Hematology-Oncology Program at Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center in Edison

November 17, 2020

Research into the prevalence of blood clots in pediatric patients who have had COVID-19 is among the work being undertaken by the new comprehensive Thrombosis Program that is part of the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Program of Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health.

Studies show that the incidence of pediatric thrombosis in children has increased, which is believed to be in part because the medical care of critically ill children has improved over the years. Children who are dealing with chronic medical conditions, or being treated for cancer, for example, are at risk for deep vein thromboses (DVT) due to peripherally inserted central catheters and tunnel lines used for treatment. Children who have suffered from COVID infection or the associated MIS-C – Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome – have been shown to also be at risk for blood clots.

Spearheading this expansion of hematology-oncology services is Katherine Armstrong, M.D., MS, who recently became the head of the division’s new Thrombosis Program. Dr. Armstrong sees patients at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center and at the new Children’s Cancer Institute

Hematology-Oncology Program at Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center in Edison.

Early detection and treatment plans created in collaboration with other pediatric specialists, in addition to participation in national clinical trials, will provide children at-risk of, or currently diagnosed, with comprehensive care, says Dr. Armstrong. The standard of care is evolving from treating children with injectable medication to oral anticoagulants. Plans include the establishment of new anticoagulation and diagnostic protocols.

“Our effort to have a dedicated team care for patients and collaborate with other pediatric specialties goes a long way toward standardizing the approach to care of children at risk,” said Dr. Armstrong. “We are also planning to enroll in a study that looks at better predicting what children are at risk.”

With Dr. Armstrong at the helm, we will increase our participation in clinical trials and develop new protocols for the treatment of conditions, said Alfred Gillio, M.D., director, Children’s Cancer Institute, Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health and Section Chief, Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program.

“Much of what is known about thrombosis is based on the treatment of older patients. As we have in other areas of pediatric hematology oncology, we look forward to contributing to the ever-expanding research being done in the area of pediatric thrombosis,” Dr. Gillio added.

“We welcome Dr. Armstrong’s leadership and expertise in pediatric thrombosis to our team of pediatric subspecialists who deliver extraordinary health care to the region’s youngest patients,” said Judy Aschner, M.D., Physician-in-Chief for Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health.

“We welcome Dr. Armstrong and are proud to add the thrombosis program to the long list of highly specialized services provided at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center, executive vice president, Population Health, Hackensack Meridia Health.

About Dr. Armstrong

A graduate of Albany Medical Center, Dr. Armstrong completed her residency in Pediatrics at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornel Medicine. She completed a fellowship in Pediatric

Hematology-Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine. Armstrong is a member of the following organizations: American Academy of Pediatrics; American Society of Hematology; American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; American Society of Clinical Oncology; the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Society; the International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis and the Foundation for Women and Girls with Blood Disorders. Dr. Armstrong is also on the Pediatric Thrombosis Subcommittee of the Venous Thromboembolism Network.

Conditions Treated by the Thrombosis Program and Hematology-Oncology Division

The Thrombosis Program is part of the services offered by the Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program. Inpatient and outpatient services are provided for conditions which include:

  • Anemia
  • Hemostasis (including von Willebrand disease, hemophilia, and coagulopathies)
  • Hemoglobinopathies
  • Hemophilia
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Neutropenia
  • Platelet disorders
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Thrombosis

For appointments, call 551-996-5437, or visit www.hackensackmerdianhealth.org/kids.

About Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health

Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health provides the most comprehensive and highest level of quality care to young patients in the state of New Jersey. The children’s network is comprised of two children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune – and a large network of pediatric subspecialists and pediatricians. Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health hospitals are the only two in New Jersey to be ranked among the top 50 in the nation for pediatric cancer care by U.S. News and World Report. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital also ranks among the top 50 in the nation for pediatric neurology and neurosurgery. Visit www.hackensackmerdianhealth.org/kids for more information about Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health.