UNC Cardiology News

UNC Medical Center receives two Mission: Lifeline awards from American Heart Association

Both awards recognize the implementation of specific quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Media Contact: Tom Hughes, 984-974-1151,

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – June 14, 2018 – UNC Medical Center has received two major awards from the American Heart Association for treatment of patients with heart attacks: the Mission: Lifeline NSTEMI Gold Quality Achievement Award and the Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. These awards recognize the efforts UNC has made in implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks. UNC Medical Center has been recognized by the AHA as a top performer in heart attack care since the inception of the Mission: Lifeline awards ten years ago.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires emergency treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication. Non-ST elevation myocardial infarctions occur more frequently than STEMI and also carry a significant risk of death. UNC Hospitals earned the awards by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for the quick and appropriate treatment of NSTEMI heart attack patients by providing emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries when needed.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program’s goal is to improve the treatment of heart attacks, beginning with the 9-1-1 call, to EMS transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. The initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines.

 “UNC Hospitals is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said George (Rick) Andrew Stouffer III, MD, Chief of Cardiology. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in cardiac care through Mission: Lifeline.”

“We commend UNC Hospitals for this award in recognition for following evidence-based guidelines for timely heart attack treatment,” said Tim Henry, MD, Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “We applaud the significant institutional commitment to their critical role in the system of care for quickly and appropriately treating heart attack patients.”

About UNC Health Care

UNC Health Care is an integrated health care system comprised of UNC Hospitals and its provider network, UNC Faculty Physicians, UNC Physicians Network, the clinical patient care programs of the UNC School of Medicine, and ten other hospitals and hospital systems across the state: UNC REX Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, Johnston Health, Pardee Hospital, High Point Regional Health, Caldwell Memorial, Nash Health Care, Wayne Memorial, UNC Lenoir Health Care, and UNC Rockingham Health Care.

 

About Mission: Lifeline

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation clinical treatment guidelines.  For more information, visit heart.org.

 

Getting to the Heart of Congenital Cardiac Defects

UNC researchers led by Frank Conlon, PhD, shed light on how gene defects lead to congenital heart malformations.
Getting to the Heart of Congenital Cardiac Defects click to enlarge Frank Conlon, PhD

Media Contact: Tom Hughes, 984-974-1151,

June 12, 2018

Heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, and can be caused by mutations in the gene CHD4. Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have now revealed key molecular details of how CHD4 mutations lead to heart defects.

The team, in their study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, found that the CHD4 protein normally works in developing heart muscle cells to repress the production of muscle-filament proteins that are meant to operate in non-heart types of muscle cell. The failure of this repression leads to the development of abnormal, “hybrid” muscle cells that can’t pump blood as efficiently as normal heart cells.

“For patients with congenital heart defects linked to CHD4 mutations, this research helps explain why their hearts don’t work as well as normal, and suggests strategies for therapeutic intervention,” said study senior author Frank Conlon, PhD, a professor in the departments of biology and genetics at UNC and a member of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute.

The research was a collaborative effort involving the Conlon Laboratory, the laboratory of Ian Davis, MD, PhD, associate professor in UNC’s division of pediatric hematology-oncology, and the laboratory of Paul Wade, PhD at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The team, including first author Caralynn M. Wilczewski, a graduate student in the Conlon Laboratory, began by engineering mice whose developing embryos lack CHD4 just in their heart cells. The embryonic mice developed severe cardiac defects midway through gestation and none was born alive. These results confirmed the necessity for CHD4 in heart development.

CHD4, the protein encoded by the CHD4 gene, normally works as part of a multi-protein “machine” that helps regulate gene activity within the nuclei of cells. The researchers therefore conducted a set of experiments to measure and analyze the changes in developing heart-muscle cell gene activity when CHD4 is absent. They found that the CHD4 protein normally binds directly to DNA in a way that represses the activity of genes that encode non-heart muscle proteins. These proteins help make up the springy fibers (myofibrils) that contract and relax when muscles work.

The team determined that when the CHD4 protein is absent, these other, non-cardiac muscle proteins are inappropriately produced in developing heart muscle cells. They become incorporated into the myofibrils in these cells, forming abnormal, hybrid myofibrils that lack the functional properties of the normal heart.

Wilczewski developed an advanced ultrasound technique and used it to record the activity of the tiny hearts developing in mice—organs which in mid-gestation are only about as large as the period at the end of this sentence.

“We observed that the hearts lacking CHD4 and having these abnormal cardiac myofibrils had severely reduced ventricular contractions, indicating a loss of the ability to pump blood normally,” Wilczewski said.

“These findings indicate that normal cardiac development in mice depends on the repression of non-cardiac myofiber proteins in heart muscle cells, to allow the formation of normal cardiac myofibers capable of sustaining normal heart contractions,” Conlon said.

The findings provide the first clear insight into the mechanism of CHD4-related cardiac defects. They also suggest the possibility that restoring the normal repression of non-cardiac myofiber proteins could prevent heart defects in cases where CHD4 is mutated.

The researchers now plan to investigate the ways in which specific human CHD4 mutations lead to cardiac defects.

In addition, they plan to use the new ultrasound technology developed by Wilczewski in further research. “This technology has broad applications for testing models of congenital heart disease,” Conlon said.

Funding for the study was provided by the National Institutes of Health (R01 HL112618, R01 HL127640, 5T32 HL069768, 1F31 HL136100, ES101965).

