UNC Cardiology News

Dr. Matt Cavender at 2017 ADA Presidents' Session

Dr. Matt Cavender at 2017 ADA Presidents' Session click to enlarge Dr. Cavender with 2017 ADA Presidents

Dr. Matt Cavender was chosen to give a talk at the Presidents' Session of the 2017 American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions. His talk, entitled Hospitalization for Heart Failure and Death in New Users of SGLT-2 Inhibitors in Patients With and Without Cardiovascular Disease, presented findings from the CVD-REAL study, a large, multinational study examining the effectiveness of sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor treatment in reducing cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes. SGLT-2 inhibitors are a newer generation of glucose lowering drugs that may provide a useful alternative option for diabetic patients; Dr. Cavender has previously published research as part of the CVD-REAL study indicating that use of SGLT-2 inhibitors was associated with lower mortality and with lower risk of hospitalization for heart failure.

Dr. Jason Katz is Physician of the Year for Anesthesiology Residents

The graduating class of anesthesiology residents elected Dr. Jason Katz Physician of the Year; the award was conferred at Anesthesiology Grand Rounds on June 21, 2017.  In addition to being an inspiring educator, Dr. Katz is Director of Cardiovascular Clinical Trials and Medical Director of UNC's Mechanical Heart Program, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, and Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit and Critical Care Service.

Multiple awards for Nash Heart Center

The Nash Heart Center team received three awards for quality and performance:

  • The 2017 Action Registry Silver Performance Achievement award from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry for demonstrating sustained achievement of performance measures in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction patients through the implementation of American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Clinical Guideline Recommendations.
  • The Mission: Lifeline® NSTEMI Silver Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for its continued success in using the Mission: Lifeline® NSTEMI program.
  • The Mission: Lifeline® STEMI Receiving Center Silver Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for its continued success in using the Mission: Lifeline® STEMI program.

Dr. Michael Yeung and Dr. Xuming Dai are the physician leaders on the Nash team. The other Nash Heart Center providers are Drs. Zehra Husain, Ruihai Zhou, Roy Flood MD, and Stephanie Martin. The Heart Center Service Team consists of representatives from Nash EMS, ED, Cath Lab, Critical Care, Cardiopulmonary Support Unit, Cardiac Observation Unit, Pharmacy, Lab, & Cardiac Rehab. The team is led by Tera Joyner, AMI/Chest Pain Program Coordinator. Sarah Heenan, Executive Director of the Nash Heart Center is the management facilitator and Michelle Cosimeno, Associate CNO is the senior leadership sponsor. Meredith Hayes is Cardiovascular Services Quality Coordinator.

Statement from the Nash Heart Center team:
Our hospital receives patients from five different county EMS agencies and the Primary PCI program here definitely serves a need in Nash county and the surrounding area. Our EMS agencies, ED physicians and staff, cardiologists, & cath lab staff work efficiently to provide the highest level of timely expert care for our cardiac patients. We work to ensure that every patient is followed through the continuum of care after discharge into follow-up with cardiac rehab and cardiology clinic follow-up. It is a great honor for our team to receive this recognition in the first year of our program.

AHA research funding for Dr. Brian Jensen

AHA research funding for Dr. Brian Jensen click to enlarge Dr. Brian Jensen

Dr. Brian Jensen has been awarded a Grant-in-Aid from the American Heart Association for his proposal “Metabolic mechanisms of cardioprotection through alpha-1A adrenergic receptor activation.”  This grant will fund an expansion of previously published work indicating that the oral alpha-1A agonist dabuzalgron could be repurposed as a novel heart failure therapy. Preliminary data for this project were generated with the support of an NC TraCS $50K award.

McAllister news

News about our colleagues at McAllister Heart Institute:

Renal Denervation Clinical Trial at UNC

A new video features interviews with Dr. Rick Stouffer and Dr. Alan Hinderliter and provides an overview of the RADIANCE-HTN clinical trial, which is investigating renal denervation for treatment of hypertension.  Learn more about clinical trials at UNC Cardiology. 

