Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/01/2019 --Joan Eggert, MD, has become an advocate for Intermountain Precision Genomics' RxMatch — which uses a simple cheek swab to help determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient based on their personal DNA — since an adverse drug reaction led to her own near-death experience.
Dr. Eggert, a retired hyperbaric medicine physician who worked for many years in the Wound Clinic at Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah, has had hypertension since she was 22. While it was never what she considered to be well-controlled, she didn't let that stop her from pursing her passion for deep-sea diving.
Just before a trip to Fiji for her 1,078th dive, Dr. Eggert switched her medication to metoprolol, which was supposed to be a simple substitute for her regular beta blocker, atenolol, which was unavailable because of a drug shortage.
During the dive, Dr. Eggert became short of breath. Once she surfaced, she heard water gurgling in her lungs and was unable to catch her breath. She was raced to the small, local hospital where she was diagnosed with sudden immersion pulmonary edema and required oxygen and IV diuretics for five hours to stabilize her condition.
Once she was back home in St. George, Utah, Dr. Eggert met with her physician, who recommended RxMatch. This pharmacogenomic test looks for small genetic variations that impact how a patient metabolizes and responds to medication. Providers can use the information it provides to identify drugs that are more likely to work, avoid drugs that might have adverse side-effects, adjust the dose of a drug, or determine if closer monitoring is needed.
"I got my results back from RxMatch and it explained why I had such a negative reaction during my dive — I was on the wrong medication to treat my condition," Dr. Eggert said. "I'm now on the right medication because I was able to get personalized medical care. For the first time in 48 years, I have normal blood pressure."
With her new normalized blood pressure, Dr. Eggert has since gone on 30 more uneventful dives. She now helps to educate providers on the benefits of RxMatch and personalized medicine for everyone.
You can view a video of Dr. Eggert's story here. To learn more about RxMatch, visit Intermountain.com/RxMatch.
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.