News

A HISTORY OF HEART FAILURE—AND RECOVERY

Just a few hundred years ago, the heart and its function were a bit of a mystery. And when the heart malfunctioned, treatment options were few and often ineffective. Today’s cardiologists offer their patients treatments that can lead to recovery.

To date, an Egyptian man named Nebiri, also known as Chief of Stables, is the oldest-known case of heart failure. Thanks to a German pathologist’s examination of 3,500-year-old mummified remains, it’s believed Nebiri died of pulmonary edema caused by heart failure.

Just a few hundred years ago, the heart and its function were a bit of a mystery. And when the heart malfunctioned, treatment options were few and often ineffective. Today’s cardiologists offer their patients treatments that can lead to recovery.

To date, an Egyptian man named Nebiri, also known as Chief of Stables, is the oldest-known case of heart failure. Thanks to a German pathologist’s examination of 3,500-year-old mummified remains, it’s believed Nebiri died of pulmonary edema caused by heart failure.

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

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 …

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 Arts & Sciences but also Washington University.”.

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.

Department of Medicine names diversity, equity leaders

Jesus Jimenez, MD, PhD, has been appointed as the Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Fellows and Postdoctoral trainees in …

Tenth Annual Cardiovascular Research Day October 13, 2022

The cardiovascular division is hosting the tenth annual Cardiovascular Research Day this Thursday, October 13th! Join us for posters, presentations, and lectures celebrating basic, clinical and translational cardiovascular research at Washington University.

Valve Team Performs First Transseptal Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement

As part of the Apollo clinical trial, a team of Wash U physicians successfully completed a transseptal transcatheter mitral valve replacement at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Washington University is the only participating Missouri location for the trial. 

The surgical team included the Cardiovascular Division’s Dr. Alan Zajarias, Dr. Marc Sintek, Dr. Majesh Makan, and Dr. Sam Linder as well as the Department of Surgery’s Dr. Puja Kachroo. Dr. John Lasala, Dr. Nishath Quader, and Dr. Spencer Melby also participated in evaluation and treatment of the patient.

RSVP for the Cardiovascular Division 75th Anniversary Celebration

On November 11, 2022 the Washington University School of Medicine Cardiovascular Division will be celebrating our 75th Anniversary! You won’t …

4th Annual Heart Team Summit Comes to St. Louis

Join faculty members in the Divisions of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Cardiology at Washington University School of Medicine as they unite with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Ascension St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana for the 4th Annual Heart Team Summit.

This event will begin on Friday, October 21, and conclude on Saturday, October 22, at the Four Seasons Hotel (999 N 2nd St) in St. Louis.

Institute for Public Health to Hold Special Seminar: Algorithms of Oppression

Cardiovascular division faculty members Karen Joynt Maddox (co-Director, Center for Health Economics & Policy) and Gmerice Hammond (Associate Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity) along with their colleagues at the Institute of Public Health will be hosting a seminar October 19th entitield Algorithms of Oppression, presented by Dr. Safiya U. Noble. 

Dr. Kory Lavine Receives Leadership Achievement Award at ISHR North American Conference

Kory Lavine, MD, PhD, received the International Society for Heart Research- North American Section 2022 MCI Leadership Achievement Award, presented in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada at the section’s annual meeting on September 6th.

Faculty receive $6.1M NIH grant for maternal health study

Three faculty from the Brown School and the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis have received a …

Low testosterone may increase risk of COVID-19 hospitalization for men

Among men diagnosed with COVID-19, those with low testosterone levels are more likely to become seriously ill and end up in the hospital than men with normal levels of the hormone, according to a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

The team analyzed the cases of 723 men who tested positive for COVID-19, mostly in 2020 before vaccines were available. The data indicate that low testosterone is an independent risk factor for COVID-19 hospitalization, similar to diabetes, heart disease and chronic lung disease.

