Mississippi, because of its socioeconomic composition, has been the focus of concern for health care disparities. In order to determine whether such disparities exist in Mississippi for pancreatic cancer, a retrospective analysis was done from 2000 2006 of case diagnosis, treatment, and mortality from this disease. The Mississippi Cancer Registry, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program were surveyed. Outcomes at all 12 ACS Commission on Cancer (CoC) accredited hospitals within the state were compared to the NCDB nationwide (n=1331 hospitals). In 2006 Mississippi had the highest death rate from pancreas cancer in the nation (12.7/100,000). Age-adjusted incidence by county ranged to a high of 26.91/100,000. Fifty-one percent of patients who died from pancreatic cancer in the state were treated at ACS CoC hospitals. The fate of the other 49% is not known. Of the patients tracked at CoC hospitals, there was essentially no significant difference with respect to age distribution, stage at diagnosis, or first treatment modalities when compared to NCDB nationwide CoC data. There were fewer patients surviving two years with locally advanced disease compared to national figures. Of concern was the large number of patients whose treatment for pancreatic cancer is unknown. It is incumbent on health care providers in the state to develop a system of care for pancreatic cancer that is accessible, inclusive, and comprehensive.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2010 · Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association
  • Thomas S Helling

    No preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Surgery
  • Thomas S Helling · Sumesh Kaswan · S Lee Miller · James F Tretter
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    ABSTRACT: The use of permanent inferior vena cava filters (IVCFs) offers protection against pulmonary embolism (PE) but increases the long-term risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and does not affect long-term mortality. The use of retrievable IVCFs in trauma patients offers the dual advantage of protection against PE during the risk period and the option of filter removal thus avoiding complications of DVT. Despite the safety of removal, it is likely that many of these retrievable filters are not removed. This was a retrospective, single-center, observational cohort study at a rural level I trauma center. We sought to investigate the number of patients and the circumstances under which retrievable IVCFs were placed and removed. During a 4-year period, 3,455 trauma patients were admitted and 125 patients had retrievable IVCFs placed (71 therapeutic and 54 prophylactic). The most common indications were traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries (66%). During in-hospital filter use, there were 36 new incidences (29%) of PE (1) and DVT (35). Nine patients died before removal. In 40 patients (32%), removal was attempted, and 32 (26%) retrievable IVCFs were successfully removed and in most patients (76%) within 180 days of insertion. Seventeen patients were transferred out of the area for extended care and lost to follow-up. In 55 patients, the filters were not removed. In 20 patients, the surgeon decided against removal. Thirty patients were transferred to extended care or rehabilitation within the community, but they did not return for removal. Thus, of 108/125 patients with follow-up, 76 patients (70%) did not have their IVCFs removed, and 50 patients did not have their IVCFs removed because of the choice of the surgeon, extended care, or rehabilitation. The use of retrievable IVCFs, when necessary, produced predictable protection against PE and DVT complications. Despite the opportunity for removal, most patients, in fact, did not have their filters removed, even when posthospital care could be tracked. The practices of the surgeon, the transfer to extended-care facilities, near or far, and the reluctance to remove long-standing IVCFs contributed to the high-retention rate.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2009 · The Journal of trauma
  • Roman Grinberg · Thomas S Helling
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    ABSTRACT: Postoperative hemorrhage (PH) that requires reoperation to control bleeding represents a potentially life-threatening and avoidable complication that could have serious implications for recovery. All surgical patients were reviewed who developed PH and required reoperation for control of hemorrhage over a 12-year period, to examine contributing factors possibly related to surgeon misadventure. Of 89,663 operations during this period, there were 1,031 patients (1.2%) who developed PH. Of these, 36 patients required reoperation for control of PH (0.04%), including, general surgery (17), otolaryngologic (9), cardiovascular (9), and gynecologic (1) patients. In 27 general, cardiovascular, and gynecologic patients (29 reoperations), the age ranged from 6 to 91 years. Almost one-half of patients (56%) developing PH were on preoperative anticoagulation. Estimated operative blood loss (EBL) was moderate (EBL = 100-500 mL, 48%). Most patients were normothermic (80%) and normotensive (93%) intraoperatively. The decision to reoperate was not made for at least 8 hours in 55 per cent of patients. At reoperation 10/29 patients were hypotensive. In 20/36 patients (56%) the reoperation note did not identify a single source of bleeding. PH is a distinctly uncommon complication of surgery and often not due to obvious surgeon misadventure. Reoperation for PH is even rarer and embarked upon with reluctance, frequently not yielding a discernible cause for hemorrhage.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2009 · The American surgeon
  • Thomas S. Helling · Michael R. Ward · Jennifer Balon
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Computed tomography (CT) has become the preferred method for evaluation of the abdomen for victims of blunt trauma. Grading of liver injuries, primarily by CT, has been advocated as a measure of severity and, by implication, the likelihood for intervention or complications. We have sought to determine if grading of liver injuries, as a clinical tool, affects immediate or extended management of patients. Methods: We have retrospectively reviewed all patients sustaining blunt liver injuries as diagnosed by CT over a five-year period at a Level I trauma center to determine if grading of injury influenced management. The AAST organ scaling system was utilized (major grade 4–5, minor grade 1–3), as well as the ISS, AIS, mortality, morbidity, and treatment. There were 133 patients available for review. The patients were grouped into major (n = 20) and minor (n = 113) liver injuries and operative (n = 12) and nonoperative (n = 121) management. Results: Major liver injuries had a higher ISS (39 + 13 vs. 27 + 15, p = 0.001) and were more likely to require operative intervention (5/20 vs. 7/113, p = 0.02). Mortality in this group was not different (major vs. minor), and there were no differences in the incidence of complications. Twelve patients (9%) required operation, all for hemodynamic instability, all within 24 h, and 11/12 within 6 h. At operation 8/12 patients had other sources of bleeding beside the liver injury, and 7/12 had minor hepatic injuries. The operative patients had higher ISS and AIS scores (head/neck, chest, abdomen, extremities) than those managed nonoperatively. More patients died in the operative group (6/12 vs. 8/121, p = 0.0003). There were more pulmonary (6/12 vs. 16/121, p = 0.005), cardiovascular (6/12 vs. 19/121, p = 0.01), and infectious (5/12 vs. 20/121, p = 0.049) complications in the operative group. There were 14 deaths overall; 13/14 were due to traumatic brain injury, and 8/14 required urgent operation for hemorrhage. Conclusions: In conclusion, grading of liver injuries does not seem to influence immediate management. Physiologic behavior dictated management and need for operative intervention, as well as prognosis. However, both major hepatic injuries and need for early operation reflected overall severity and the possibility of associated injuries.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2009 · European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery

Publication Stats

2k Citations
393.40 Total Impact Points


  • 2012-2013
    • University of Mississippi
      • Department of Surgery
      Mississippi, United States
  • 2010-2013
    • University of Mississippi Medical Center
      • Department of Surgery
      Jackson, Mississippi, United States
  • 1985-2008
    • University of Missouri - Kansas City
      • Department of Surgery
      Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • 2007
    • Temple University
      • Department of Surgery
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1992-2007
    • University of Missouri
      • Department of Surgery
      Columbia, Missouri, United States
  • 1989-1997
    • St. Luke's Hospital
      Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States