Six UNC Health Care Hospitals Recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for High Quality Stroke Care

American Heart Association Award Recognizes UNC Health Care’s Commitment to Quality Stroke Care.
Six UNC Health Care Hospitals Recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for High Quality Stroke Care click to enlarge Five UNC Health Care hospitals received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s 2018 Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – June 6, 2018 – UNC Health Care is pleased to announce that five of its hospitals – Nash UNC Health Care, Pardee UNC Health Care, UNC Hospitals, UNC REX Healthcare and Wayne UNC Health Care –  have received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

In addition, a sixth UNC Health Care Hospital – UNC Lenoir Health Care – received the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award. These awards recognize the hospitals’ commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines founded on the latest scientific evidence. 

The six hospitals earned these awards by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“UNC Health Care is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the UNC Hospitals Stroke Center. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidence-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

In addition, five UNC Health Care hospitals received Target: Stroke Honor Roll Awards.

UNC Hospitals received the association’s highest recognition - Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

UNC REX Healthcare received the Target: Stroke Elite award, while Nash UNC Health Care, UNC Lenoir Health Care and Wayne UNC Health Care received the Target: Stroke award.

“We are pleased to recognize UNC Health Care’s six hospitals for their commitment to stroke care,” said Eric E. Smith, M.D., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of adult disability. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

 

About UNC Health Care

UNC Health Care is an integrated health care system comprised of UNC Hospitals and its provider network, UNC Faculty Physicians, UNC Physicians Network, the clinical patient care programs of the UNC School of Medicine, and ten other hospitals and hospital systems across the state: UNC REX Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, Johnston Health, Pardee Hospital, High Point Regional Health, Caldwell Memorial, Nash Health Care, Wayne Memorial, UNC Lenoir Health Care, and UNC Rockingham Health Care.

 

About Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke

Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org.

 

UNC research featured on cover of the Journal of Personalized Medicine

"Applicability of Precision Medicine Approaches to Managing Hypertension in Rural Populations," with Dr. Jonathan Schisler, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and McAllister Heart Institute, leading a multidisciplinary team, has been selected for the cover of the June issue of the Journal of Personalized Medicine.

Genetic Testing for Statin Therapy Not Cost-Effective

Research led by UNC School of Medicine MD/PhD student Jamie Jarmul, PhD, suggests physicians should defer to traditional 10-year risk score and existing statin guidelines in lieu of genetic tests.
Genetic Testing for Statin Therapy Not Cost-Effective click to enlarge Jamie Jarmul, PhD

Media Contact: Jamie Williams, jamie.williams@unchealth.unc.edu

May 30, 2018

Current United States Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines call for screening all Americans between the ages of 40 and 75 years to determine eligibility for statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering medications.  To screen patients, physicians calculate a 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk score for experiencing a heart attack or stroke, taking into account traditional risk factors such as age, smoking, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Under the USPSTF guidelines, individuals with high 10-year ASCVD risk score (10% or higher) are recommended to begin taking statins; however, the decision about whether or not to prescribe statins in individuals with scores in the intermediate range (5% to 10%) is less clear.

Recently, a genetic test – the cardiovascular genetic risk score – has become available, giving physicians another tool when considering which of their intermediate risk patients should be prescribed these drugs. The goal of this test is to better stratify those at highest risk for heart attack, but research has called the utility of this test into question.

Jamie Jarmul, PhD, led a study that found that using this genetic test is not a cost-effective means for deciding whether to initiate statin therapy. The study was published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Jarmul’s work coincides with other recent research – including from UNC’s Jonathan Berg, MD, PhD – questioning the utility of some genetic screenings.

“I think we are at a key point in the ongoing conversation about precision medicine and how to use these new technologies where we have to really consider how these tests apply directly to patient care,” Jarmul said.

Jarmul specifically looked at the cardiovascular genetic risk score, a test meant to predict a patient’s genetic predisposition for experiencing a heart attack. Some primary care physicians and cardiologists have begun ordering this test when the decision to initiate statins is unclear, such as for patients with an intermediate 10-year ASCVD risk score.  Jarmul’s research, however, shows that, for most people in the intermediate risk range, initiating statin therapy without any additional testing provides far more value than basing the decision on their genetic risk score.

Jarmul’s research goes on to show that how a patient feels about taking a statin every day, as well as the cost of the statin medication, are the most important determinants of overall cost-effectiveness of the new technology. 

“People who are at high risk should definitely be taking statins,” Jarmul says. “For people in the intermediate risk range, the current genetic test is generally not cost-effective and so I would suggest deferring to patients’ preferences for daily statin therapy if the decision to start statin therapy is unclear.”

Michael Pignone, MD, MPH, formerly of the UNC School of Medicine, currently of Dell Medical School, was the paper’s senior author. He was also a member of the USPSTF from 2013 to 2017 and helped write the 2016 guidelines on statin therapy referenced in this article.

UNC AFib Care Network Launches AFib Integrated Care Clinic

Network also launches AFib support group and a smartphone app to help people with AFib manage their condition
UNC AFib Care Network Launches AFib Integrated Care Clinic click to enlarge Check out the UNC AFib Care Network website at: www.unchealthcare.org/a-fib-care-network/
UNC AFib Care Network Launches AFib Integrated Care Clinic click to enlarge A screen shot from the UNC AFib Assistant app.

Media Contact: Tom Hughes, 984-974-1151,  

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – May 30, 2018 – The UNC AFib Care Network has launched a new clinic that coordinates all of the services needed by patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) in one convenient location.

The new AFib Integrated Care Clinic is now open and seeing patients at 300 Meadowmont Village Circle in Chapel Hill.

“Our new AFib Integrated Care Clinic fills a critical need for AFib patients by helping them build AFib self-management skills and prevent AFib progression by addressing associated comorbidities such as obesity, hypertension, sleep apnea and anxiety. Our goal in this clinic is to help patients learn to live a full life unburdened by AFib,” said Anil Gehi, MD, director of the UNC AFib Care Network.

