Guam now has a permanent rheumatologist to treat autoimmune disorders


Guam – Patients who suffer from a variety of rheumatologic conditions now have a hometown doctor they can see.

His name is Dr. Zachary Pruhs and he’s now a permanent physician at the Guam Regional Medical City. Dr. He specializes in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis, as well as gout and other diseases common on Guam.

In fact, upon his arrival on Guam, there was already a backlog of patients waiting for Dr. Pruhs. Before Dr. Pruhs’ arrival, patients were typically treated through their primary care provider or referred off-island.

“Some of these illnesses, primary care docs can do an awful lot with so many of these things but there are just a few things that if you haven’t seen them before or if you’re not comfortable with the medications that you have to use to treat these things, they can get a little complex,” said Dr. Pruhs. “There has been kind of a backlog in that some of the specialists and certainly some of the primary care doctors have, I think they actually held on to a few patients that they wanted to send to me so there’s been kind of several patients that have come across my desk so far that they clearly needed to be seen and as soon as possible sort of thing. So I definitely think that there is a need. I’m very happy to be here and I’m very happy to fulfill it.”

Dr. Pruhs tell us more about some of the illnesses and conditions he treats.

“The kind of things that I deal in–arthritis, both wear and tear type arthritis, osteoarthritis and then inflammatory arthritis. There are a bunch of diseases out there that cause inflammation of the joints and some of those, probably the most famous is rheumatoid arthritis. That’s kind of my bread and butter, that’s the disease that I deal in the most. Tnd then there is gout, of course, and we’ve all heard about how common gout is, unfortunately, and it’s becoming even more common. And then some of the more exotic things that I do deal in, psoriasis associated arthritis, there’s lupus, of course, there’s post-infectious or reactive arthritis and then there are some of the really, thankfully, rare diseases such as vasculitis that can affect the blood vessels that can be a really serious illness that we have to use some of the more exotic medication for,” he explained.

Read the press release from GRMC below:

(Monday, September 17, 2018; Dededo, Guam) Guam Regional Medical City welcomes Rheumatologist Dr. Zachary Pruhs to Guam. Dr. Pruhs specializes in the care of complex arthritis and autoimmune diseases. He joins GRMC’s Specialty Clinics, which now expands its services related to joint and bone care.

Dr. Pruhs is board certified in Rheumatology and Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and a member of the American College of Rheumatology. His specific areas of interest include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus, which are prevalent afflictions on Guam.

“GRMC is pleased to have a rheumatologist of Dr. Pruhs caliber joining our team,” said Dr. Michael Cruz, president and COO. “Expanding our specialty services to include a board-certified rheumatologist enables GRMC to continue providing Guam and Micronesia with the highest levels of healthcare locally rather than having patients seek treatment off-island as in previous years.”

Based on data extrapolated from a Center of Disease Control report in 2015, the following are estimated Guam patients who suffer from these diseases:

Gout – 9,367
Rheumatoid Arthritis – 5,302
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – 707
Psoriatic Arthritis – 442
Scleroderma, Sjogren’s Syndrome or Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder – 531

“There over 16,000 people on island who could potentially benefit from Dr. Pruhs’ services, in addition to other complex rheumatologic disorders not listed,“ said Dr. Felix T. Cabrera, Chief Medical Officer. “If you were to survey all the physicians on Guam as to the most needed sub-specialty service not yet provided on island, Rheumatology would likely be in everyone’s top 3. We are very excited to finally make this a reality at GRMC.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Pruhs, contact GRMC’s Specialty Clinics at 645-5500.