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Duke Heart Pulse – Week ending March 6th 2022

Highlights of the Week

Fall 2021 GTSD Star Ratings Announced

We are pleased to share our General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD) Star Ratings for the Fall 2021 Harvest. Duke University Hospital received a three-star rating for lobectomy and a two-star rating for esophagectomy. The Star Ratings are a quality indicator based on reporting in the GTSD, which is managed by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

The GTSD star ratings provide composite quality ratings for two types of surgeries: lobectomies for primary lung cancer and esophagectomies for primary esophageal cancer. They will soon add a composite quality rating for the broader category of pulmonary resections for lung cancer, according to Melissa Williams, registry team clinical manager of cardiovascular informatics & quality improvement for the Duke Heart Center of Excellence.

Betty Tong

Duke University Hospital had taken a pause in submitting data to the GTSD to completely revise the data abstraction and submission processes. Working closely with Dr. Betty Tong, the Duke Heart Center of Excellence resumed data submission in the fall of 2020. These new results with the 3-star rating for lobectomies for lung cancer reflect the three-year cohort of surgeries with dates 7/1/2018 – 6/30/2021. The rating reflects better than expected risk-adjusted results.

According to the previous Harvest Composite Quality Ratings Summary for Spring 2021, there were a total of 222 participating centers entering data into the GTSD for that time period (the total number for Fall 2021 Harvest has not yet been shared). Participants must have at least 30 eligible procedures for each individual composite, meeting inclusion criteria for the 3-year harvest period in order to receive a star rating.

Congratulations to our Thoracic Surgery team – great work!


CRT22 Held in DC

The annual Cardiovascular Research Technologies meeting was held in Washington, DC from Feb. 26-March 1, 2022. CRT22 not only marked the 25th anniversary of CRT, it afforded many opportunities to reconnect with others — in person! — including this reunion of current and former Duke Heart Faculty and Cath lab  team members: Tracy Wang, Schuyler Jones, Mike Nanna and Angela Lowenstern. Other Duke faculty members in attendance at CRT22 included Jenn Rymer, Dave Kong, Mitch Krucoff and Magnus Ohman as well as former Duke fellows Amit Voora and Matt Sherwood.


Kudos to Lin & Duke Regional Team

We received a wonderful note this week from Duke Regional Hospital president Katie Galbraith. She shared with us a letter she received about care provided to a patient (and their family) by Shu Lin and team.

“I received the letter below from one of our team members, whose loved one was recently a patient in our care. What a beautiful tribute to you and her entire care team! I continue to be amazed and inspired by the wonderfully caring people here at Duke Regional, and this letter reinforces what a special place this is … all because of team members like you and those highlighted in this letter.

Lisa, Sandy and Tom, could you send me the full names of your team members named in the letter, so I can reach out and personally thank them?”

With much appreciation, Katie Galbraith, President, Duke Regional Hospital

The letter states:

“I wanted to send an email to you on the really great care my Mom #2 (mother-in-law) received here recently.

My mother-in-law had been having some health issues over last 6 months and was diagnosed with a large benign tumor (myxoma). She had a cardiac catheterization done here on Friday 2/11 with Dr. Kamada. He, Dr. Lin and his team had excellent bedside manner with my Dad #2 (who is 82 and a little hard of hearing) and Mom. I was also present to hear the information he was giving them about follow up. They were all kind and answered all their questions not seeming rushed or like they had to be elsewhere and my father-in-law noticed that and appreciated as he knew “they are all very busy”.

Surgery was rapidly scheduled for Wednesday 2/16/22 as Dr. Lin explained it needed to happen sooner vs later. Dad was a little concerned at first as he felt her surgery due to the complexity should possibly have been done at Duke Medical Center (Duke University Hospital). Dr. Lin and his team and I reassured him that Duke Regional has all the same benefits and excellent providers that (DUH) has and she would be well taken care of here. She was pre-admitted on 2/15/22 to 5-2. There were many nurses/NAs she met and they were all great on 5-2. I personally remembered Julia, Sade, and a male student nurse that were especially kind. Her surgery took over 5 hours where she then went to the CCU. The nurses/OR team kept my father in law and his daughter updated throughout and commented on how kind everyone had been to them during this process as of course it was very hard for them waiting in the lobby for news. They allowed us to see her in the CCU that evening briefly and Jill whom we met first was amazing and very kind explaining what was going to happen that evening.

Barbara and Tyler from the CCU were also great and mentioned by my family as being great with Mom and Dad.

She was able to return to 5-2 the next day and Julia, Jordyn and David were all great working with her as she had some issues with her heart rate which was scary for my sister and father in law but they explained things clearly as well as Dr. Lin. Sade remembered her from her pre-admit and even came by to speak to her wishing her well and saying she was happy she was back on her floor.

She had PT and OT (of course) and Kellie and Loy did a wonderful job with her and she mentioned how kind they were (even though they made her walk further than she wanted).