New Leadership for McAllister Heart Institute Announced

Ronald Falk, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine, has announced new leadership that will build on the successes of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute.
New Leadership for McAllister Heart Institute Announced click to enlarge Dr. Vicki Bautch and Dr. Rick Stouffer

By Kim Morris, Department of Medicine

Dr. Rick Stouffer and Dr. Victoria Bautch have been appointed Co-directors of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute and will guide the future of UNC’s cardiovascular research. Dr. Bautch is Beverly Long Chapin Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology. Dr. Rick Stouffer is Henry A. Foscue Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology.

“The team reflects Dr. Chip McAllister’s mission for cardiovascular research, linking basic science with translational science to allow us to more effectively advance biological discoveries into clinical care, to help patients now and in the future,” said Dr. Falk.

“We are fortunate to have Vicki and Rick assume these roles,” said Dr. McAllister. “They’re the perfect combination to carry out the vision and mission of the Institute, from bench to bedside. The clinician has the bedside view, the researcher has the tools to understand the mechanisms of molecular cardiology.”

Established in 2009 through a generous endowment from Hugh A. “Chip” McAllister, Jr., MD, (’66), MHI is already home to many talented investigators who study cardiovascular disease. Under the inspiring leadership of Nigel Mackman PhD, MHI has become a center of excellence in cardiovascular biology and thrombosis.

Dr. McAllister founded the Institute following a career dedicated to cardiovascular disease research and treatment. He is one of the world’s leading cardiovascular pathologists and has studied more diseased aortic valves than anyone in the world. He emphasized that treating advanced life-threatening heart disease was not enough.

“We treat patients with intracoronary stents and artificial hearts, but we must better understand cardiovascular disease in order to prevent it. We have to look at the causes and collaborate with other specialties.”

The new team aims to strengthen the existing continuum of cardiovascular research by building bridges that invite subspecialty communities to work together to better understand cardiovascular disease. Dr. Bautch describes the MHI as the catalyst for understanding the mysteries of cardiovascular health and disease. Both she and Dr. Stouffer recognize opportunities to expand MHI to include new areas such as biomedical engineering, clinical research and public health. “Research advancements at MHI will improve clinical care through the development of new diagnostic tools and cardiovascular therapies,” said Dr. Stouffer.

FIRE funding for oral history collaboration

Dr. Ross Simpson, along with his collaborator in UNC's Department of History, Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, was awarded a Fostering Interdisciplinary Research Explorations (FIRE) grant by UNC's Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. FIRE grants are intended to foster innovative new interdisciplinary research collaborations. Only three projects were funded out of a strongly competitive field. The funded project is entitled Stories to Save Lives: Using Oral History to Understand the Social Context for Sudden Death and will combine the expertise of UNC's Southern Oral History Program, of which Dr. Lowery is Director; the SUDDEN project, of which Dr. Simpson is a leading investigator; and UNC's Odum Institute. This project will investigate oral history as a method to better understand the habits and beliefs of persons at risk for sudden unexpected death. 

UNC’s valve program at Grand Rounds

Drs. John Vavalle (Cardiology) and Thomas Caranasos (Surgery), leaders of UNC's Valve Clinic, presented at UNC Department of Medicine Grand Rounds. The presentation, "Leading the Charge: A New Era in the Treatment of Valvular Heart Disease," goes over new options for both aortic and mitral valve disease and provides an update on UNC's valve program.  Watch the video from the Department of Medicine. 

“Do it right, do it quickly, and do it with a good attitude"

Dr. Matt Cavender is a UNC Department of Medicine featured physician. Read the Q&A about the fast-paced field of Cardiology, patient-centered care at UNC, and baseball. 

Global Partnership Award for Dr. Ross Simpson

Dr. Ross Simpson is a winner of a 2016-7 UNC Global Partnership Award. He received this travel funding award for a trip to New Zealand to discuss and further ongoing collaborative research into sudden unexpected death with researchers at the National Institute for Health Innovation and the Department of Medicine at the University of Auckland. In addition, he conducted several seminars at the University Of Auckland School Of Population Health and the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Simpson also received a Distinguished Visitor Award from the University of Auckland for this trip.

