Sweitzer Provides Comments on New Heart Failure Study (Links to an external site)

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands—For patients with acute heart failure (HF) and signs of congestion, prompt use of a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor or a natriuresis-guided approach to diuretic therapy both seem to be viable strategies to enhance removal of excess fluid, according to results from two small trials presented earlier this week at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2023.

Both approaches improved excess fluid removal, but more data are needed to determine the best strategy, Nancy Sweitzer says.

Kovács Inaugurated to Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Sándor J. Kovács Jr., PhD, MD, h.c., Professor of Medicine in the Cardiovascular Division, was recently invited to Budapest to a formal inauguration ceremony for the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Kovács was honored for his outstanding contributions in the fields of physics and medical sciences, especially in the areas of cardiovascular physiology and biophysics.

Bach and May Receive Teacher of the Year Awards

The Internal Medicine Residents of the class of 2023 voted to recognize faculty who had made a positive impact on their training. Two awards were given for Teacher of the Year, Cardiology. The recipients were Dr. Richard Bach and Dr. Adam May.

Cresci receives NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Award (Links to an external site)

Sharon Cresci, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Genetics in the Cardiovascular Division and Associate Director of the WashU Barnes-Jewish Hospital Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, recently received a five-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The grant is entitled “Determining Potential Mechanisms of Worse Outcomes in Black HCM Patients”.

Second-Year Fellow Dr. Kyle Yoo Publishes Study on Aspirin Use (Links to an external site)

“We had hoped that the rates of aspirin use for secondary prevention would be much higher. Particularly I think, overall, globally, there has been an emphasis on improving cardiovascular health, and one of the efforts is to improve use of some of these evidence-based medications,” said Dr. Sang Gune Yoo, an author of the study and a cardiovascular disease fellow in the cardiovascular division at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Dr. Jesus Jimenez Receives Diversity Scholars Program Award

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has awarded Jesus M. Jimenez, MD, PhD of the Cardiovascular Division the Faculty Diversity Scholars Program Award. Other School of Medicine faculty recipients included  Felicia I. Gomez, PhD, and Felipe Almeida de Pinho Ribeiro, MD.

Clinical Spotlight: Cardiac Rehab

At the Heart Care Institute, located at the Barnes-Jewish West campus, the cardiac rehab program provides care and education to patients after they experience heart surgery or a serious cardiac event. The team of physicians, nurses, exercise physiologists, and dietitians work individually with patients to help them recover and strengthen their heart health.

Barnes-Jewish Hospital Certified as Comprehensive Cardiac Center by Joint Commission

After conducting a rigorous on-site survey, The Joint Commission has issued a certification to Barnes-Jewish Hospital as a Comprehensive Cardiac Center. Launched in 2017, Comprehensive Cardiac Center Certification is a voluntary program for hospitals seeking an independent evaluation and recognition of their comprehensive cardiac center services. The program was designed for hospitals with robust cardiac care facilities, aiming […]

Dr. Amanda Verma Receives 2023 LEAD Award (Links to an external site)

Congratulations to the recipients of the inaugural AWAM Leaders in Empowerment and Development (LEAD) Award!
This year’s award winners are Amanda K. Verma, MD (Assistant Professor of Medicine) and Abby Spencer, MD (Professor of Medicine).The Department of Medicine greatly appreciates and values Dr. Verma’s and Spencer’s contributions toward advancing women’s career development!

Dr. Marc Sintek Discusses Extreme Heat Dangers on KSDK News (Links to an external site)

“It’s getting to be time where athletics are starting, young children are outside and all those things,” said Dr. Marc Sintek a Washington University cardiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, “I think it’s important to recognize that heat-related illnesses are a really big problem this time of year for a lot of young people who are otherwise healthy.”

But Sintek said people don’t realize the dangers of heat.

“When it becomes very cold in St. Louis or there are ice storms or it is below zero, everyone seems to do a pretty good job of staying at home and not going outside. But it seems like when it is 110 degrees outside and the humidity is 90%, it’s just like we will go out and do whatever.”

Do not get tempted by sunshine and blue skies. “People need to recognize that they’re extremes, but they are both potentially hazardous,” Sintek said.

WHO Updates List of Essential Medicines to Include Heart Polypills (Links to an external site)

A growing body of research shows that polypills can be an inexpensive, effective way to reduce the risk of heart problems, with studies indicating that they can cut the risk of cardiovascular problems by almost 40%. But even though heart complications like heart disease and heart attacks kill 18 million people each year, only a few companies manufacture polypills, and few people take them.
Drs. Mark Huffman and Anubha Agarwal of Wash U’s Program in Global Cardiovascular Health were instrumental in advocating for the addition of polypills.