In addition to the new clinic, the AFib Care Network has created an AFib Support Group that meets quarterly. The network has also launched a smartphone app to help patients with AFib manage their condition.

The smartphone app, which was developed in collaboration with Durham-based Pattern Health, is called “UNC AFib Assistant – powered by Pattern Health.”

"Our whole focus at Pattern Health is to help patients better adhere to their care plan while accelerating the pace of innovation in health care,” says Ed Barber, CEO of Pattern Health. “We are excited to be working with Dr. Gehi and the UNC Health Care team on their truly innovative approach to helping patients understand and better manage AFib. UNC Health Care and Dr. Gehi’s focus on empowering patients through proper education, a simplified approach for episode tracking, and behavior change will make it easier for people to take control of their AFib condition while reducing unnecessary burden on the health system.”

These developments were made possible, in part, by a three-year, $1.7 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to further innovate an AFib care model, launched by Gehi in 2015, that reduced hospitalizations for patients with AFib presenting in the emergency room by more than 30 percentage points in its first year.

For more information on AFib and the UNC AFib Integrated Care Clinic, visit the UNC Health Care website at: https://www.unchealthcare.org/a-fib-care-network/. Providers can make a referral to the UNC AFib Integrated Care Clinic in Meadowmont by calling 984-974-2900 (option #1).

The next AFib Patient Support Group will meet on Saturday, June 9. To RSVP, please call (984) 974-4743.
 
About UNC School of Medicine
The UNC School of Medicine (SOM) is the state’s largest medical school graduating approximately 180 new physicians each year. It is consistently ranked among the top medical schools in the US and is among the most well funded for its research efforts. More than half of the school’s 1,700 faculty members served as principal investigators on active research awards in 2016. Two UNC SOM faculty members have earned Nobel Prize awards.
 
About Pattern Health
Pattern Health works with leading healthcare systems, providers and research institutions to help them empower patients to improve adherence. Pattern Health’s HIPAA compliant platform enables clinicians and researchers to quickly develop and deploy comprehensive and interactive connected care programs that improve patient education, simplify biometric tracking, and utilize proven behavioral interventions to help people to better pattern their behavior to match their prescribed care plan. Over 85 healthcare sites nationwide and 16k monthly active users (MAU’s) are using Pattern to help people manage a diverse set of health conditions, including Hypertension, AFib, Glaucoma, HIV and many others.
 
About Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is committed to improving the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious diseases by strengthening healthcare worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and addressing unmet medical need. The Foundation engages partners to develop, execute, evaluate and promote innovative programs to help patients with lung cancer and removing barriers to accessing care in the United States, HIV and comorbid diseases such as cervical and breast cancers and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa, hepatitis B and C in China and India and veterans’ mental health and well-being in the U.S.

For more information about the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, please visit www.bms.com/foundation or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
 

UNC Nash Heart Center receives Gold Performance Achievement Award

UNC Nash Heart Center receives Gold Performance Achievement Award click to enlarge UNC Nash recieves Gold Performance Award

The Heart Center at UNC Nash Heath Care has received the ACTION Registry Gold Performance Achievement Award for 2018 from the American College of Cardiology, one of only 37 hospitals nationwide to do so.

The ACTION Registry Gold Performance Achievement Award recognizes UNC Nash Health Care’s commitment to and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients as outlined by American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations. UNC Nash is one of only 37 hospitals nationwide to win this award. The Nash Heart Center is a member of the American College of Cardiology’s ACTION Registry, a network of hospitals sharing process of care and outcomes data on heart attack patients with a goal of continuous quality improvement. To receive the award, Nash Health Care demonstrated sustained achievement in the ACTION Registry for eight consecutive quarters and has performed at the top level of standards for specific performance measures. UNC Nash received the Silver award last year.

Dr. Michael Yeung is the physician leader on the Nash team. Since opening in 2014, the Nash Heart Center has increased the scope of services available for patients in the Rocky Mount area. UNC faculty including Dr. Yeung as well as Drs. Ruihai Zhou, Carlos Espinoza, Zehra Husain, and Stephanie Martin, along with Drs. Sudhir Prasada and Roy Flood provide cardiac care and perform interventional procedures including stent placement and balloon angioplasty. In February 2018, the available services for Nash patients grew to include a dedicated Heart Valve Clinic where patients can be evaluated for complex valve disease for either minimally invasive percutaneous intervention or surgery. 

The ACTION Registry Gold Performance Achievement Award recognizes the quality of care and range of options available at the Nash Heart Center for patients experiencing heart attack in the Rocky Mount area.

Dr. Shivanshu Madan is TCT Featured Fellow

Dr. Shivanshu Madan is TCT Featured Fellow click to enlarge Dr. Shivanshu Madan

UNC Cardiology fellow Dr. Shivanshu Madan is a Featured Fellow in TCTMD, where he is interviewed and discusses his fellowship at UNC, his career goals, and his love of medicine:

Throughout my medical career, I have encountered very sick patients and I have observed my mentors in interventional cardiology be very intelligent caregivers, whether it came to their medical decision-making or their technical and procedural skills. The thing I really fell in love with was the amount of love and care that went into educating and counseling patients and family members—what the procedure is going to be like for them, what they are going to experience, and then what to do to avoid long-term problems. It's a very special thing that I'm sure is part of other fields of medicine, but I had a connection in this way with cardiology when I started out.

Read the full interview here.

