In his research, he aims to predict the severity of acute pancreatitis using CT scans, with a particular focus on splanchnic vein thrombosis, which affects these patients at a higher rate than previously thought. In March, Dr. Ruben Zsolt Borbély was named the Student of the Month (Year 2-3) at the Centre for Translational Medicine.

Ruben Zsolt Borbély is a second-year PhD student at the Centre for Translational Medicine and a resident radiologist at Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital and Clinic. He learned about the training through an email from his hospital director. He applied for the program the following year and started it in September 2022. His research focuses on the management of acute pancreatitis. His primary goal is to improve acute pancreatitis care with the help of imaging, specifically regarding complications and severity prediction.

“Based on previous data, we already knew that patients who develop splanchnic vein thrombosis are more likely to experience a more severe course of pancreatitis. However, it was not known when this complication would develop and what could cause it. Therefore, in my first project, we examined the conclusions that can be drawn from the articles published on this topic. Our meta-analysis revealed that splanchnic vein thrombosis may affect a quarter of patients with acute pancreatitis. This is a higher proportion than we had previously expected,” he explained. The results clearly indicated that due to the high risk, patients with pancreatitis should be treated with anticoagulants. This was not clear before because pancreatitis also carries a risk of bleeding, so anticoagulants were used more cautiously.

“We also found out that people who have alcohol-induced pancreatitis are more prone to thrombosis. In such cases, splanchnic vein thrombosis occurs in every third affected patient. In cases when pancreatitis is caused by a biliary obstruction, only one in ten patients develops this complication. The risk of splanchnic vein thrombosis is also affected by pancreatic necrosis: when it occurs, up to 50 percent of patients are affected with thrombosis,” he added. His research findings were published digitally in January and will soon be published in print in the United European Gastroenterology Journal. Another study by Dr. Borbély is still ongoing, examining how body composition – this data is extracted from CT scans – affects the severity of pancreatitis. Preliminary results suggest that having too much abdominal fat or too little muscle tissue is likely to increase the severity of this disease. These patients need to be monitored more closely in the hospital, while those without this risk might be discharged earlier.

(Emese Szabó)