AHA Paper Authored by Dr. Joynt Maddox Reviews Value-Based Payment Systems and Proposes Next Steps (Links to an external site)

A new policy statement aimed at clinicians treating patients with cardiovascular disease has provided a snapshot of value-based payment programs and laid out a vision for what they should look like as the US healthcare system increasingly shifts away from fee-for-service models..

For certain types of situations, getting paid for each discrete encounter, intervention, or procedure makes sense, “but for preventive care and chronic care, we’re really starting to understand that we need to move toward thinking about paying for care quite differently,” Karen Joynt Maddox, MD (Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO), vice chair of the American Heart Association (AHA) writing group and senior author of the paper, told TCTMD.

Dr. Braverman Presents at International Meetings

Dr. Alan Braverman, Alumni Endowed Professor of Cardiovascular Diseases and Director of the Washington University School of Medicine Marfan Syndrome Clinic, has travelled this summer to conferences in Isreal and Spain.

Dr. Prabhu Receives ISHR-NAS Innovator Award

Tuesday July 27th, Cardiovascular Division Chief Sumanth Prabhu, MD accepted the Innovator Award at the North American Meeting of the International Society of Heart Research, held this year in Madison, WI.

Dr. Kory Lavine Named As New Director for Center of Cardiovascular Research

Cardiovascular Division Chief Dr. Sumanth Prabhu has announced that Kory Lavine, MD, PhD, will serve as the next Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCR), effective July 1, 2023. Dr. Lavine is currently Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the CCR. In his new role, he will succeed Dr. Jeanne Nerbonne, who […]

Improving heart failure care in Southern India (Links to an external site)

Dr. Anubha Agarwal emigrated from India to the United States with her family when she was about 5 years old. As many immigrant families do, she spent much of her childhood going back and forth, visiting her family in India. During those trips, Agarwal realized the stark differences between the two countries. “Witnessing the inequities between the countries and within each country, I wanted to solve them. Later, I realized that I wanted to do that as a physician,” she said.

Dr. Amanda Verma Appointed to Heart Failure Society of America Committee

Dr. Amanda Verma, a heart failure and transplant specialist and Interim Director of cardio-obstetrics at the Washington University School of Medicine cardiovascular division, was recently appointed by the Heart Failure Society of America to their Women in Heart Failure Committee.

Dr. Nancy Sweitzer Editorial on DCD Trial Makes Headlines

A study published this month in the New England Journal, “Transplantation Outcomes with Donor Hearts after Circulatory Death” looked at outcomes of recipients of heart transplants where the donor had experienced circulatory death compared to those with donors who had experienced brain death.

The accompanying editorial by Professor of Medicine and Director of Clinical Research for the cardiovascular division, Dr. Nancy Sweitzer was also highlighted in news coverage of the trial publication.

Fogarty Fellowship Proves Pivotal for Dr. Agarwal’s Career (Links to an external site)

She attributes much of her current success to her time as an NIH Fogarty fellow from 2017-2018 while based in India. The Fogarty Global Health Training Programs offers a one-year mentored clinical research training opportunity for doctoral students and post-doctoral candidates from the U.S. and low and middle-income countries (LMICs), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (Fogarty International Center) in partnership with several NIH Institutes and Offices.

Dr. Mark Huffman Collaborates With University & Nigerian Partners to Curb Hypertension (Links to an external site)

One of the largest health burdens in Nigeria is hypertension. According to the Global Burden of Disease, hypertension combined with other cardiovascular disease, affects more than 70 million people in Nigeria. Co-Director of the Global Health Center, Mark Huffman, MD, MPH, and a research team at Washington University in St. Louis, are collaborating with University of Abuja in Nigeria, Northwestern University in Chicago, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria, and other key stakeholders on two projects on hypertension prevention and treatment in Nigeria.

Dr. Justin Sadhu Receives Distinguished Service Teaching Awards

The Academy of Educators at the Washington University School of Medicine Office of Education recently held their annual Distinguished Service Teaching Awards Ceremony. Cardiovascular Division faculty member Justin Sadhu, MD, MPHS received two awards for his outstanding contributions to education at Washington University.

