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Duke Heart Week Ending September 27th 2020

Chief’s message:  Living in the time of COVID, electronic communication, and bad days.

I got an email from a Faculty member who reported something about the day and discussed how frustrating an issue was.  I instinctively, responded and said that they were working very hard and I would call them to discuss how to help. I got a response that made me pause … the faculty member stated they were just venting and more were sending the note more of as a colleague and friend, rather than the Chief of the Division.  Aside from getting a better understanding, I sent a note reporting some of the challenges I had faced that day and thanked the colleague for reaching out.

The story stuck in my head as I realized the challenges we are all facing in our Health system, in our communities and schools with the transition to electronic and virtual communication.  We have had a large move to Zoom meetings, Grand Rounds and seminars on the web, all of the Scientific Meetings changing to virtual attendance (TCT in October and American Heart Association in November). In this time, even with video on – it becomes difficult to get a sense of the human interactions that makes us laugh, feel, and rejoice with each other’s successes and work to help with obstacles.  We are all yearning for some routine and stability, and sometimes just someone to share the bad days and things going on.

The episode made me think of a favorite children’s book the we use to read to our kids, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Maybe the book for 2020 – a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.  Sometimes, like Alexander – we all just need someone to hear about all the things that have gone bad in the day.  This is not something that can easily be accomplished electronically.  So, I have tried and will continue to try to ensure we get some socially distanced interactions, phone calls, and even zooms where we can share our trials and tribulations, but also hopefully the numerous amazing accomplishments despite the obstacles.  This Pulse, is often an effort to note those and be part of our fabric in celebrating our fellows, colleagues, and partners.

And as Alexander’s Mother says in the book, “some days are like that … even in Australia”

I have copies in my office that I am willingly handing out to those with the worst days.

Highlights of the week:

Photo of the Week:

Those of you on campus during the early morning, evening or overnight hours may have noticed this gesture of thanks emanating from the Hock Building out to care providers. We think it’s a particularly fitting tribute to our Duke Heart team members! Photo is courtesy of Eric McClenny, Nurse Manager Operations, DMP 7 East.

Thank you to each and every team member in Duke Heart for being a part of our team and for doing all that you do for our patients, their loved ones and each other.

Note of Gratitude from Cynthia Pierce

Many of you will recall that in May, Cynthia Pierce’s daughter Sam died unexpectedly, leaving behind three young children. A number of you stepped up to help support Cynthia through contributions to a GoFundMe account (established by Dr. Tom Bashore). Cynthia is a former cardiac catheterization lab nurse and a current Duke Heart TAVR coordinator. She sent us a note this week to share with you:

Hello to all of you:

It has taken me time to process the passing of my daughter Samantha. I also want you all to know that I have thought constantly of the overwhelming gifts and support given to me and my family especially during these uncertain times. I was able to have a loving and respectful service for Samantha. I will forever be grateful. Please know that I am proud to know and work along great people. A special thanks goes to Dr. Thomas Bashore and Dr. Kevin Harrison for their leadership in accomplishing this.

Thank you over and over!


Cynthia Pierce


Shout-out to Nishant Shah

Nishant Shah

We received a really nice note of gratitude this week from the daughter of a patient regarding care provided by Nishant Shah. The note reads:

“My mother and my father cannot speak more highly of Dr. Shah. He graciously saw my mother without question as an add-on to his clinic, after she was unable to be followed up with the hospital system where she was originally seen in the ED and was discharged home.

After my mother’s appointment with Dr. Shah today, he personally called my mother to give her the results of the labs and the ECHO that he graciously added on for my mother.

Often-times, patients and their families do not complement good care to those in leadership and only complain when they can find fault or have an experience when things are even slightly suboptimal. I hope this email finds it to the inbox of those who are able to spotlight the good-hearted nature of physicians.

From the wonderful report my parents gave of Dr. Shah, it is obvious that he is very happy to work for Duke and the PDC. Thank you for allowing this to be an environment where physicians are happy to provide service to the community.”

Nishant responded, “Very sweet family and honored to care for them. Thanks as well to the wonderful South Durham staff for the swift care coordination.”

Nicely done, Nishant and the South Durham Clinic team! We are so glad to have all of you on the Duke Heart team!

Transplant Team Publishes HIV+ Survival Findings

Congratulations to Julie Doberne, Oliver Jawitz, Vignesh Raman, Ben Bryner, Jacob Schroder and Carmelo Milano on their latest publication. In a pre-proof released last weekend in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, the team has published results of a study looking at HIV positive heart transplant recipients and showed that their survival is comparable to HIV negative recipients. HIV positivity is classically considered a contraindication to listing for heart transplant, so these findings are important; this is the first study to show this result on this scale. To see the journal article, please visit: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32946847.

Nicely done!