New genomic research on cardiovascular health in rural North Carolina

Two genomic-based studies from Heart Healthy Lenoir were published in the last month. Heart Healthy Lenoir was a multidisciplinary research project that aimed to reduce cardiovascular disease in Lenoir County, North Carolina by developing new approaches to care, from prevention to treatment. The lead investigator of the Heart Healthy Lenoir genomics study is Jonathan Schisler, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and McAllister Heart Institute.
New genomic research on cardiovascular health in rural North Carolina click to enlarge Research find genetics can impact vegetable consumption
New genomic research on cardiovascular health in rural North Carolina click to enlarge Researchers study genes and hypertension treatment

Two genomic-based studies from Heart Heathy Lenoir were published in the last month. Heart Healthy Lenoir was a multidisciplinary research project that aimed to reduce cardiovascular disease in Lenoir County, North Carolina by developing new approaches to care, from prevention to treatment. Lenoir County is largely rural and is located in the “stroke belt,” a region of the Southeastern United States that has a rate of death from stroke significantly higher than the rest of the United States. The lead investigator of the Heart Healthy Lenoir genomics study is Dr. Jonathan Schisler, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and McAllister Heart Institute.

The first study brought together specialists in nutrition, public health, and genetics to look at how common genetic variation in our taste receptors for bitter taste (such as that found in leafy green vegetables) associates with changes in vegetable intake in a lifestyle intervention designed to promote heart health. Over half of Caucasians, and an even higher percentage of African Americans are sensitive to this bitter taste. The study participants that were non-bitter tasters increased their vegetable consumption more than the bitter tasters, though all participants in the enhanced lifestyle intervention arm increased their vegetable intake. This study may pave the way to dietary interventions that are personalized according to taste preferences. By using genetic taste receptor profiling, diets or lifestyle changes could be tailored based on genetic predisposition to taste to optimize adherence and heart health. For example, individuals who are sensitive to the bitter compounds in certain vegetables could receive tailored cooking recommendations that reduce the bitter taste in those vegetables. Lead author Dr. Larissa Calancie noted that “It is important for those designing dietary interventions to remember and acknowledge that taste preferences vary. That being said, our findings show that even those who perceive bitterness in certain vegetables can increase their vegetable intake in the context of an intervention.” More research is needed to understand how vegetable promotion strategies vary across the range of taste preferences and how genetic information could be used to help promote intervention approaches that resonate with individuals. Dr. Peter Kaufmann, Associate Dean of Research and Scholarship at the University of Colorado College of Nursing and former Deputy Chief of the Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch in the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institutes of Health and Senior Scientist in the Center for Translation and Implementation Science at NHLBI praised this study as “perhaps the first instance in which the design of a behavioral lifestyle intervention that improves health can take into account individual differences based on a genetic marker. Moreover, this finding illustrates that if precision medicine is to become a reality, research on behavioral phenotypes is as important as research on molecular biology.”

A second publication highlights how applicable precision medicine regarding hypertension is to rural populations, such as that in the Lenoir County region. Combining experts in health services research, primary care, epidemiology, public health, and genetics, researchers identified which blood pressure-related genetic variants, identified from large clinical studies, were applicable to the study population based in this region. They also identified genetic variants that associated with how well subjects responded to a multi-level intervention developed using community participatory methods to help improve blood pressure control among African American and Caucasians who have hypertension. Lead author Dr. Jacqueline R. Halladay comments “this is the kind of effort that Center funding mechanisms can support. In our case teams from 3 different R01 grants worked collaboratively for years to perform complementary practice based, community based and genetic studies. Analyses and results like these are possible when we combine our collective data, acumen, experiences and input from relevant community stakeholders.” Chief of the Division of Cardiology and Co-Director of McAllister Heart Institute Dr. Rick Stouffer commented that this study is notable because it “applies ‘precision medicine’ to a needy population and showed that genetic data can provide important information to clinicians on how patients will respond to blood pressure medications.”

2018 Carolina Care Excellence Awards for UNC Cardiology

Seven UNC Cardiology Providers are recipients of the 2018 UNC Health Care and UNC Faculty Physicians Award for Carolina Care Excellence. This award recognizes providers with the highest patient satisfaction: UNC Health Care surveyed patients, asking if they would recommend their provider's office to friends and family. Award recipients had 95% or more of the patients answer this question "yes, definitely." This year's award recipients are Megan Andrews, NP; Connie Fecik, NP; Dr. Jason Katz; Dr. Paula Miller; Dr. Joe Rossi; Jennifer Walker, NP; and Sarah Waters, NP.

New research in the Journal of the American Heart Association from multidisciplinary UNC research group

A multidisciplinary team from UNC’s Departments of Nutrition, Pharmacology, Pathology, and the McAllister Heart Institute have published new findings on genetics and metabolism in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
New research in the Journal of the American Heart Association from multidisciplinary UNC research group click to enlarge New research looks at the heart's fuel sources

A multidisciplinary team from UNC’s Departments of Nutrition, Pharmacology, Pathology, and the McAllister Heart Institute have published new findings on genetics and metabolism in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The paper, “Modeling the Transition from Decompensated to Pathological Hypertrophy,” is a collaboration by Florencia Pascual (Nutrition), Jonathan C. Schisler (Pharmacology, McAllister Heart Institute), Trisha J. Grevengoed (Nutrition), Monte S. Willis (Pathology, McAllister Heart Institute), and Rosalind A. Coleman (Nutrition).

The heart, as a whole, never stops working to maintain blood circulation. This is the primary reason our heart consumes a vast amount of fuel, more than any other organ by weight, to maintain life. The healthy adult heart relies primarily on circulating fatty acids to maintain its ability to contract. In certain conditions, however, the heart can shift to other energy sources, such as glucose, protein, or ketone bodies. Some of these conditions include normal, physiological situations, such as during development and in the neonatal stage of life. However, nearly all forms of cardiac disease and heart failure are associated with a shift away from fatty acids and an increased reliance on other fuel sources. It remains unknown if this shift in energy source preference is the cause or merely a consequence of heart disease.

