Skip to main content

Melissa Caughey, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UNC/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Duke University’s Vishal Rao, M.D., (B.S. UNC/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering) won third place in a collaboration as contestants in the American Heart Association Heart Failure Data Challenge.

Melissa Caughey, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of North Carolina / North Carolina State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering and Vishal Rao, M.D., cardiovascular disease research fellow at Duke University School of Medicine won third place in the American Heart Association® heart failure data challenge. The data challenge was hosted by The American Heart Association and the Association of Black Cardiologists, with a focus on testing the relationships between heart failure and health disparities, social determinants of health and structural determinants of health. The results were evaluated by a peer review group of nearly 30 experts in the field. Four teams of researchers are winners.

“Congratulations to these researchers for their exceptional work in the heart failure data challenge,” said Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., past president of the Association of Black Cardiologists and president of the American Heart Association. “Improving our understanding of how social determinants of health impact certain populations in order to develop consequential targeted solutions requires harmonization of different types of data. These teams must be commended for their efforts at addressing health equity, one of the most pressing areas in healthcare,” Albert said.

Vishal Rao, Duke
Vishal N. Rao, M.D., advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology fellow at Duke University

Rao and Caughey led the project titled “In-Hospital Outcome Differences in Patients Hospitalized for Heart Failure Across Neighborhood Socioeconomic Disadvantage in the American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure Registry.” The team analyzed associations between socioeconomic status disadvantage and in-hospital heart failure outcomes in patients from diverse neighborhoods

Caughey and Rao tested the hypothesis that the social environment, defined by neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation, would be associated with adverse clinical outcomes in patients hospitalized with heart failure.

“Social and environmental factors are thought to influence the incidence, management, and outcomes of cardiovascular diseases,” said Caughey. “We quantified neighborhood socioeconomic status deprivation with an established algorithm, which was based on data from the U.S. census. Our study population included more than 300,000 patients hospitalized with heart failure in the Get With The Guidelines® – Heart Failure registry. This is a national registry involving over 500 U.S. hospitals and was designed to improve the quality of care for patients hospitalized with heart failure.”

Collaborators in this project included Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., who serves on the steering committee for the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines program and as interim chief of UCLA’s Division of Cardiology and director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center; Amanda Coniglio, M.D., a Duke cardiology chief fellow; Michelle Kelsey, M.D., DCRI co-chief fellow; and Duke cardiology and DCRI faculty Adam DeVore, M.D., Marat Fudim, M.D., and Roland Matsouaka, M.D.

Researchers had access to the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines® – Heart Failure registry data and used the American Heart Association’s Precision Medicine Platform to conduct their analyses. The Precision Medicine Platform is an easy-to-use research interface that allows researchers to collaborate from anywhere in the world in a secure, cloud-based environment. With artificial intelligence and deep machine learning capabilities, the Precision Medicine Platform gives researchers the power and speed to bring their data together collaboratively and accelerate their findings into impactful discoveries for patients faster than ever before.

The research findings from all the winning studies are currently under consideration for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals and are not yet publicly available.

Read more about the data challenge here.