Respiratory Care Services Team Receives Statewide Recognition, Awards

We are pleased to announce that our Respiratory Care team recently presented a talk, Translating Literature to Bedside Practice, to the North Carolina Society for Respiratory Care (NCSRC) that was very well received. As a result, the team has been asked to speak in November and December to schools, the NC Board, and nationally for Respiratory Care Week. Presenters from our RCS team included Andrew Miller, Renee Bartle, Jhaymie Cappiello and Charlotte Reikofski; they were joined by fellow Dukies Dr. Dan Gilstrap (MICU Medical Director) and Angela Richardson (Wound Care).

Additionally, Charlotte Reikofski, Health System Director of Respiratory Care Services, has received the NCSRC’s 2020 Harvey Jacobs Leadership Award and Jhaymie Cappiello, Clinical Educator, has received the 2020 Gail Gane Educator of the Year Award.

This is wonderful news! Congratulations to Charlotte, Jhaymie and the entire RCS team! You’re doing outstanding work and it shows.


Abbott & Kurdelmeier Named Clinical Team Leads for 3100

The Duke Heart Leadership team is excited to announce Jessica “Jessie” Abbott and Megan Kurdelmeier as 3100 Clinical Team Leads. Jessie assumed her role on September 14th; Megan will assume her role on October 12th.

Jessie joined the 3100 team in March 2016. She earned her BSN from Duke University School of Nursing and also holds a BSN in health and physical education from Edinboro University. Jessie is currently a CN III and holds a PCCN certification. She has shown a strong interest in professional development by enrolling in a Master of Science in Nursing program and has served in charge nurse, preceptor, and skin care champion roles.  She is also a member of the AACN.

Megan joined the 3100 team in August 2016. She earned her BSN from East Carolina University and also holds a BSN in nutrition sciences from North Carolina State University. Megan is currently a CN III and holds a PCCN certification.  She is a highly engaged team member who has served in charge nurse, preceptor, and cardiac monitoring champion roles.  Megan is also an environment of care super-user and an active member of the work culture committee.  She is also a member of the AACN.

Please join us in congratulating Jessie and Megan in their new roles!

Shout-out to 7 East/Cardiothoracic Step-down Unit

On September 11th our 7 East team celebrated two years with NO Pressure Injuries! With utilizing the Dual Skin Assessment and collaborating with the WCON team and Angela Richardson, they were able to meet this amazing milestone, according to Amanda Rooney, Clinical Lead. “This shows the great dedication that the 7 East Team Members have to Quality Improvement and patient care,” she added.

Great job, 7 East!!!

Triangle AHA Seeking Testimonial Videos to Help Kick-Off Heart Walk

Our local American Heart Walk affiliate is seeking short, 30-second to 2-minute testimonial videos (shot with your cell phone) of why you support the annual Heart Walk. The videos will be used at the Heart Walk kick-off event on Friday, Oct. 9. The Heart Walk is Saturday, Oct. 10.

Dubbed “Because of You videos” your testimonial should include the following:

  • Introduce yourself: Share your name, the company you work or organization you’re with
  • Share your why: Are you or a family member a survivor? Talk about the experience.
  • Share the outcome starting with “Because of you…”

Examples: “Because of you, my dad is celebrating more birthdays.” “Because of you, my daughter is growing up strong and brave.” “Because of you, I can walk my daughter down the aisle.”

If you have any questions, please contact Kimberly Burrows of the Triangle AHA, via email: Kimberly.burrows@heart.org. Video submissions are due by Thursday, October 1.



Ashlee Davis, Richie Palma and Dave Adams have a newly published article – this time on AI. Check it out here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7289098

Davis A, Billick K, Horton K, et al. Artificial Intelligence and Echocardiography: A Primer for Cardiac Sonographers. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2020;33(9):1061-1066. doi:10.1016/j.echo.2020.04.025


Duke-wide Effort Urges Everyone to Register and Vote

An estimated 50 million eligible voters in the United States are not registered to participate in this important privilege and duty.

Duke has launched a University-wide effort to make it easy and convenient for everyone – faculty, staff and students – to register and to vote. The website vote.duke.edu is Duke’s online resource for how to register in North Carolina or other states, how to request an absentee ballot, and examples of ways you can get involved.

There will also be an early voting site on campus at the Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center, October 15-31. (If you have not yet visited the new Alumni Center, it’s really beautiful and worth checking out. Location: 2080 Duke University Rd, Durham, NC 27708)

You can also view the recording of a recent Duke Health leadership virtual town hall to learn more about Duke Health’s voter registration and turnout initiatives for the 2020 elections.


Important Reminders

  • Please get your Flu Vaccination: All team members must get their vaccination or otherwise demonstrate policy compliance by Tuesday, Nov. 10. Details and resources all available on the Duke Health Influenza Resources site (NET ID required): https://influenza.dh.dukehealth.org.
  • Zoom Update: In response to the appeals of Duke and the higher education community, Zoom will NOT enforce the mandatory security requirement originally scheduled for September 27.
  • October is Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month (the month formerly known as sonography month). Please thank a sonographer!