The researchers used a mouse that was engineered to block fatty acids as a fuel source in the heart. The researchers then studied how gene expression and metabolism change in the heart before any pathological changes occur, resulting in improved understanding of the pathways that play an important role in this transition period.

By combining studies of gene expression and metabolites along with in vivo cardiac metabolism and function, this research describes for the first time an intermediate phase of cardiac metabolism whereby alternative uses of glucose are observed in the context of long-term inhibition of fatty acid activation.

UNC Aortic Team completes rare total arch aneurysm repair

Mark Farber, MD, and Thomas Caranasos, MD, successfully completed an endovascular total arch aneurysm repair, joining a handful of surgical teams around the world.
UNC Aortic Team completes rare total arch aneurysm repair click to enlarge Vascular interventional procedure room

Media Contact: Carleigh Gabryel, 919-864-0580, carleigh.gabryel@unchealth.unc.edu

April 12, 2018

CHAPEL HILL, NC - The Aortic Team, made up of surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and technologists from UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill, is one of the first in the country to successfully complete one of the most complex operative procedures involving the vascular system — an endovascular total arch aneurysm repair. This procedure has been accomplished only a handful of times around the world.

Mark Farber, MD, director of both UNC School of Medicine’s Vascular Surgery Fellowship and Aortic Program, and Thomas Caranasos, MD, director of Adult Cardiac Surgery at UNC, conducted a three vessel endovascular repair of a thoracic aortic arch aneurysm with a custom manufactured device. This was made possible through the physician-sponsored investigational device exemption (PS-IDE) study in conjunction with the FDA.

Traditionally, open surgical approach has been required to repair these types of aneurysms and is associated with significant risks given the need for sternotomy and hypothermic arrest. The combined mortality and stroke rate can be as high as 25 percent. The endovascular approach is much less invasive, with a mortality and stroke rate around four percent. It utilized two small incisions in the neck with access from the leg arteries to implant a graft device to the specific diseased locations.

The surgery happened Tuesday and took around three and a half hours. Typical recovery for open surgical repair involves a lengthy hospital stay. With this endovascular procedure patients may be discharged from the hospital within two to three days. The patient in this procedure—80-year-old Ralph Carlson from High Point, North Carolina—is recovering well and is scheduled to be discharged Friday.

“I want to thank the surgeons, nurses, and staff for all the great care I received,” said Carlson. “I am very thankful for Drs. Farber and Caranasos’ extraordinary talent.”

“Procedures of this type would not be possible without all the support from the institution and help of the entire team including the nurses, technicians, physicians, research staff and everyone else involved with the care of the patient,” said Farber.

UNC’s Aortic Program is a part of the heart and vascular care team, which offers procedures and techniques not available at many other hospitals in the nation and the world through the PS-IDE study led by Farber.

Dr. Sidney Smith addresses the obesity crisis in Cardiology Today

Dr. Sidney Smith is interviewed in a Cardiology Today feature on the impact of the rising obesity rate on cardiovascular disease. Smith is quoted: "We're seeing the problems with obesity, and it is absolutely critical that we as leaders and those who work with patients who have the morbidity and mortality that's brought on by obesity become involved in efforts to curtail obesity."

Read the full article with more interview material here.

March of Dimes Funding for McAllister research

Jimena Giudice, PhD, of the McAllister Heart Institute, has received a Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award from the March of Dimes Foundation. The mission of the March of Dimes Foundation is to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards support junior scientists embarking on their independent research careers. This award of $150,000 will provide Dr. Giudice and her lab team with funding for two years to study the role of alternative splicing regulation in the development of muscles after birth.

Genetic test may improve post-stent treatment, outcome

The study, based on results from patients treated at UNC Hospitals, found that using genetic testing to inform which blood thinner to use following a procedure to open narrowed blood vessels resulted in significantly fewer complications. George “Rick” Stouffer, III, MD, was a leader of the study.
Genetic test may improve post-stent treatment, outcome click to enlarge George “Rick” Stouffer, III, M.D., F.A.H.A., chief of cardiology and co-director of the McAllister Heart Institute at UNC.

The press release below was issued by the American Heart Association: 

DALLAS, April 3, 2018 – Using genetic testing to inform which blood thinner to use following a procedure to open narrowed blood vessels resulted in significantly fewer complications among patients, according to new research in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine, an American Heart Association journal.

In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, and stroke is the fifth-leading cause. A major contributor to these cardiovascular diseases is clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis), which result from the buildup of fatty deposits or plaque. 

Treatment for clogged blood vessels often includes angioplasty. In this procedure, the doctor inserts a small, medical balloon into the damaged blood vessels, and then inflates and removes it. Small tubes, or stents, also may be used to hold open the blood vessels. To prevent further damage from occurring, patients often take multiple blood thinners, such as clopidogrel and aspirin, after stent placement.

Previous research has shown that clopidogrel is less effective in patients with mutations on a specific gene, called CYP2C19, than in patients without the mutations. Whether genetic testing can help guide treatment in clinical practice, however, has remained unclear.

In this study, results showed that genetic testing for CYP2C19 mutations could be used to guide blood-thinner treatment after stent placement. Furthermore, patients with the mutations who received one of two clopidogrel alternatives compared to clopidogrel were more than three times less likely to die or have a heart attack, stroke or other major complications 12 months after treatment. Specifically, major complications occurred among 27 percent of clopidogel patients with the genetic mutations, compared to 8 percent of patients with the mutations who received the alternative medications.

These findings are similar to those of an earlier, multicenter study that found the risk of a major cardiovascular event more than doubled in patients with the genetic mutations who took clopidogrel.