Dr. Stacey Rentschler and Colleagues Receive NIH Grant to Fund Study on Radiation Therapy for VT Patients

Stacey Rentschler, MD, PhD in collaboration with many other Washington University researchers within and outside the cardiovascular division recently received …

Wide Complex Tachycardia Discrimination Tool Improves Physician’s Diagnostic Accuracy

A new study published in the Journal of Electrocardiology this month by Washington University Physician Adam May shows that an automated tool for WCT differentiation can improve the accuracy of the physician interpreting ECGs.

New Clinical Trial for Evoque Valve Comes to Valvular Heart Disease Center

Dr. Alan Zajarias and the team at the Valvular Heart Disease Center have been invited to join the Edwards Triscend …

New Drug, Positive Results for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

An estimated 1,000,000 people in the U.S. have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Washington University interventional cardiologist Richard Bach, MD, FACC, and his team had exhausted non-invasive treatments for a patient suffering from HCM. Until, that is, Bach enrolled the man, who was in his 50s, in a clinical trial evaluating a drug called mavacamten.

Leadership Announcement – DOM Vice Chair of Clinical Research

It is my pleasure to announce that Dr. Nancy K. Sweitzer, Professor of Medicine, has joined Washington University School of Medicine as the Vice Chair of Clinical Research for the Department of Medicine and Director of Clinical Research for the Division of Cardiology. Dr. Sweitzer joins us from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she had been the Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of the Sarver Heart Center and Co-Director of the Clinical Translational Sciences Graduate Program for the University of Arizona Health Sciences.

Cardiovascular inflammation, heart failure focus of $6 million grant

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a $6 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to harness new understandings of the immune system to develop innovative therapies for heart failure and the prevention of organ rejection following heart transplantation.

Diabetes, metabolic syndrome in mice treated with novel class of compounds

A study in mice — led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis — shows that a new class of compounds the scientists developed can improve multiple aspects of metabolic syndrome. An increasingly common group of conditions that often occur together, metabolic syndrome includes type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, fat buildup in the liver, and excess body fat, especially around the waist. This syndrome often leads to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.

Popular heart failure drug no better than older drug in sickest patients

A new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that a widely used heart failure drug named sacubitril/valsartan is no better than valsartan alone in patients with severe heart failure. The study also provides evidence that the treatment with valsartan may be slightly safer for patients with advanced heart failure.

Institute for Public Health names new director of the Global Health Center

The Institute for Public Health announces the appointment of Victor G. Dávila-Román, MD, as director of its Global Health Center. He was also named vice chair of global health in the Department of Medicine at the School of Medicine. Dávila-Román is professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division of the Department of Medicine, and a professor of anesthesiology and radiology at the School of Medicine. He earned his medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico, and has been affiliated with Washington University since 1986.

Radiation therapy reprograms heart muscle cells to younger state

New research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that radiation therapy can reprogram heart muscle cells to what appears to be a younger state, fixing electrical problems that cause a life-threatening arrhythmia without the need for a long-used, invasive procedure.

Research to explore how genes, other factors affect cardiometabolic disease risk

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a four-year, $8.8 million grant to ramp up research aimed at unraveling how an individual’s risks of cardiometabolic diseases, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, are influenced by the interaction of specific genes with demographic and lifestyle factors.

Prabhu named cardiovascular division director

Sumanth D. Prabhu, MD, an internationally recognized expert in how immunity and inflammation contribute to heart failure, has been named director of the Cardiovascular Division in the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He also will become cardiologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Tobias and Hortense Lewin Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Diseases at the School of Medicine when his appointment begins Sept. 1.

Hammond receives Merck research fellowship

J. Gmerice Hammond, MD, a cardiologist and health policy research fellow in the Cardiovascular Division at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a Merck Fellowship Research Award from the Association of Black Cardiologists and the American College of Cardiology.