UNC Structural Heart Program holds patient reunion

In March, the UNC Structural Heart Program hosted a group of grateful patients and their families for its first ever patient reunion.

Patients and families gathered with program physicians and staff at the Friday Center for a festive day of celebration. There was food, fun, and even dancing.

Many of the family members gave testimonials on their positive experiences, sharing stories of all they have been able to experience following their procedures. There were tales of vacations, time with family, and resuming those activities that the patients had gotten too weak to do before their surgery.

"Today I'm in good health. I'm working, I'm living my life like nothing ever happened," said former patient Sue Long.

Proudly wearing a UNC t-shirt, Dennis Elks said he came to Chapel Hill requiring the use of an oxygen tank, after a valve replacement, he no longer needs the oxygen tank and is again able to be active.

"I'm out in my yard, I'm able to walk my dog, mow the grass, do the things that I want to do," Elks said.

Victor Lucas of Chapel Hill said before his TAVR procedure he thought his days of playing music and attending festivals were over. He could no longer manage the walking and stamina required.

"Now, I know I will have several more years being out, joining my friends across the country playing music," Lucas said.

"Treat your patients as you would want your family or yourself to be treated"

"Treat your patients as you would want your family or yourself to be treated" click to enlarge Dr. Paula Miller

Dr. Paula Miller is a UNC Department of Medicine featured physician this month. Read the Q&A about Dr. Miller's career and care philosophy, among other topics. 

Mending Hearts in Nicaragua

In February, three UNC interventional cardiologists and a team of dedicated health care professionals travelled to Nicaragua to perform a life-saving, minimally invasive procedure on as many patients as they could, and to bring the best in cardiac care to a country without heart surgeons.
Mending Hearts in Nicaragua click to enlarge John Vavalle, MD, MPH (left), and Michael Yeung, MD (center), watch Lucius Howell, MD, perform a procedure on a patient.
Mending Hearts in Nicaragua click to enlarge Transporting all the equipment they would need was one of the challenges faced by the team.

For many Nicaraguans, a diagnosis of a heart condition such as mitral valve stenosis – a debilitating complication that can be the end result of untreated strep throat – is grim news that offers little in the way of hope.

 “If patients have the money, they can travel to another country to receive care, said Michael Yeung, MD, a UNC interventional cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. “If they don’t have the money, they die.”

To help bridge this enormous gap, Yeung, along with a group of UNC experts including John Vavalle, MD, MPH, Alan Hinderliter, MD, Lucius Howell, MD, Joshua Vega, MD, Roman Baczara, RN, and Charlene Marie Whayne, RN, travelled to Leon, Nicaragua, as part of medical mission called Project Health Leon, aimed at bringing life-saving, high-level medical expertise to a country with no heart surgeons and not enough cardiologists to meet the developing nation’s medical needs.

“Medicine is a calling and a passion for us,” said Vavalle, associate professor of medicine in the division of cardiology and medical director of the UNC Structural Heart Disease Program. “It’s very gratifying to be able to use our knowledge and skills to help those who are suffering and who would not otherwise have access to the kind of care we provide.”

Project Health for Leon was originally started by physicians from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. In recent years, their medical missions have grown to include cardiologists and heart surgeons from across the state. In 2015, Yeung and Howell joined the mission, offering minimally invasive structural interventions for problems such as damaged heart valves, which can’t be treated with medication.

A Vital Procedure

For their trip this year, Yeung, Howell and Vavalle’s goal was to perform percutaneous mitral valvuloplasties on as many patients as they could in two weeks. This is a minimally invasive procedure in which a balloon is inserted into a mitral valve damaged by disease to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.

In Nicaragua, this technique is uncommonly valuable to patients suffering from mitral valve stenosis.

In the US, strep throat is a common, if unpleasant, ailment that normally clears up after a course of antibiotics. But if left untreated, strep throat can lead to a much more serious infection called rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disease that attacks the joints, skin and heart, and can cause permanent damage to these tissues.