“Using an algorithm based on genetic testing to guide treatment is sustainable and associated with better clinical outcomes in a real-world clinical practice, although it is difficult to consistently maintain,” said Craig R. Lee, Pharm.D., Ph.D., F.A.H.A., associate professor of pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “Clinicians need to be aware of the increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events associated with use of clopidogrel in patients receiving stents who carry either one or two copies of the mutation.”

Study participants included 1,193 patients at the University of North Carolina Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory who received stent placement between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2014. Their average age was 63 years and more than two-thirds were male. Most were white, 21 percent were black, and 1 percent was Asian. Patients identified as high risk, due to decreased blood flow to the heart, received the genetic testing. Follow up was 12 months.

The study has several limitations. For one, the investigators collected information after treatment, so they could not definitively say whether blood-thinner choice and the results of genetic testing caused better patient outcomes. Another limitation includes the use of a single hospital, which may not be applicable to different settings. 

“We are using CYP2C19 genetic testing on a daily basis at our institution to help decide in a timely manner which drug to prescribe,” said George “Rick” Stouffer, III, M.D., F.A.H.A., chief of cardiology and co-director of the McAllister Heart Institute at UNC. 

Co-authors are Vindhya B. Sriramoju, M.D.; Alexandra Cervantes, B.S.; Lucius A. Howell, M.D.; Nicholas Varunok, M.S.; Shivanshu Madan, M.D.; Kasey Hamrick, Pharm.D.; Melissa J. Polasek, Pharm.D.; John Andrew Lee, Pharm.D.; Megan Clarke, Pharm.D.; Jonathan D. Cicci, Pharm.D.; Karen E. Weck, M.D.; and George A. Stouffer, M.D. 

Dr. Ross Simpson quoted in US News & World Reports

A US News & World Reports article on the health effects of the great recession of 2008 quotes Dr. Ross Simpson on the importance of maintaining cardiovascular health when life is stressful. Dr. Simpson is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology in the Gillings School of Public Health. He is also the Director of UNC's Lipid and Prevention Clinic.

Dr. Patricia Chang with new research from the ARIC study

Dr. Patricia Chang has a new publication in Circulation: "Trends in Hospitalizations and Survival of Acute Decompensated Heart Failure in Four US Communities (2005-2014): The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study Community Surveillance." Dr. Chang is Director of UNC's Heart Failure and Transplant Program and has been a collaborator on the ARIC Study for several years.

Click here to access the paper.

Stouffer appointed Ernest and Hazel Craige Distinguished Professor

George (Rick) Stouffer, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology, has been awarded the Ernest and Hazel Craige Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the department of medicine.
Stouffer appointed Ernest and Hazel Craige Distinguished Professor click to enlarge Dr. George (Rick) Stouffer

The professorship honors Dr. Ernest Craige who was the first chief of the Division of Cardiology at the UNC School of Medicine and served from 1952 - 1978. As an enduring tribute, his wife Hazel, with the generous support of Chip McAllister, established the Ernest and Hazel Craige Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine.

“Building on Dr. Craige’s pioneering foundation, Dr. Stouffer is developing an outstanding clinical research program that strives to understand the causes for and treatment of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Ron Falk, chair of the department of medicine. “His compassion for patients and dedication to training new generations makes this appointment especially well deserved.”

Stouffer’s clinical interests include general cardiology as well as coronary and peripheral artery interventions. His basic science research is focused on the role of integrins in smooth muscle cell growth regulation. Clinical research interests include hemodynamics, valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease, renal artery stenosis, acute coronary syndromes and using genotyping to guide anti-platelet therapy.

Last year, Stouffer was appointed co-director of the McAllister Heart Institute--with Dr. Victoria Bautch Chair of the Department of Biology and Beverly Long Chapin Distinguished Professor-- to more closely link basic science and translational science with clinical cardiology to advance biological discoveries into clinical care. 

“I am honored to serve as the Ernest and Hazel Craige Distinguished Professor of Medicine, continuing the tradition of excellence in cardiovascular care at UNC that was started by Ernie Craige.”

Recent research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology-Cardiovascular Interventions and in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine demonstrates that using a simple genetic test leads to better outcomes in patients receiving intracoronary stents. Stouffer has also been the senior investigator on several studies looking at outcomes in patients who have heart attacks while hospitalized for a non-cardiac condition. These studies have been published in JAMA, Nature Reviews Cardiology, JAMA-Cardiology, and the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Stouffer received his medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1987. He completed his residency at the University of Virginia in 1990, followed by fellowships in cardiology and interventional cardiology. He joined the faculty at UNC in 2000 after spending 5 years at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Distinguished professorships recognize both exceptional achievement and the potential for future achievement. The awards would not be possible without the generosity of donors who invest in the mission of the UNC department of medicine and the patients it serves.

Social isolation as a health threat

Dr. Ross Simpson, Principal Investigator of SUDDEN, is quoted in an North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research article on the health impacts of loneliness.

Our research indicates that sudden, unexpected death is a tragically common occurrence, accounting for over 10 percent of all adult natural deaths. We have identified a number of common risk factors across populations, both rural and urban, but one of the most consistent themes is that of social isolation.

Read the article here.

Award for Liu Lab research

Nicole Fleming, a PhD candidate in Liu Lab, has received a Congenital Heart Defect Research Award from the American Heart Association and the Children's Heart Foundation for her work on defective ventricular growth in embryos. Her research aims to better understand pharmacological treatments that may improve heart function. Read more.

UNC Nash Heart Valve Clinic now open

UNC Nash Heart Valve Clinic now open click to enlarge Ribbon cutting at new Nash Heart Valve Clinic

The UNC Nash Heart Valve Clinic had its grand opening event on February 22, 2018. This clinic will bring new care options and convenience for patients with valvular heart disease to Rocky Mount. Local physicians, staff, and previously treated structural heart patients and their families were in attendance. Read about the opening ceremony in the Rocky Mount Telegram or learn more about UNC's structural heart team.

