David D. Gutterman, MD
Northwestern Mutual Professor of Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine (1980) MD
(414) 955-8495 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Gutterman's research efforts span basic and clinical science related to vascular health and disease. His laboratory is one of only 2 world-wide that examine the ability of small blood vessels to control blood flow to the heart of humans. Otherwise discarded tissue is obtained from patients undergoing heart surgery. Microvessels isolated from this tissue has shown us that human blood vessels behave much differently than those from animal models. Furthermore diseases such as diabetes markedly reduce the ability of the blood vessels to dilate during periods of need such as exercise or during near-heart attack situations. This may in part explain why patients with diabetes have higher mortality and complications with heart attacks than their non-diabetic counterparts with similarly severe heart attacks.
Dr. Gutterman has also undertaken studies to examine the earliest changes that occur in the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries that is responsible for stroke and heart attacks, and which kills more Americans than any other cause). By examining the function of the inner lining of blood vessels (endothelium) in the arm, one can determine whether the propensity for the development of heart disease is present. Working with Dr. Anne Hoch from the Department of Orthopedics, Dr. Gutterman has determined that elite women athletes often develop endothelial dysfunction as part of a previously described clinical problem termed the "female triad" which includes loss of menstrual cycling, disordered eating, and bone loss or osteoporosis. Thus in addition to these problems, a potentially increased risk of cardiovascular disease is also present.
Ongoing studies will examine this startling finding in other susceptible populations and identify new ways to treat this condition and prevent the onset of disease.