In some cases, the damage caused by rheumatic fever is so severe that it leads to mitral valve stenosis, a devastating heart condition in which a narrowing of the mitral valve restricts blood flow to the left side of the heart. This narrowing reduces the volume of oxygen-rich blood from the lungs, leading to fatigue and shortness of breath.

 “There are antibiotics to treat strep throat available in the country but there isn’t a network of care that’s able to deliver medication and other care when and where it’s needed,” said Howell, a cardiology fellow at the School of Medicine. “Part of Project Health for Leon is devoted to preventing these gaps in care by using every approach we have available in this country, from prophylaxis to surgery. The end goal is to eradicate rheumatic heart disease and the complications that come from it.”

The symptoms of mitral valve stenosis can be devastating, and they are all more tragic because it is a condition that is, by the standards of medicine in the developed world, preventable. This is why, Yeung said, the skills that he and his colleagues are able to bring to Nicaragua are so valuable.

“Only a few people are able to perform mitral valvuloplasties in North Carolina,” said Yeung. “The patients are happy because this minimally invasive procedure solves their problem, and they can go home the same day. “

An OR in a Hockey Bag

Planning the trip took Howell and his colleagues more than a year. They needed to get permissions from the School of Medicine here in Chapel Hill, the University in Leon, the airline and the Nicaraguan government.

“We had to create a manifest of everything we were planning on taking,” recalled Howell, “right down to the pens and the hairnets.”

They also had to plan for every contingency that they might encounter.

“We had to prepare for the fact that we wouldn’t have any surgical back up for this,” said Howell. “Something that might not be life-threatening in an American operating room could be incredibly dangerous in Leon, so we had to be sure there was a way to fix it if something went wrong, like an accumulation of fluid around the heart or someone needing a pacemaker.”

Past surgical groups that have travelled to Nicaragua as part of the medical mission have shipped containers of equipment by boat but that can take weeks or sometimes months. The other option was for the trio to carry what they needed with them on their backs.

“We packed our equipment into hockey-sized duffel bags and checked them with the airline,” said Howell.  “This is a global health issue, but we were working to improve medical conditions in this country that is, in fact, very close. We had breakfast in Miami and by lunchtime we were in Leon.”

Once they were in country, it was time to get down to work. Howell said that as a fellow, the experience was incredibly enriching.

“Not only was I able to see patients with a disease that, in this country, you rarely see in such an advanced state, but because of the limitations of bringing such a small group, it gave me a chance to really step into a lot of different roles. One minute you’re a surgeon, the next you’re a medical Spanish liaison, and the next you’re a diplomat. It was a very invigorating experience.”

 Leap of Faith

More than just an educational opportunity, this procedure is able to transform the lives of people suffering from mitral valve stenosis.

Vavalle recalls one patient in particular who years earlier was forced to quit nursing school because of debilitating symptoms. She was the first Nicaraguan patient the group performed the procedure on.

“The moment we had completed her procedure and wheeled her back into the recovery room, everyone was in tears – the patient, her husband, us,” Vavalle said. “Because we had just accomplished something that we weren’t certain we could do.

“There were a lot of unknowns when we went wheels up at RDU – customs, the state of the operating room, the availability of imaging equipment. And many of these patients had to travel a long way to get to the clinic, so we weren’t sure they’d be able to get there on time. We went to great lengths to ensure success but it was a leap of faith.”

After her procedure, the patient asked Dr. Yeung how she could thank them. He told her that the best way was for her to return to nursing school so she can help others in her country.

“It was an amazing moment,” recalls Vavalle. “And it was exactly the kind of moment  we went to Leon for.”

by , UNC Health Care

Cavender part of new diabetes drug study to combat cardiovascular disease

Diabetes is known as the strongest risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The connection is one that Matthew Cavender, MD, MPH, has closely considered, especially when it comes to a relatively new drug class for diabetes.
Cavender part of new diabetes drug study to combat cardiovascular disease click to enlarge Dr. Matthew Cavender at UNC Medical Center's Catheterization Lab

By Kim Morris, Department of Medicine

Diabetes is known as the strongest risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The connection is one that Department of Medicine Cardiologist Matthew Cavender, MD, MPH has closely considered, especially when it comes to a relatively new drug class for diabetes.