Mom was able to return home that Sunday 2/20/22 and is happy to be home.

I have worked here at DRH for over 22 years. I know the challenges the hospital has with staff shortages and high work stress levels from COVID and general work duties.

I want you to know that I saw NONE of that with the people that were working with Mom (and her family) and they have nothing but good things to say about the care they received here. I will try to reach the staff members individually and their supervisors to thank them personally for their care but wanted leadership to know that although we have MANY daily challenges, we have wonderful and caring people working here and wouldn’t have wanted my family being treated anywhere else.”grateful family member, name withheld for privacy

Superb job by all! This is well-deserved recognition and great representation of Duke’s core values!

Shout-out to Chen, Sullivan & CTS team

Edward Chen

We received a note this week from a Press Ganey survey regarding members of the Duke Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery team:

“Dr. (Edward) Chen and his staff are just superior to any other heart specialists we have ever consulted.  Because of my long term HH, when I was given a preliminary diagnosis of Ascending Aortic Aneurysm and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy by [a hospital in Virginia] we decided to seek an immediate second opinion from the very best Thoracic Surgeon we could on the east coast. We are very blessed that Duke is in our own back yard and that Dr. Chen is here now and not in Texas or California. We called Dr. Chen’s office directly on Valentine’s Day and was given an immediate appointment for Thursday 2/17/22. Annette Sullivan was very kind and sent a FedEx label for us to overnight both the Echocardiogram and the CT results from (the Virginia) hospital to Dr. Chen’s office directly. His assessment was firm and amazing. My heart is fine. The Echocardiogram was misleading and the CT proved that there was nothing at all wrong with my heart. We had been in limbo since the second of February when the Echo was conducted. The CT was never read to us nor were any lab results posted on the patient portal by (the hospital in VA). Frankly their system leaves much to be desired. It was Dr. Chen who told us that we were fine. It was his expertise, his positive affirmation of good heart health. You have no idea as to the devastation my wife felt at the thought of the possible outcomes. She has true dilated cardiomyopathy. Her father had an AAA with EVAR. My father died suddenly of heart attack at age 67 and we both know what can happen with a C282Y gene mutation. We watch my heart, liver, pancreas and endocrine systems constantly. I have regular phlebotomies. I have had PVNS (giant cell tumors), treated by Dr. Briggman, Duke Orthopedic Oncology, with a great outcome BTW from another of your most excellent physicians. Needless to say, we are very relieved that Duke is in-network for us and that Dr. Edward Chen chooses to practice at Duke. To top off our experience with Dr. Chen and his staff, he promised to review our previous results from the (Virginia-based) system and call us when he had finished his assessment. This morning he called us and reassured us once again that my heart is doing fine. He is a very busy man, but he made the time for us, folks he does not even know. But he truly cares. This is what makes him an exceptional physician and a truly great man. Thank you Dr. Chen. God Speed.” – grateful patient, name withheld for privacy.

Wonderful feedback, Dr. Chen, Annette and team!


Bowers Involved AANP Heart Health Campaign

Midge Bowers lent her voice to a national campaign sponsored by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners last month. “Caring for your Heart and Your Heart Health” was aimed at patients and their caregivers. Bowers authored a blog post and narrated a two-minute video  for the campaign.

Great work, Midge! Way to represent Duke Heart!

Margaret “Midge” Bowers
School of Nursing faculty
studio headshot


Robert H. Jones Celebration of Life Held

The service of life in memory of Robert H. Jones, MD, professor emeritus of surgery (cardiovascular and thoracic) and a founder of Duke Heart Center was held yesterday, Saturday, March 5, at the Cole Mill Road Church of Christ in Durham, NC. The event was a touching tribute to Dr. Jones by members of his family and his church community. He was remembered for his adventurous spirit, humility, vision & perseverance, his concern for others, a deep and abiding faith, and his love for family. The in-person service was shared live via Zoom. We thank all who were able to attend and who have shown their support to the Jones family.

Shown here, flags lowered across the Duke campus in his memory on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.


ICYMI: Two CPT Pieces Highlight Duke Heart Programs

We wanted to be sure to highlight two recently published articles from Duke Health’s Clinical Practice Today. Many thanks to the Heart Transplant and Cardio-Oncology teams for taking time to give interviews. Clinical Practice Today (CPT) is distributed to referring physicians throughout the region and is an important vehicle for sharing and promoting the services we provide to patients as well as our latest research findings.


ICYMI: Newsweek Rankings of Best Specialty Hospitals

Newsweek, in its rankings of the Best Specialty Hospitals in the World, has ranked Duke University Hospital at #13 for Cardiology care and #18 for Cardiac Surgery care. See the full rankings for all specialties in the article below in News. Congratulations to all!