Dr. Zainab Mahmoud Receives Eisenberg Scholar Award

The Paul and Patti Eisenberg Scholar Award is presented annually by the Washington University School of Medicine Cardiovascular Division to fund junior faculty research that broadly focuses on cardiovascular disease. Funds should be used to generate key preliminary data and/or to develop new areas of research. Dr. Zainab Mahmoud is this year’s recipient of the […]

Putting Radiation to the Test to Heal Irregular Heartbeat (Links to an external site)

Doctors are zapping the heart with radiation normally reserved for cancer, a bid to better treat people with life-threatening irregular heartbeats who’ve exhausted other options.

While it’s highly experimental, surprising early research suggests it may reprogram misfiring heart cells to control heartbeats more like younger, healthier cells do.

“It may actually rejuvenate sick tissue, and that’s pretty exciting,” said Dr. Stacey Rentschler of Washington University in St. Louis.

Center for Cardiovascular Research Spotlight: Diwan Lab

The Diwan Lab, in the Center for Cardiovascular Research, is dedicated to the study of lysosomes, and seeks to understand how these cell parts can be targeted by therapies to treat and prevent cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and more. Lysosomes are organelles, parts within cells that serve several biological functions. The Diwan Lab has […]

Dr. Anubha Agarwal Speaks at NIH Fogarty International Center LAUNCH Program Anniversary

On April 13th, the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health celebrated 20 years of their Global Health fellows and scholars program, LAUNCH. Dr. Anubha Agarwal of the Washington University Cardiovascular Division was invited to speak on a panel of alumni of the program. According to the NIH website, “The mission of the […]

Cardiovascular Care at Barnes-Jewish Hospital Recognized for Excellence

BJC hospitals, service organizations and medical practices earned a total of 171 PRC Excellence in Healthcare Awards in 2023, an increase of 20 over last year. Fifteen teams earned Top Performer awards, including the Cardiovascular Procedure Center and HCI, or Heart Care Institute.

Small proteins in heart play big role (Links to an external site)

Jonathan Silva, the Dennis & Barbara Kessler Career Development Associate Professor at the McKelvey School of Engineering, and Jeanne Nerbonne, Alumni Endowed Professor of Molecular Biology & Pharmacology in Medicine and Developmental Biology at the School of Medicine, and their labs found distinct effects of novel proteins, known as intracellular fibroblast growth factors (iFGF), on the regulation of the kinetics of cardiac sodium channel gating. Their results were published in the Journal of General Physiology March 21.

Dr. Shibali Das joins the Department of Medicine Cardiovascular Division (Links to an external site)

Dr. Shibali Das joined the Department of Medicine in the Cardiovascular Division as an instructor in February of 2023. She received her BSc and MSc degree in Microbiology from University of Calcutta Kolkata, India. She then pursued her doctoral degree in Bio-chemistry at Bose Institute, in collaboration with University of Calcutta. Her doctoral research focused on Immunotherapeutic approaches to tuberculosis including the development of novel immunomodulatory agents for therapy, elucidation of mechanisms of action of new therapeutic agents, mechanisms of immunosuppression during tuberculosis and regulation of host innate and adaptive immune response.

New Appointments to Interventional and Structural Cardiology Section

The scope of interventional and structural cardiology has expanded rapidly over the past few years, with broad implications for patient care, training, and clinical research. To reflect these changes and be better equipped to meet dynamic present and future needs, the Cardiology Division is restructuring the section of Interventional and Structural Cardiology; this entails several new roles for division faculty.

Study on Cardiovascular Risk Factors by Dr. Joynt Maddox Published in JAMA (Links to an external site)

In this serial cross-sectional study of 12 924 adults aged 20 to 44 years, there were increases in the prevalence of diabetes (from 3.0% to 4.1%) and obesity (from 32.7% to 40.9%), no improvement in the prevalence of hypertension (from 9.3% to 11.5%), and a decrease in the prevalence of hyperlipidemia (from 40.5% to 36.1%) from 2009-2010 to 2017-2020. Black young adults had the highest rates of hypertension over the study period, and increases in hypertension were observed among Mexican American and other Hispanic adults, while Mexican American adults experienced a significant rise in diabetes. Blood pressure control did not significantly change among young adults treated for hypertension, while glycemic control remained suboptimal throughout the study period.

VAD Program Celebrates 25 Years (Links to an external site)

The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital Heart and Vascular Center celebrates its VAD program’s 25th anniversary, maintaining the same goal — offering advanced heart failure patients a chance at a longer, better life.

Across its 25 years, the program has implanted more than 1,100 VADs in patients, placing it among the top 10 programs in volume in the U.S.