Team from UNC provide minimally invasive procedures in Nicaragua

Team from UNC provide minimally invasive procedures in Nicaragua click to enlarge Members of the UNC team in León

UNC faculty and staff headed to León, Nicaragua from January 27 to February 3, 2018, continuing their commitment to bring leading edge, minimally invasive cardiac treatments to that country. The UNC team is working in collaboration with Project Health for León, a cardiology medical mission started by Drs. John Paar and Jack Rose from Raleigh and East Carolina University more than 25 years ago that evaluates approximately 275-300 cardiology patients during each trip

UNC Cardiology faculty Drs. Michael Yeung, Alan Hinderliter, Zehra Husain, and retired faculty member Dr. David Tate were members of the medical mission, along with Drs. Elman Frantz and Rick Hobbs and Cecile Noel, PA, nurses Ashley Smith and Caroline Robinson, and cardiac sonographers Ron Wofford and Ruben Centeno.

This year, members of the UNC team expanded the range of procedures provided. Last year they focused on performing life-saving mitral valvuloplasties along with Dr. John Vavalle, Medical Director of the Structural Heart Disease Program at UNC. This trip, with the help of Dr. Elman Frantz, they expanded the breadth of treatments with three additional types of cardiac procedures: patent ductus arteriosus closure, atrial septal defect closure, and balloon valvuloplasty for pulmonic valve stenosis.

All of these are minimally invasive, percutaneous procedures that had never been performed in León; some had never been performed in Nicaragua. Prior to the UNC team's arrival, the only options available for the patients were surgery, which is only provided once a year through PHL when the surgeons are available to go to Nicaragua. These minimally invasive procedures allowed for more patients to be treated definitively and additionally they were able to leave the hospital the next day.

The Nicaraguan community enthusiastically welcomed the UNC team, who received substantial attention from the Nicaraguan national media, with six television and three newspaper interviews. The physicians had the opportunity to meet again their patients from last year, including a young woman whose mitral valvuloplasty had enabled her to return to nursing school, her way of paying forward for the care that she had received.

UNC's commitment to Leon was featured last year in Vital Signs.

Dr. Yeung expressed gratitude to the Division of Cardiology, especially Division Chief Dr. Rick Stouffer, and donors Rita and Eric Bigham for making the medical missions possible.

UNC Cardiology at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions 2018

The American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions are nearly here: March 10-12, Orlando, FL. Please click here to download an itinerary including posters and presentations by UNC Cardiology faculty and fellows.

Liu Lab receives $2 million grant for heart research

Jiandong Liu, PhD, assistant professor of pathology, member of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute, and director of the Zebrafish Aquaculture Core facility, has received a $2-million research grant from the NIH for his project "Molecular regulation of ventricular chamber maturation."
Liu Lab receives $2 million grant for heart research click to enlarge Fluorescent protein-labeled zebrafish ventricle from Liu Lab

Jiandong Liu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology, member of the McAllister Heart Institute, and director of the Zebrafish Aquaculture Core facility, has received a $2 million research grant from the NIH for his project "Molecular regulation of ventricular chamber maturation." This research aims to understand how ventricular heart defects can arise by examining the mechanical and biochemical interactions that occur during embryonic heart development in a zebrafish model. Zebrafish offer unique opportunities for research as 70% of human genes have functional homologs in zebrafish, and the embryos develop externally and are transparent, offering ready visualization of their development.

In September 2017, he received one year of funding from the NIH for a related project. The new funding demonstrates the NIH's continuing commitment to supporting Dr. Liu's research.

Bautch Receives Outstanding Investigator Award

Victoria Bautch, PhD, was recently awarded $6.5 million from the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. The award will enable the Bautch Lab to study the molecular and cellular control of angiogenesis, a naturally occurring process responsible for the formation and growth of blood vessels.
Bautch Receives Outstanding Investigator Award click to enlarge Victoria Bautch, PhD

“Angiogenesis is controlled by chemical signals which play an important role in healing and the survival of vascular networks, carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body,” said Victoria Bautch, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Chair of Biology and Co-Director of UNC McAllister Heart Institute. “However, changes in metabolic activity can lead to consistent changes in angiogenesis, and to vessel blockage, which can become a mechanism for the spread of disease. Learning how the body controls angiogenesis can help us treat heart disease.”

The Role of Blood Vessels

The heart needs oxygen and nutrients from coronary blood vessels, and these vessels are most often blocked during a heart attack. Some people may experience less damage with the same blockage because they have alternate routes known as collateral vessels, that bypass the blockage to the muscle layers. These alternate vessels are likely formed via angiogenesis. 

Abnormal blood vessel growth is also believed to have a critical role in diseases like the spread of cancer, stimulating normal cells to produce angiogenic signaling molecules that feed growing tumors. This can allow cancer cells to invade nearby tissue, and to metastasize by moving throughout the body.

Potential for Therapeutic Value

The Outstanding Investigator Award will allow the Bautch Lab to open new directions in understanding how blood vessels form during development and function in organ tissue such as the heart. Knowing how they are controlled will have vast implications for both preventing and managing disease. 

“Stimulation of angiogenesis has the potential to be therapeutic in heart disease because angiogenic signals are believed to form new coronary vessels, which can augment collateral vessels after a heart attack,” said Bautch.

Bautch is a member of the Integrative Program for Biological and Genome Sciences (iBGS) and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Research in Bautch’s lab supported by this grant will further the mission of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute.