Voting for USNWR ‘Best Hospitals’ Open in Doximity

The survey period for U.S. News & World Report’s ‘Best Hospitals’ is open in Doximity through March 25. We encourage all those who are eligible to vote in the survey of “Best Hospitals for Cardiology and Heart Surgery” to consider casting a vote for Duke.

Reminder: paper surveys have been discontinued. The only way to vote in the survey is online via Doximity.

If you have not yet claimed your profile on this platform, you can do so at any time during the voting period.

  • Go to com
  • Enter your first and last name on the home screen
  • Click on the ‘Find My Profile’ button

A survey will display in your profile until you vote or the survey closes on March 25, 2022.


COVID-19 Updates

The COVID-19 Employee Hotline hours are changing to reflect recent utilization trends. Beginning March 1, the hotline will be available during these times:

  • Monday — Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday — Sunday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The phone number for the hotline is 919-385-0429 (option 1).


All the latest Clinical Operations updates related to COVID can be found at https://covid-19.dukehealth.org.


Upcoming Events & Opportunities

Cardiology Grand Rounds

March 8: Lipoprotein (a): Unveiling the Mysterious Biomarker with Nishant Shah. 5 p.m. via Webex.

Upcoming Duke Heart CME

April 23: Duke Sports Cardiology & Sudden Death in Athletes Symposium with course directors Jim Daubert and Bill Kraus. Virtual. For information or to register, contact Christy Darnell christy.darnell@duke.edu or 919-880-8686.


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. Submissions by Noon, Wednesdays, to be considered for weekend inclusion.

Duke Heart in the News:

February 27 — Anthony Peters


Case Summary – Dyspnea with an LVAD: A Tale of Hypoxia and Hemodynamics


February 28 — E. Magnus Ohman

Medpage Today

Heart Failure Patients Still Undertested for CAD


March 2 — Adrian Hernandez

RT magazine

Study to Test Higher Dose of Ivermectin for Mild-to-Moderate COVID-19


March 2 — Jonathan Piccini

WQAD ABC-8 (Davenport, IA)

YOUR HEALTH: Checking your rhythm all of the time


March 2 — Brandi Bottiger (CT Anesthesiology)

The National Tribune

Mode of intraoperative support impacts primary graft dysfunction after lung transplant


March 4 — Adrian Hernandez

ABC News

Group of physicians combats misinformation as unproven COVID-19 treatments continue to be prescribed


March 2022 — Duke University Hospital


The World’s Best Specialized Hospitals 2022


Division of Cardiology Publications Indexed in PubMed February 24- March 2, 2022

Emmens JE, Ter Maaten JM, Matsue Y, Figarska SM, Sama IE, Cotter G, Cleland JGF, Davison BA, Felker GM, Givertz MM, Greenberg B, Pang PS, Severin T, Gimpelewicz C, Metra M, Voors AA, Teerlink JR. Worsening renal function in acute heart failure in the context of diuretic response. Eur J Heart Fail 2022;24(2):365-374. PM: 34786794.

Gajewski P, Fudim M, Kittipibul V, Engelman ZJ, Biegus J, Zymliński R, Ponikowski P. Early Hemodynamic Changes following Surgical Ablation of the Right Greater Splanchnic Nerve for the Treatment of Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction. J Clin Med 2022;11(4):1063. PM: 35207336.

Garg K, Patel TR, Kanwal A, Villines TC, Aggarwal NR, Nasir K, Blumenthal RS, Blaha MJ, Douglas PS, Shaw LJ, Sharma G. The evolving role of coronary computed tomography in understanding sex differences in coronary atherosclerosis. J Cardiovasc Comput Tomogr 2022;16(2):138-149. PM: 34654676.

Nikolakopoulos I, Vemmou E, Xenogiannis I, Karacsonyi J, Rao SV, Romagnoli E, Tsigkas G, Milkas A, Velagapudi P, Alaswad K, Rangan BV, Garcia S, Burke MN, Brilakis ES. Radial versus femoral access in patients with coronary artery bypass surgery: Frequentist and Bayesian meta-analysis. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2022;99(2):462-471. PM: 34779096.

Schubert R, Geoffroy E, Gregga I, Mulford AJ, Aguet F, Ardlie K, Gerszten R, Clish C, Van Den Berg D, Taylor KD, Durda P, Johnson WC, Cornell E, Guo X, Liu Y, Tracy R, Conomos M, Blackwell T, Papanicolaou G, Lappalainen T, Mikhaylova AV, Thornton TA, Cho. Protein prediction for trait mapping in diverse populations. PLoS One 2022 ;17(2):e0264341. PM: 35202437.

Shahid I, Khan MS, Sohail A, Khan SU, Greene SJ, Fudim M, Michos ED. Evaluation of Representation of Women as Authors in Pivotal Trials Supporting US Food and Drug Administration Approval of Novel Cardiovascular Drugs. JAMA Netw Open 2022;5(2):e220035. PM: 35212753.

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