Home » 2019 » July

Monthly Archives: July 2019

Highlights week of July 28th 2019

Pokorney Named Director, Arrhythmia Core Laboratory

We are pleased to share that Sean Pokorney has been named director of the Arrhythmia Core Laboratory (ACL), effective July 1. Pokorney has been instrumental in its growth and leadership over the years, most recently serving as its associate director. The announcement was made last week by John Alexander and Jon Piccini.

The Duke Clinical Research Institute founded the Arrhythmia Core Laboratory in 2012 with the support of Drs. Robert Harrington, Kenneth Mahaffey, and the CEC Leadership. Seven years later, the ACL is now an established core laboratory having completed several projects. The DCRI ACL conducted the first prospective study to demonstrate a reduction in atrial fibrillation burden with treatment of sleep disordered breathing in a clinical trial. Moreover, the Duke ACL was the core laboratory for the first pharmacogenetic trial of a rhythm control therapy for atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure. The ACL is currently the core lab for the largest ICD clinical trial to ever be conducted (APPRAISE ATP). Moreover, the ACL is engaged in ongoing discussions with several ambulatory monitoring and device-monitoring industry organizations, regarding longitudinal collaboration on clinical trial services. While the ACL is still young compared to other core laboratories at Duke and DCRI, it is in a growth phase with a lot of potential for the future.

Thanks to Pokorney’s efforts, our industry relationships have improved and solidified, leading to clinical trial work outside of the ACL. In short, he has done an excellent job during his time with the ACL and we know it will be in excellent hands and that he will take it to even greater heights.

Please join us in congratulating Sean!

Rajesh Swaminathan named Chair, SCAI QI Committee

Congratulations to Raj Swaminathan! He has been named chair of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) Quality Improvement Committee (QIC). SCAI is the international professional society for interventional cardiology, and currently has more than 4,000 members. The SCAI QIC works with internal committees and other professional cardiovascular organizations to establish procedural standards for coronary, structural, and peripheral procedures. Swaminathan has been an active member of the QIC since 2012, when Sunil Rao served as Chair. Some of the projects he has completed through the QIC include establishing protocols for best practices in the Cardiac Cath Lab, leading a collection of QI Toolkit Modules, developing educational modules for the SCAI PAD Resource Center, and contributing to several consensus documents on device selection for treatment of PAD.

Raj is currently the co-Chair of the QIC and will now serve a two-year term as its Chair.  If any faculty or fellows are interested in getting involved with SCAI or the QI Committee, please contact him directly to learn more.

Way to represent Duke Heart, Raj!

Adam DeVore to take on new Role.

Adam DeVore will assume the role of Associate Medical Director of Heart Transplantation, joining Chet Patel (Medical Director) and Jacob Schroder (Surgical Director) in leading this large and rapidly growing program. The heart transplant program is a national leader in clinical care, research, teaching, and innovation.
Congratulate Adam when you see him.


Fellows’ Journal Club Kick Off

Many thanks to Jon Piccini for hosting our first fellows’ journal club of the year on Monday evening. Zak Loring did a great job presenting the RACE 7 ACWAS trial comparing early versus delayed cardioversion for early onset atrial fibrillation. A great discussion was had by all.

Our next fellows’ journal club will be on September 26 hosted by Svati Shah with discussion led by Navid Nafissi.




EP/Cath Waiting Area Renovation Update

Construction that began earlier this year to renovate and enhance the waiting area for the Adult Cardiac Catheterization and Electrophysiology Labs on the 7th floor of Duke University Hospital is going well! We are entering phase two of the construction project and expect to reach completion by the end of November. We are happy to report that a portion of the new space is already in use; patients and their families are able to utilize a section of the new waiting area, which holds 23 seats as well as a consult room. It looks beautiful, and is sure to enhance overall waiting area comfort and privacy.

You will continue to see changes to the hallway over the coming weeks. If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact Greg Shelton, Administrative Director for the Cardiovascular Invasive Labs.

Shown here are the new consult room and a section of the new waiting area. Great job, everyone!




Highlights of week ending July 21st 2019

ADAPTABLE Completes Enrollment

Congratulations to the Duke ADAPTABLE team — they have reached the end of enrollment with 15,076 participants signed on at 40 centers around the country. Duke’s enrollment reached 1,684 participants alone! Members of the Duke area recruitment team gathered on Tuesday evening at Rooftop to celebrate as a way to thank everyone who contributed.

Way to go, everyone!


Duke celebrates Project Baseline Health Study 

Duke recently kicked off the third year of Project Baseline Health Study, reaching the midpoint of enrollment as the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) began welcoming back participants for their third on-site visit in Durham and Kannapolis.