“My research is focused on the interaction between coronary artery disease and diabetes,” said Cavender. “Diabetes has long been a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, with conditions that contribute to a 50% higher risk. We’ve known this for a long time but until recently we haven’t had medications designed for diabetes that appeared to reduce cardiovascular events.”

Cavender, who joined Medicine less than one year ago, has been recognized by Cardiology Today as one of Cardiology’s next generation of innovators in part for his contributions to a worldwide study that investigated SGLT2-inhibitors. The study, known as CVD-REAL, was presented at the recent American College of Cardiology meeting in Washington DC. In the CVD-REAL study, outcomes from 300,000 patients across the US, UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany were examined.

“We have known that cardiovascular specific therapies can improve outcomes in patients with diabetes. In this study, we considered drugs primarily geared toward treating diabetes that could be effective in reducing cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes.”

Cavender was one of two cardiologists in the investigation sponsored by AstraZeneca that looked at three SGLT2-inhibitors: empagliflozin, canagliflozin and dapagliflozin. The study considered the association between these medications and hospitalization for heart failure and mortality, compared to medicines such as DPP-4 inhibitors, metformin and insulin, commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes.

“We found that the results in each country, regardless of which compound predominates, had lower rates of hospitalization for heart failure and had lower rates of cardiovascular death when treated with a SGLT2-inhibitor. In fact, SGLT2-inhibitors reduced the rate of hospital admission for heart failure or death from heart failure by almost 50%.

Identifying a class of medications that show reductions in cardiovascular events is a significant finding for patients with diabetes. That’s because heart disease is the primary cause of death in people with diabetes, not necessarily complications with their diabetes. Although more trials are underway, Cavender believes SGLT2-inhibitors will become one of the preferred treatment for patients with diabetes, especially those who are at high risk for cardiovascular events. The results also demonstrate the strength of intra professional medicine teams.

Dr. Matt Cavender is a Next Gen Innovator

Cardiology Today has selected Dr. Matt Cavender as one of its Next Gen Innovators, "a bright group of early career cardiologists identified as innovators in the field."  Dr. Cavender joined UNC's inverventional cardiology team in 2016,  and since then has been a valued faculty member, performing procedures, seeing patients in clinic, and pursuing an active research program. 

UNC Division of Cardiology Shines at ACC.17

More than 18,000 people, mostly cardiovascular health professionals, converged on Washington, D.C. for the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Showcase – ACC.17 – during which UNC researchers gave 36 presentations.

More than 18,000 people, mostly cardiovascular health professionals, converged on Washington, D.C. for the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Showcase – ACC.17 – during which UNC researchers gave 36 presentations.

“UNC had an impressive and palpable presence at this conference, which is the most important annual cardiology meeting in the world,” said John Vavalle, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology, who was involved in several presentations, including one on transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. Read more about UNC’s TAVR program here.

Also at ACC.17, Sidney Smith, MD, was honored with the Master of ACC Award.

For more information on ACC.17, check their website.

UNC heart transplant faculty at ISHLT 2017

UNC heart transplant faculty at ISHLT 2017 click to enlarge Dr. Jason Katz presenting at ISHLT 2017

UNC faculty with research featured at this year's International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation Scientific Sessions included Drs. Patricia Chang, Brian Jensen, Jason Katz, and Lisa Rose-Jones from Cardiology and Drs. Thomas Egan and Jennifer Nelson in Surgery.

Dr. Jason Katz presented research from PREVENT (PREVENtion of HeartMate II Pump Thrombosis), a multicenter study evaluating clinical management standards aimed at reducing clotting risk in patients receiving a HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist Device. His presentation, Impact of Adherence to Standard Practice Guidelines for Patients Receiving a Left Ventricular Assist Device - Insights from the PREVENT Study, examined the relationship of care practices throughout the multicenter study with clinical outcomes. Patients whose care most closely matched current best practice guidelines were found to have improved survival and reduced risk of complications such as bleeding and thrombotic events. Dr. Katz is the Medical Director of UNC's Mechanical Heart Program, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, and Cardiothoracic intensive Care Unit and Critical Care Service, and Director of Cardiovascular Clinical Trials.