Conlon Lab research in Cell Reports

Cell Reports publishes "Initiating Events in Direct Cardiomyocyte Reprogramming," new research from Frank Conlon, PhD, in collaboration with the labs of McAllister's Li Qian, PhD, and Ileana Cristea, PhD of Princeton. Access the paper or read an overview of the new research.

Integrated Care of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Symposium, Hosted by UNC School of Medicine

Continuing Professional Education March 10th

Media contact: Phil Bridges, 984-974-1152,

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – February 12, 2018 – The UNC School of Medicine will host a continuing professional education (CPE) symposium on March 10, 2018 in Chapel Hill to educate medical professionals on the streamlining of care for patients with Atrial fibrillation or Afib.

This symposium will provide education to primary care providers and cardiologists on the importance of an integrated model of care for Afib and strategies for implementing such an approach. It will be presented as a satellite symposium in connection with the 42nd Annual Internal Medicine Conference (March 7-9). 

Integrated Care of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation” will take place at Chapel Hill’s Friday Center from 7:00 a.m. – 12:15 pm.

Highlights of the program will include:

  • Patient perspective: My life with Atrial Fibrillation - Marcia Van Riper, RN, PhD
  • Integrated care of Atrial Fibrillation: What is it and how do we get there? Anil Gehi, MD
  • Importance of shared decision-making in discussions about anticoagulation and stroke prophylaxis - Zack Deyo, PharmD
  • Addressing obesity/physical inactivity - Sriram Machineni, MD
  • Identification and management of obstructive sleep apnea in patients with Afib - Adnan Pervez, MD
  • Coordination of care: benefits of a multidisciplinary model -  Jennifer Walker, NP
  • Building an AF care network – reaching the vulnerable patients. Heather Tuttle, RN/Tiffany Armbruster, NP
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation/UNC collaboration - Patricia Doykos, PhD
  • Panel Discussion
  • Small Group Session: How to set up your own AF clinic

REGISTRATION:  Interested medical professionals can register for the symposium at https://www.charlotteahec.org/continuing-professional-development/event.cfm?eventid=54236

This Activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Carolinas HealthCare System/Charlotte AHEC and UNC School of Medicine. The Carolinas HealthCare System/Charlotte AHEC is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Carolinas HealthCare System / Charlotte AHEC designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Grant

A three-year $1.7 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is helping to fund this program, with a goal to improve health outcomes for underserved and vulnerable populations. The Foundation grant will help UNC School of Medicine Cardiologist Anil Gehi, MD further innovate and scale a care model, piloted in 2015, that reduced hospitalizations for patients with atrial fibrillation presenting in the emergency room by more than 30 percentage points in its first year.

Atrial fibrillation affects more than 2.7 million Americans.  It is characterized by an irregular heartbeat and is associated with an increased risk for blood clots, stroke, heart failure and multiple other heart complications. It is best managed through treatment as a "chronic disease" with episodic symptoms which can be successfully managed through a coordinated multidisciplinary model.

Dr. Gehi originally established the Afib protocol at the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill through a pilot grant from the UNC Center for Health Innovation

 Afib Transition Clinics vs Hospitalization

“We’re trying to address the problem of poor access by setting up a new pathway for care for patients who have the most challenging and urgent medical needs, primarily those who are coming into the emergency room,” Gehi said. “We have set up a new pathway here at UNC Medical Center by developing a new protocol for the emergency room so that ER physicians can triage Afib patients. Those patients who aren’t particularly high risk for poor outcomes might be discharged from the ER and sent to an Afib transition clinic.”

For more information on Afib, visit the UNC Health Care website at: https://www.unchealthcare.org/a-fib-transitions-of-care-network/.

About UNC School of Medicine

The UNC School of Medicine (SOM) is the state’s largest medical school graduating approximately 180 new physicians each year. It is consistently ranked among the top medical schools in the US and is among the most well funded for its research efforts.  More than half of the school’s 1,700 faculty members served as principal investigators on active research awards in 2016. Two UNC SOM faculty members have earned Nobel Prize awards.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is committed to promoting health equity and improving the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious diseases by strengthening healthcare worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and addressing unmet medical need. The Foundation engages partners to develop, execute, evaluate and sustain innovative models of care, treatment and support focused on cancer and cardiovascular disease in the United States, pediatric cancer and cancers in areas of high HIV prevalence in Africa, hepatitis B and C in China and India, and veterans’ mental health and well-being in the U.S.

For more information about the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, please visit www.bms.com/foundation or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

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Dr. Matt Cavender at Medicine Grand Rounds: Coronary Artery Disease in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus

Dr. Matt Cavender was the February 8, 2018 speaker at Medicine Grand Rounds. His talk, "Coronary Artery Disease in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus," addressed the link between diabetes and heart disease, strategies to reduce cardiovascular risk in this population, and insights from observational data on the effectiveness of therapies. Please watch a video here.

NIH funding for multidisciplinary McAllister group

A multidisciplinary research group from McAllister Heart Institute was awarded a competitive renewal of their R01 from the NHLBI to further develop Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse ultrasound for noninvasively characterizing the structure and composition of carotid atherosclerotic plaque for assessing stroke risk. The research team spans several investigators and departments within McAllister Heart Institute: Caterina Gallippi (PI, Biomedical Engineering), Melissa Caughey (Co-I, Cardiology), Mark Farber (Co-I, Vascular Surgery), Ben Huang (Co-I, Neuroradiology), David Huang (Co-I, Neurology), and Jon Homeister (Co-I, Pathology). The title of the project is Transcutaneous ARFI Ultrasound for Differentiating Carotid Plaque with High Stroke Risk.

Dr. Sidney Smith recognized for high profile research

Dr. Sidney Smith is on the annual Thomson Reuters list of Highly Cited Researchers, which recognizes the top 1 percent of researchers in their field.