Upcoming Opportunities/Save the Date:


Cardiology Grand Rounds

Sept. 22: ESC Wrap-Up and Overview with the Experts. Christopher Granger and Bernard Gersh of the Mayo Clinic, 5 – 6 p.m.

Sept. 29: Managing Pregnancy and Pulmonary Hypertension: A Multidisciplinary Approach to a High Risk Patient. Presenters: Terry Fortin, Sarah Goldstein, Chad Grotegut, Marie-Louise Meng and Cary Ward. 5 p.m. Virtual. Links available in Outlook invitation.

Oct. 6: The Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, Distinguished Lecture. Presenter: Helen Hobbs, MD, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor, Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics, UT Southwestern Medical Center. Noon – 1 p.m., part of Duke SOM Research Week. For more information, please visit: https://medschool.duke.edu/research/research-week.

Oct. 6: Special Cardiology Grand Rounds – A Tribute to Dr. Eric Peterson. 5 p.m. Virtual. Links available in Outlook invitation. Presenters:

  • Matthew Roe, MD – Origins of CV Registries
  • Sreek Vemulapalli, MD – Partnering with Professional Societies
  • Jon Piccini, MD – Expanding the Scope: AF/Stroke Care
  • Tracy Wang, MD – Implementation Science
  • Neha Pagidipati – Possibilities in Prevention
  • Ann Marie Navar, MD – Going Digital
  • Eric Peterson, MD – The Future


Oct. 13: Michelle Kittleson, MD, PhD, of Cedars-Sinai.

Oct. 20:  The Albert L. Williams Cardiovascular Genetics Lecture Series. Presenter: Wendy Chung, MD, PhD, of Columbia.

Oct. 27: Cardiology Faculty meeting

Nov. 10: TBA

Nov. 17: No CGR. AHA Scientific Sessions


Conferences, Symposia & Webinars

Sept. 21: Duke Orthopaedic and Rehab Seminar. 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Guest speaker is Shane Phillips, PT, PhD, FAHA, Professor and Associate Head of PT and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois-Chicago. His topic is Microvascular Function and Cardiac Rehabilitation: A Canary in the Coal Mine? Zoom seminar:  https://duke.zoom.us/j/93436455711

Sept. 29: COVID-19 and the Telehealth Transformation, with Jedrek Wosik and Shijing Si. Noon – 1 p.m.

COVID-19 has led to the rapid adoption of telehealth strategies in order to maintain continuity of care. As compared to in-person visits, important changes in patient characteristics were seen in telephone and video visits as well as clinician ordering patterns. In addition, MyChart patient portal usage increased dramatically. We present select initial Duke clinic utilization data before and during COVID-19. To better understand the increasing number of unstructured MyChart messages, we apply both unsupervised and supervised machine learning tools to patient-generated messages. Specifically, 1) we utilize dynamic topic modeling to gain insight into message meaning and monthly trends for patients with (+) and (-) COVID and Flu results; 2) we leverage the state-of-the-art machine learning model (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers or BERT) to construct an automatic message triaging algorithm or classifier that outperforms other baseline methods.

Registration required to receive link and meeting information. To register, visit: https://training.oit.duke.edu/enroll/common/show/21/175250. This event is co-hosted by the Duke Center for Computational Thinking and Duke+DataScience.

Oct. 5 – 8: Research Week. Sponsored by Duke School of Medicine. Series will be held virtually, via Zoom: https://duke.zoom.us/j/92060873004. More information and a full agenda can be found here: https://medschool.duke.edu/research/research-week

Oct. 7: PROMISE trial webinar. Pam Douglas will lead an overview of the PROMISE trial cohort, and research plan, with insights and panel discussions. 4-6 p.m., To register for the Zoom link, please visit: https://duke.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wSz_1UcZRNy0cmqg8q6hgg. Sponsored by DCRI.

Nov. 13: 12th Annual NC Research Triangle Pulmonary Hypertension Symposium. Noon – 4:30 p.m. For more information, please visit this page. This event will be held virtually and is co-sponsored by Duke and the University of North Carolina in partnership with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association through the Building Medical Education in PH program. Please join us!

Nov. 13–17: AHA Scientific Sessions 2020, a virtual experience. Registration is now open. See the website for details.


COVID-19 Updates:

All the latest official DUHS information regarding coronavirus/COVID-19 response at the following locations:


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:

September 18 — Erich Huang (Duke Forge)

U.S. News & World Report

Why Colleges Are Offering Data Science Programs



September 22 — Michel Zeitouni and Ann Marie Navar

Healio/Cardiology Today

In high-risk younger patients, cholesterol guideline suitability questioned



September 23 — Robert Califf


Fast, low-cost testing is essential for averting a second wave of Covid-19



1 Comment

  1. Hi Tracey:
    The note was beautifully placed. I thank you much. I hope as many as possible will have a chance to see it.

    From the bottom of my HEART!
    Thank you again,
    Cynthia Pierce

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