During the event, Svati Shah, principal investigator for the Duke site, thanked everyone who made the milestone possible. She offered special thanks to friends and partners at Duke Clinical Research Institute for a remarkable, ongoing collaboration.

In her remarks, Shah noted that Duke has contributed significant diversity to the study’s cohort — diversity in race, ethnicity, age, gender, and health and disease characteristics. Most importantly, she said, the Duke study team always keeps the participant first and foremost, and at the center of the entire process.

“The Duke Baseline study team has worked tirelessly to deliver a remarkable experience for every single participant,” Shah said. “Duke study leadership has demonstrated an unceasing commitment to excellence and scientific integrity. We hope to see incredible scientific breakthroughs come from Project Baseline, thanks to all of you.”

The study is the first initiative of Project Baseline, an ambitious effort to develop a well-defined “baseline” of human health, and a rich data platform to help researchers better understand health and disease and the transitions between them. Collaborators include Duke, Verily, Stanford Medicine and Google. Great job, everyone – keep up the great work!


Duke Heart Receives ELSO Award

We are very proud to announce Duke has received the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) Gold Level Center of Excellence Award! The ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support recognizes Extracorporeal Life Support programs worldwide that distinguish themselves by having processes, procedures and systems in place that promote excellence and exceptional care in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. An ELSO Award signifies to patients and families a commitment to exceptional patient care and it demonstrates to the health care community an assurance of high quality standards, specialized equipment and supplies, defined patient protocols, and advanced education of all staff members.


Congratulations to our Extracorporeal Life Support team for the amazing work they do each day in caring for some of the most critically ill patients at Duke! We this this was a particularly fitting birthday gift for Desiree Bonadonna, our director of ELS, who celebrated a birthday on July 18. (Happy birthday, Desiree!)


Trevor Krawchuk Named Director, Duke Heart Network

We are pleased to welcome Trevor Krawchuk to the Duke Heart family! Krawchuk joined Duke on July 1 as the director of the Duke Heart Network (DHN).  He will be work closely with Amy Kessenich, senior director of the DHN, overseeing day-to-day operations.

Trevor comes to us with tremendous experience in business development and service line integration. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Radiology Services and an MBA from the University of South Dakota. He is active with the American College of Healthcare Executives and holds certifications as a Radiology Administrator (CRA) and American Registry of Radiology Technologists (ARRT). His most recent position was with Ascension Health in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as director of Hospital Based Care. Trevor and his wife have three children; he is originally from Canada.

Trevor was able to visit several heart care service areas on Friday morning along with Laurie Van Camp, associate clinical director, DHN. Thanks to Laura Dickerson for leading their tour!


Healing Hearts in Honduras: CT Surgery Sends Providers to Help

A group of care providers and trainees from Duke Heart’s CT Surgery team traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras last week to care for patients in need of heart surgery at the Instituto Nacional Cardio-Pulmonar, which has a waiting list of patients in need of heart valve replacement. This is the only public hospital in Honduras that can offer cardiac surgery. However, because resources are extremely limited, surgery can only be offered to patients when resources become available.

The Duke team traveled to Honduras with supplies and care providers to help meet this critical need – particularly for patients with rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Although Honduras lacks reliable data around the prevalence of certain diseases, RHD is endemic in neighboring Nicaragua, and patients with RHD are creating an overwhelming burden on physicians across Honduras.

Members of the Duke team included: Carmelo Milano, Adam Williams, Jorn Karhausen, J. Mauricio Del Rio, Jatin Anand, Alejandro Murillo Berlioz, Brian Gore, Caitlin Lofaro, Courtney Thurman, Fabian Jimenez Contreras, Joe Deblasio, Luz Cosalan-Munda, Michelle Figuerres, Sebastian Diaz, Rachael Knoll, Myra Ellis and Tiffney Locklear. (Apologies to anyone we may have missed on this list.)

We look forward to learning more about their trip when they return to the area! Special thanks to Tom Owens, president of Duke University Hospital; Jill Engel, Associate Vice President for Duke Heart Services; Peter K. Smith, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery; and to the leadership of the Duke Department of Surgery for supporting this trip.

Foster Leaving Duke Heart

We are sad to report that Mike Foster will leave the Duke Heart team at the end of August. He has decided to launch a new adventure in Kenya and we wish him the very best. As many of you know, Mike has spent 20 years with our Clinical Diagnostic Unit and has distinguished himself as a leader and exceptional colleague who has made regular trips to Kenya on behalf of Duke to provide care at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.