Also at ISHLT 2017, Internal Medicine resident Amanda Clark presented research she worked on with Dr. Patricia Chang and other Cardiology faculty and providers evaluating the impact of socioeconomic factors on heart transplant outcomes.

Learn more about heart transplant and LVAD options at UNC Health Care.

UNC Cardiology providers honored for exceptional patient satisfaction

UNC Heath Care honored five UNC Cardiology faculty with the 2017 UNC Health Care and UNC Faculty Physicians Award for Carolina Care Excellence:
Dr. Charles H. Hicks
Dr. Paula F. Miller
Dr. Paul Mounsey
Dr. Ross J. Simpson, Jr.
Dr. Rick Stouffer

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."

Also receiving this award were two providers who work closely with our Cardiology faculty: Julie Lewis, ANPMegan Andrews, NP  Zack Deyo, PharmD, Adjunct Assistant Professor, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Innovation Pilot Award for Dr. Larry Klein

UNC Cardiology faculty member Dr. Larry Klein is one of the lead investigators on a project awarded an Innovation Pilot Award by the Center for Health Innovation at UNC's School of Medicine.

This award is intended to fund innovative research and is highly competitive, with four winners out of 30 applications in this year's round.

The award winning project is a collaboration with Dr. Spencer Dorn in UNC's Division of Gastroenterology. Drs. Dorn and Klein will be developing a predictive model and a web application that will aim to optimize how patients are scheduled and prepared for gastrointestinal procedures.

Learn more about this project and the award.

UNC introduces bioresorbable stent technology

UNC introduces bioresorbable stent technology click to enlarge Image of the Absorb GT1 bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS) in an artery.

UNC's C.V. Richardson Cardiac Catheterization Lab placed its first two bioresorbable stents on March 14, 2017, introducing a new treatment option for patients in addition to traditional metal stents.  Dr. Joseph Rossi and Dr. Xuming Dai were the performing physicians.

Metal stent placement has been widely used to treat obstructive coronary heart disease; however, metal stenting can lead to potential complications that continue to challenge the medical field, such as in-stent restenosis (a re-narrowing of the artery). Bioresorbable stent technology may provide a promising path forward. According to Dr. Dai, "It would be perfect if a stent could be easily put in, keep the newly opened artery expanded until healed, and disappear without leaving any residual materials."

The stents used were Abbot Vascular's Absorb GT1, which represents the first generation of bioresorbable stent technology. It was approved by the FDA in July 2016. This stent features a matrix of poly-L-lactide, the same polymer used in dissolving sutures. Once placed, the stent over time releases everolimus, a drug that helps prevent surrounding arterial tissue from over-growing and subsequently obstructing the stent. Over a period of one to three years after implantation, the stent dissolves into water and carbon dioxide, leaving behind a restored artery without any further traces of the stent. UNC Medical Center's interventional team continues to gain experience and achieve excellence in new technologies to provide our patients with the best care available.

First UNC TAVR under conscious sedation

UNC's heart valve team performed UNC's first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) under conscious sedation on March 14, 2017. This UNC first was the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration between cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, anesthesiology, nursing, and the TAVR coordinators.

Dr. Emily Teeter was the anesthesiologist, Dr. Thomas Caranasos was the cardiothoracic surgeon, and Dr. John Vavalle and Dr. Matt Cavender were the structural heart interventional cardiologists on the team. Dr. Doug Shook, the chief cardiac anesthesiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, visited UNC to mentor the team during the first procedure.

Using conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia can be an excellent option for appropriate patients, often leading to a quicker recovery and high patient satisfaction.

Learn more about TAVR at UNC, along with other treatment options for valvular heart disease.

