It is my distinct pleasure to introduce Dr. Rodrigo Cartin-Ceba to the readership of the Vasculitis Foundation Newsletter. As a testimony to this outstanding clinical dedication and acumen he was awarded “best resident or fellow of the year” awards at every station of his training from Costa Rica to Mayo Clinic, consistently every single year from 1999-2009. At Mayo Graduate School he also completed all the requirements for a master’s degree in Clinical Research, which he will be awarded this fall. Dr. Cartin-Ceba’s clinical research efforts have focused on critical care medicine, and over the course of the last couple of years, on vasculitis. He currently holds 27 peer-reviewed original publications and 6 book chapters to his credit, for most of which he is the first author. His most significant quality though is undoubtedly his humble dedication to his patients. My colleagues and I at Mayo Clinic are delighted that Dr. Cartin-Ceba decided to join our staff in 2010 as assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and even more so that he decided to focus his career on improving the care of patients with vasculitis as a member of the Mayo Clinic, Pulmonary Vasculitis Clinic. — Ulrich Specks, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic
The main cause of intensive care unit admission in patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) is alveolar, or pulmonary, hemorrhage. This life-threatening complication affects about 25 percent of AAV patients and requires early diagnosis and treatment.
This complication is the main area of focus for Rodrigo Cartin-Ceba, a pulmonologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
“The most challenging part of my job is to treat early the flares of the disease to avoid complications and also to prevent long-term complications from the medications that we use to control the disease activity,” Cartin-Ceba says. “But seeing how patients that are initially very sick are able to recover and have a normal life is very rewarding. I enjoy working with AAV patients because with adequate treatment, we can really make a significant impact in outcomes.”
Looking ahead, Cartin-Ceba says the next big development in treating AAV will be identifying easy-to-obtain and reliable markers to determine disease activity and “to be able to predict early and accurately what patients with alveolar hemorrhage require more aggressive management.”
Cartin-Ceba attended medical school at the University of Costa Rica, and trained in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. He then completed a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Mayo Clinic before joining the institution as a full-time staff member. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine.
It was a career trajectory he’d had in mind since a child growing up in Costa Rica. “I always wanted to be a doctor to take care of sick people,” he says. “I don’t imagine myself doing something else, I really enjoy doing what I do.”
When he’s not working, Cartin-Ceba enjoys spending time with his family and following politics, particularly Latin American politics. He was an avid soccer player until medical school.
Cartin-Ceba’s work is fueled by a desire to help his patients in anything that is available to make them feel better,” he says. “But especially I want them to have a normal life with decent quality of life.”