In a note to the CDU staff this past week, Mike said, “Duke CDU is a really special place. What a pleasure to enjoy going to work every day. This has been my home and you (along with others from CDU past) have been my family. Thanks for making this a wonderful experience and setting me up to succeed in serving others elsewhere.”

He has done a great job as a leader by example focused on service, care, and fun. He will be missed here, but we know he will be making an even larger impact on the lives of people in Kenya. Mike, good luck on your next adventure! We look forward to hearing how you are doing.

He departs for Kenya on September 1.


Out & About: New Technology Committee, Echo Team

We’re not just about the clinical care of patients — many of our team members are working hard to ensure Duke stays at the forefront of technology by ensuring that some of the most advanced equipment and software is made available so that we can continue to provide effective heart care services as efficiently as possible. Many thanks to James Tcheng, Marat Fudim, Joe Kelly, Richard Walczak, and Peter Smith for taking time to present at the most recent meeting of the Duke New Technology Committee, which took place on Friday morning. Tcheng and Fudim presented on CardioMEMS; Smith, Kelly and Walczak presented on VIPER which is an integrated clinical workstation to provide state of the art perfusion and ECMO support in the operating room, ICU and in transport.

When our echo team doesn’t have an echo to do…our techs are learning about other parts of cardiology…not the latest posts on Facebook. Here are Jian Zhang and Alicia Scott taking an ECG review test. This is what we like to call a good use of time – nice job, Jian and Alicia! Many thanks to Mike Foster for the photo!


Have news to share?

If you have news to share with the Pulse readership, please contact Tracey Koepke, director of communications for Duke Heart at tracey.koepke@duke.edu. We would love to hear about your latest accomplishments, professional news, cool happenings, and any events or opportunities that may be of interest to our Duke Heart family. Please call with any questions: 919-681-2868. Feedback on Pulse is welcome and encouraged.


Duke Heart in the News:

July 11 — William Kraus


Why Even Healthy People Can Benefit From Cutting Out 300 Calories per Day


July 11 — William Kraus

Daily Mail (UK)

Why skipping dessert may be good for you – even if you’re slim: Cutting 300 calories a day reduces heart disease, diabetes and dementia risks, study suggests


July 11 — William Kraus

HealthDay News/WebMD

300 Fewer Calories a Day Brings a Health Benefit


July 12 — William Kraus

Time magazine

Cutting Calories May Improve Your Health Even If You’re Not Trying to Lose Weight


July 12 — Sweta Sengupta (Duke Neurology)


Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension May Double Cardiovascular Risk


July 15 — William Kraus


A Magic Metabolic Bullet


July 16 — William Kraus

The New York Times

Cutting 300 Calories a Day Shows Health Benefits



**In addition to coverage from last week and above, this story was also carried by CBS Radio, Medpage Today, Health.com and Atlanta Journal Constitution

July 17 — Jay Shavadia


When Might Post-MI Beta-Blockers Be Safely Deprescribed?


Highlights of the week of July 14th 2019

Chief’s message:

Improving cardiovascular health in our community and the southeast US is an ever increasing challenge.  This week we started the PACE program – Partnering to Advance Cardiovascular health through community Engagement.  This is with the American Heart Association where Duke Heart is the Life is Why partner.   We have started to engage our Community Steering Committee which you can see in the photo included.  The goal of the program is to improve the cardiovascular health of our communities in Durham and surrounding counties.  We aim to discuss ways of accomplishing this with our Steering committee.  We look forward to having many join us in this journey to measure and improve CV health in our community.

New Cardiology Fellows Welcome at the Durham Bulls Game:
As has been the tradition for the last several years, we had our welcome to the new cardiology fellows at the Durham Bulls game today.  It was hot and fun, with lots of fellows, families and beer to be had.  Kids enjoyed Wool E. Bull and other activities.













Registration Open for Heart Walk

We are proud to join once again with Duke University Health System and the American Heart Association to sponsor the Triangle Heart Walk, which is scheduled for Sunday, September 22 at PNC Arena in Raleigh; festivities begin at 12:30 p.m. The Triangle Heart Walk brings people from across our vibrant community together to raise funds and celebrate progress in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Duke’s official goal is to recruit 250 teams, register 2,500 walkers and raise $250,000. Join us! We would like your help in reaching (and hopefully exceeding!) this goal and ensuring that Duke Blue is the most visible color at the walk.

You can start your own team (serve as a team coach) or join an existing team as a fundraiser/walker. We are aiming for at least 25 teams to register within Duke Heart  – many thanks to the six coaches who have already signed up to host teams – they are: Marilou Sanchez, Islam Othman, Charlotte Reikofski, Barbara Crocker, Kimberly Starkey, and Manesh Patel. Registration is now open — just visit www.TriangleHeartWalk.org/Duke.