Smith Recognized With American College of Cardiology Top Honor

Sidney C. Smith, Jr, MD, will be presented with the Master of the ACC Award at ACC’s 66th Annual Scientific Session.
Smith Recognized With American College of Cardiology Top Honor click to enlarge Dr. Sidney Smith

March 14, 2017

Sidney C. Smith, Jr., MD, FACC, has been awarded the 2017 Master of the ACC Award by the American College of Cardiology in honor of contributions to the cardiovascular profession. Smith, Jr. will be recognized for these achievements along with all 2017 Distinguished Award winners at the Convocation Ceremony on March 19 during the ACC’s 66th Annual Scientific Session in Washington.

Dr. Smith is a professor in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and a clinician in the UNC Center for Heart and Vascular Care.

“Dr. Smith, Jr.’s invaluable contributions to the field of cardiovascular medicine show unparalleled dedication to excellence and boundless commitment to improving patient care,” said ACC President Richard Chazal, MD, FACC. “It is a privilege to be able to honor Dr. Smith, Jr. with the Master of the ACC Award and celebrate his contributions to and achievements in cardiology.”

The Master of the ACC Award recognizes and honors Fellows of the American College of Cardiology who have consistently contributed to the goals and programs of the College and who have provided leadership in important College activities. MACCs have been members of the College for at least 15 years and have served with distinction and provided leadership on various College programs and committees.

Dr. Smith received his medical degree from Yale Medical School and completed his medical internship, residency, and cardiology fellowship at the Peter Bent Brigham (now Brigham and Women’s) Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. Dr. Smith is a past president of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Heart Federation (WHF).  Among his many honors include the AHA Physician of the Year Award, AHA Distinguished National Leadership Award, AHA Gold Heart Award, AHA Eugene Drake Award and the NHLBI/NIH Award of Special Recognition. Dr. Smith has authored or co-authored more than 350 published papers and chapters and has served on the editorial boards for the Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Circulation. Each year since 1998, he has been elected to Best Doctors in America.

Eighteen Distinguished Awards will be presented at the Annual Scientific Session this year, each recognizing an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of cardiovascular medicine. Recipients are nominated by their peers and then selected by the American College of Cardiology Awards Committee.

The American College of Cardiology is a 52,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more, visit acc.org.
                   

New research from Jensen lab points to promising new drug treatments for heart failure

A new paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Basic to Translational Science shows that the oral selective, alpha-1A adrenergic receptor agonist, dabuzalgron,  prevents doxorubicin-induced heart injury in mice. Dabuzalgron was well-tolerated in multiple Phase 2 trials for treatment of urinary incontinence, but development was halted due to lack of clinical efficacy.  These new findings suggest that repurposing dabuzalgron may hold promise as a novel treatment for heart failure.

Dr. Brian Jensen led the multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional project, which received initial funding from NC TraCS.

Read the paper, "An Oral Selective Alpha-1A Adrenergic Receptor Agonist Prevents Doxorubicin Cardiotoxicity," here.

New plant-based hemophilia treatment from Dr. Timothy Nichols

Dr. Timothy Nichols on research team developing new approaches to hemophilia treatment. Read an overview of the research or access the full article "Oral Tolerance Induction in Hemophilia B Dogs Fed with Transplastomic Lettuce."

"UNC Hospitals among first to offer cardiac mapping"

UNC is one of the first medical centers nationally to offer EnSite Precision™ cardiac mapping to patients undergoing treatment for cardiac arrhythmias. WRAL features Dr. Anil Gehi, a UNC faculty member who is leading the way with this technology.

Read the story and watch the video here to learn more and hear from a patient who was treated at UNC with this innovative cardiac mapping system.

"For 100th time, UNC uses less invasive procedure to replace aortic valve"

UNC Cardiology's transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program is featured is featured by WRAL.  Please read the story and watch the video here.

Dr. John Vavalle is interviewed and explains the procedure.

Dr. John Vavalle selected as a 2017 Health Care Hero

Triangle Business Journal selected Dr. John Vavalle one of this year's Health Care Heroes, together with Dr. Thomas Caranasos, for their successful development of UNC's Valve Clinic. They were honored for their surgical skill, caring concern for patients, and the drive and energy the demonstrated in building the the Valve Clinic from 2014 to today. Read more about the honor and other UNC winners