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From Patient to Pioneer: Katelyn’s Story

Katelyn 1Sometimes something happens that can put you on an unexpected path. This is true for Katelyn Nye, age 29.  While in high school she was participating in a basketball game and passed out from cardiac arrest. She was one of the lucky few who wake up after such an event.

The incident led to the discovery of a life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia heart disease, which required the implanting of a defibrillator/pacemaker. This was life-changing for Katelyn, and from that moment she developed an all-encompassing drive to help others.  She has been zealously using her engineering expertise and personal experience with heart disease to improve the level of care for others around the globe.

One of the paths Katelyn pursued to reach her goal was clinical research at GE Healthcare, where she collaborates with clinicians who use GE Healthcare’s equipment and conduct research studies to investigate improved outcomes for patients and healthcare institutions.

The other path she pursued helped her soul, as well as building patient-related experience. She reached out to Heartbeat International, a non-profit which provides cardiovascular implant devices and treatment for people in need around the world.

Katelyn proposed the idea of partnering to develop educational material for their patients about the device they were receiving and the potential experiences they may encounter.  Katelyn had over ten years of first-hand experience as a patient with one of these devices, including experiencing device malfunctions – during which she was able to educate herself with use of books, internet, and connecting with other patients online.

She recognized a gap for patients in developing countries who may not have the same access to educate themselves about their disease or implantable device. Heartbeat International agreed and welcomed Katelyn’s help.  Over the next year Katelyn helped prepare an educational booklet that has been translated into several languages and is used globally today.

Back at GE Healthcare, Katelyn is taking radiology’s oldest product, x-ray, and redefining its use with clinical evidence on advanced applications called VolumeRAD Digital Tomosynthesis and Dual Energy Subtraction.

VolumeRAD enables a series of x-ray exposures to be taken in a sweep motion across the patient’s anatomy, instead of a single shot. This can reduce the need for patients to have additional imaging, and is helping physicians provide better patient outcomes in many areas such as in the chest, orthopedics, and in urology.

In a multi-center international clinical trial, VolumeRAD was proven to be superior to standard chest x-ray in detecting lung nodules.  VolumeRAD’s ability to detect small lung nodules (4-6mm diameter), by an improvement magnitude of 7.5 times – was a big discovery that has potential to help physicians affect lives all around the world.

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Katelyn is by no means resting on her laurels; she is now managing other research projects to potentially expand the scope of how VolumeRAD can be used by physicians.  Katelyn is working with several prominent research institutions to see how the VolumeRad technology could further help physicians effect the lives of patients.

Katelyn continues to seek ways to fill her heart and soul through community service. She is volunteering with Camp Odayin, a camp for children with heart disease. She has also has taken on leadership roles with the GE GLTBA affinity network and does volunteer work with the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center. Katelyn has been instrumental in establishing a food pantry and supporting an upcoming career fair at the Center.

 

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