If you have any questions about participating as a team coach, or need help with registering, feel free to email Kimberly Burrows at kimberly.burrows@heart.org.

NOTE: A team coach “kick-off” event will take place on Friday, July 26 at 3 p.m. in the Searle Center.

Sonographer Volunteer of the Month

Congratulations to Ashlee Davis, BS, ACS, RDCS, FASE, one of our wonderful cardiac sonographers – she has been selected by the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) as their July 2019 Volunteer of the Month! Not only is Ashlee a volunteer, but she is one of the few people selected to take part in the ASE Leadership Academy. To read the story ASE created to highlight her efforts, please click here. Way to go, Ashlee!


Kudos for Exceptional Care & Teamwork

Cardiology nurse practitioners Jaime McDermott and Tiffany Sito as well as their manager, Stephanie Barnes, were recognized this past week in a note from Kasey Williams, nurse manager, operations, for the CT Surgery step down unit for their compassion, professionalism, and excellent partnership in providing care to a complex patient on 3300. In her note, Kasey stated, “they have really gone above and beyond to support our nursing staff, and have facilitated difficult conversations with the patient and his family.”


Many thanks to Jaime, Tiffany, and Stephanie for their efforts not only in patient care, but also in teamwork and collaboration across Duke Heart. We appreciate you!


Upcoming Events:

Registration is now open for the following Duke Heart CME events:


Registration is also open for the inaugural Duke School of Medicine Research Week, October 14-17 at the Trent Semans Center. For a detailed schedule, please visit: https://medschool.duke.edu/research/research-week

Start of the New Academic Year: July 7th 2019

New Academic Year and New Cardiology Fellows Start:

After a lot of anticipation and certainly a lot of orientation, we were excited to have our new cardiology fellows start @Duke Cardiology.  This year we had our 8 new fellows start on the clinical wards along with Jordon Pomeroy one of our current fellows who is coming from his research years.  Listed below are our new fellows and the medicine programs that they come to us from.

Kelly Arps, MD Johns Hopkins
Vanessa Blumer, MD University of Miami
Jessica “Jessie” Duran, MD MGH
Josephine “Joey” Harrington, MD UT Southwestern
Anthony Peters, MD University of Virginia
Toi Spates, MD Duke
Frances Ugowe, MD Duke
Christopher Wrobel, MD UT Southwestern

I was excited to welcome our new partners to the cardiovascular practice and spent some time ensuring that they recognized and hopefully relished these next few years.  They go by fast.  There are many sources of advice and opportunities to learn at Duke Heart.  I recommended that they “drink from the fountain” and get to know and learn the unique things that make our faculty effective and special so that they can develop their own mosaic of skills for clinical, research and educational missions.  We are blessed to have some many great people @DukeHeart and it starts and is driven by the fellows, who are the lifeblood of our program.  Many of our faculty and current fellows have helped ensure that the fellows hit the ground running with “Fellows Boot Camp” and other support activities.  We want to thank you all for your support.

We also wanted to recognize that Jordon recently received a $25k award from the new Office of Physician Scientist Development (OPSD) to support the salary of a lab technician!  As he notes “This award will allow me to continue working on active research goals as I return to full time clinical fellowship this July 2019.”  Jordan’s research involves developing novel cardiac fibrosis disease models utilizing functional engineered cardiac tissues. He will be continuing his tissue engineering work in the Bursac Lab in the Duke Department of Biomedical Engineering.  Great work Jordan!

Finally, over the last several weeks I have had the chance to visit with Dr. Joseph Greenfield who has meant so much to the Department, Division, and the fellows over the years.  As we start a new year with fellows, I thought it would be fun to start to post some of the wit and wisdom of Joe Greenfield.  Some of you may have copies of this little book, but I have started to digitize it and will be posting some of them.  Also – for our past graduates, fellows, faculty, and DUCCS members, please be aware that Tom Bashore is working on a project to Digitize our fellowship society and history and may be contacting you.  Thank you for being part of the the Duke Family.



Baseline Health System Consortium – Duke Heart and Research:
New research study on Lp(a) in secondary prevention patients now enrolling

We wanted to share that a new Project Baseline study is now enrolling participants. The Heart Biomarker Study is an observational study in efforts to better understand Lp(a) levels in people who have a history of myocardial infarction or stroke.  Our faculty including Adrian and Svati have helped with study design.  People who have experienced a heart attack or stroke are being directly contacted to see if they are interested in participating.

Participants are asked to share their health history by linking their EHR and take a one-time blood test at a local LabCorp. They will receive their lab results back and be compensated $100 for their time. Interested participants can enroll directly here.