Scientists find genetic link to clogged arteries

High cholesterol is the most commonly understood cause of atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries that raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. But now, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a gene that likely plays a causal role in coronary artery disease independent of cholesterol levels. The gene also likely has roles in related cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

COVID-19 can kill heart muscle cells, interfere with contraction

Since early in the pandemic, COVID-19 has been associated with heart problems, including reduced ability to pump blood and abnormal heart rhythms. But it’s been an open question whether these problems are caused by the virus infecting the heart, or an inflammatory response to viral infection elsewhere in the body. Such details have implications for understanding how best to treat coronavirus infections that affect the heart.

Immune therapies for heart disease aim of international research network

When a patient arrives in the emergency room with symptoms of a heart attack, doctors’ first priority is to restore blood flow to the heart muscle. Over the past few decades, therapeutic advances aimed at getting blood flowing and reducing strain on the heart have improved patients’ chances of surviving heart attacks to more than 90% from 50%.

Leadership Announcement – DOM Vice Chair for Health Equity

It is my pleasure to announce that Angela L. Brown, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine has been appointed as Vice Chair for Health Equity for the Department of Medicine. In this new role, Dr. Brown will lead our diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism activities.

Maddox selected as American College of Cardiology trustee

Thomas M. Maddox, MD, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been selected to serve as a trustee of the American College of Cardiology, an international professional society for cardiovascular care providers. He will serve a three-year term on the board of trustees beginning in April.

$10 million in grants aimed at preventing organ rejection after transplantation

Transplant surgeons and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received two grants totaling $10 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how immune cells contribute to organ rejection, with the aim of improving the viability of organs after transplant.

Immune cells play surprising role in heart, mouse study suggests

New research in mice suggests that certain immune cells may help guide fetal development of the heart and play a role in how the adult heart beats, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

High-protein diets boost artery-clogging plaque, mouse study shows

High-protein diets may help people lose weight and build muscle, but a new study in mice suggests they have a down side: They lead to more plaque in the arteries. Further, the new research shows that high-protein diets spur unstable plaque — the kind most prone to rupturing and causing blocked arteries. More plaque buildup in the arteries, particularly if it’s unstable, increases the risk of heart attack.

Heart pump devices associated with serious complications in some patients shortly after heart stent procedure

In critically ill patients who require a heart pump to support blood circulation as part of stent procedures, specific heart pumps have been associated with serious complications, according to a new study led by cardiologists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

New clues found to help protect heart from damage after heart attack

Studying mice, scientists have shown that boosting the activity of specific immune cells in the heart after a heart attack …

Safety-Net Hospitals Fare Better Under New Medicare Reimbursement Rules

New Medicare reimbursement rules provide some relief to safety-net hospitals, shifting the burden of financial penalties toward hospitals serving wealthier …

Obese Mouse Mothers Trigger Heart Problems in Offspring

A diet high in fats and sugars is known for its unhealthy effects on the heart. Scientists now have found …

Is Intermittent Fasting the Cure for Diabetes?

(CNN) Three men with Type 2 diabetes used “intermittent fasting” to reverse their dependence on insulin, according to a report …

Lowering hospitals’ Medicare costs proves difficult

A payment system that provides financial incentives for hospitals that reduce health-care costs for Medicare patients did not lower costs …

Scientists ID source of damaging inflammation after heart attack

Scientists have zeroed in on a culprit that spurs damaging inflammation in the heart following a heart attack. The guilty …

Study of smoking and genetics illuminates complexities of blood pressure

Analyzing the genetics and smoking habits of more than half a million people has shed new light on the complexities …

Deadly heart rhythm halted by noninvasive radiation therapy

Radiation therapy often is used to treat cancer patients. Now, doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis …

Aggressive testing provides no benefit to patients in ER with chest pain

Patients who go to the emergency room (ER) with chest pain often receive unnecessary tests to evaluate whether they are …

Drug trial shows promise for deadly neurological disorder

Results of a small clinical trial show promise for treating a rare neurodegenerative condition that typically kills those afflicted before …

Type of sugar may treat atherosclerosis, mouse study shows

Researchers have long sought ways to harness the body’s immune system to treat disease, especially cancer. Now, scientists have found …