Dr. Angela Brown Promotes Women’s Heart Health on KPLR News

Last week, cardiology division faculty member and Director of the Hypertension Clinic Dr. Angela Brown appeared on the Pulse of St. Louis segment of KPLR news. She was part of a panel to discuss high blood pressure and women’s heart health for Heart Month. Dr. Brown spoke about the importance of blood pressure screening and […]

Scientist in the Spotlight: Lindsay Underhill’s career path in global health (Links to an external site)

Lindsay Underhill, PhD, MPH

The Washington University in St. Louis community encompasses many talented researchers of diverse academic interests and disciplines. As a member of the Global Health Student Advisory Committee, I recently spoke with Lindsay Underhill, PhD, MPH, a global environmental health researcher and instructor of medicine. Her research focuses on the implementation and effectiveness of built environment, […]

Science of St. Louis Blues with Dr. Mustafa Husaini

Mustafa Husaini, MD

The St. Louis Blues NHL team and Washington University Physicians have collaborated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital to create a series of videos on the Science of Blues Hockey. Hosted by Karlie Kloss, the latest video features Dr. Mustafa Husaini, Cardiovascular Division faculty member and director of our sports cardiology program.

Cardiovascular Division Faculty Present at AHA Conference; Dr. Prabhu Honored

Many Washington University School of Medicine Faculty were present and presenting at the 2022 American Heart Association Annual Scientific Sessions, held in Chicago. Cardiovascular Division Chief Sumanth Prabhu, MD was honored as the George E. Brown Memorial Lecturer. Mark Huffman, MD, MPH presented late-breaking clinical trial findings from a US based QUARTET study on drug […]

Dr. Mustafa Husaini Elected to ACC Cardiovascular Management Leadership Council

Dr. Husaini Mustafa of the cardiovascular division was elected this week to the American College of Cardiology’s Cardiovascular Management Leadership Council. With this 3-year appointment, the ACC recognizes Dr. Mustafa’s outstanding contributions to cardiovascular medicine and his leadership in advancing the ACC’s goals of innovation and knowledge to optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes.

Washington University School of Medicine Among Sites of new HFpEF Study

The National Institute of Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, recently awarded Wake Forest University School of Medicine a five-year grant expected to total $30 million to support research to test a novel rehabilitation program designed for older patients hospitalized for acute heart failure. Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital will serve as one of the 20 sites for this important study.

Cardiovascular Division Faculty Among Recipients of McDonnell Academy Seed Grants

Global Incubator Seed Grants banner

Drs. Victor Davila-Roman and Mark Huffman were announced among the recipients of The McDonnel Academy Seed Grants. Their abstract ENHANCING INTERGENERATIONAL HEALTH IN NIGERIA: PERIPARTUM AS CRITICAL LIFE STAGE FOR CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH (ENHANCE-CVH), was funded as part of the Public Health category.

Dr. Zainab Mahmoud Co-Authors Paper on Disparities in Cardiovascular Health in Black Women

Cardiovascular Division Instructor in Medicine Zainab Mahmoud, MD, MSc, co-authored a paper entitled “Eliminating Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease for Black Women”, published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Some of the findings of the paper were: The paper was named as JACC Review Topic of the Week for […]

Dr. Mark Huffman Will Serve as Faculty Lead for Trust and Public Health Transdisciplinary Team


The Washington University Incubator for Transdisciplinary Futures announced Mark Huffman, MD, MPH as a faculty lead of the Trust and Public Health cluster this week. According to the ITF website, the mission of the organization “is to nurture innovative academic configurations that may endure—and even become research and educational models to follow—thus transforming not only […]

Dr. Linda Peterson Inducted as President of Society for Heart and Vascular Metabolism

Cardiovascular Division faculty member Linda Peterson, MD, was inducted as president of the Society for Heart and Vascular Metabolism last month at their 19th annual Scientific Sessions, hosted in Seoul, South Korea.

The Society was founded in 2000, with the intent of providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas by a group of investigators with a special interest in the multiple roles of intermediary metabolism in the cardiovascular system. An important aim of the Society is to foster interactions between young investigators and senior scientists in an informal setting.

ACC, AHA Issue Aortic Disease Guideline, Recommend Genetic Screening

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHH) on Wednesday published updated guidelines on the diagnosis and management of aortic disease, focusing on surgical intervention considerations, consistent imaging practices, genetic and familial screenings, and the importance of a multidisciplinary aortic team.
Dr. Alan Braverman of the Washington University School of Medicine’s cardiovascular division served on the writing committee for the updated guidelines.