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Duke Heart Pulse — September 24, 2023

Highlights of the week:

Pendyal Joins Duke Heart Team

This weekend we are introducing another of our newest cardiology faculty members. Akshay Pendyal, MD, MHS, joined the Duke Heart team as an assistant professor of medicine in cardiology on August 30. He came to us from Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte where he practiced as a general cardiologist.

Akshay Pendyal, MD

Pendyal is a Chapel Hill, NC native who holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and who then returned to Chapel Hill to earn his MD at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. His internal medicine residency was conducted at the University of Colorado Hospitals in Denver; he then went on to cardiology fellowship at Oregon Health & Science University before earning an MHS through the National Clinician Scholars Program (formerly called the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program) at Yale University.

At Yale, he did advanced research training in health services, research outcomes, and health policy. Pendyal says he wasn’t really using his academic background while with Novant, and he really missed it. He says a big part of the appeal in joining the Duke faculty is the opportunity to work again in an academic environment, to conduct research, and to teach.

Pendyal enjoys being a general cardiologist because it allows him to see adult patients with a wide spectrum of cardiovascular disease — common conditions such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and heart rhythm problems. In particular, he values the opportunity to develop longitudinal relationships with patients, and helping them maintain their care over time in partnership with sub-specialists.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is the care of the patient in the hospital just kind of the beginning,” says Pendyal. “After that, I think, is the much more important piece, which is making sure that somebody is on the right set of medications, that we can adjust those medications accordingly, and quite honestly that we’re not imposing too much of a treatment burden on patients.”

He says this is something he finds important to incorporate in his clinical practice.

“It’s really hard, I think, to be a patient — especially a patient with a complex chronic cardiovascular illness. This ties into my research interest, which is the treatment burden imposed on patients who are already vulnerable and who are already facing numerous kinds of social barriers. In particular, I think it is important to consider housing instability, or homelessness. That was a big focus of my research when I was at Yale. I’m particularly interested in vulnerable or marginalized patients and their interactions with the healthcare system and seeking ways to improve this.”

Akshay and his wife, Meredith Niess, have two sons ages 3 and 5. When Pendyal has a bit of free time, he enjoys creative writing and poetry.

Please give him a warm welcome when you see him!


30th Annual Meeting of NC & SC Chapters, ACC: Highlights

The 30th anniversary conference of the NC and SC chapters of the American College of Cardiology has been taking place this weekend, Sept. 22-24, at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. 

Duke fellows have had a huge presence there, and we are thrilled to announce that our Duke cardiology team of Manasi Tannu, Mark Kittipibul, and Belal Suleiman won the NC/SC Fellows-in-Training (FIT) Jeopardy Championship today! 

Additionally, Kiki Osude led a FIT Seminar that was well-attended; Nishant Shah gave a talk on the revolution of cardiometabolic diseases, and Manasi Tannu and Jenn Rymer were formally awarded the Disparities Research Grant from the ACC NC chapter for their project that aims to increase screening for PAD at historically black churches in the Durham area.  


Special thanks to Jenn Rymer, Nishant Shah, and Anna Lisa Chamis for submitting photos. A huge congratulations to all on a successful and fun weekend!


Jackson Featured in AHA AFib Webinar

Larry Jackson II

Electrophysiologist Larry Jackson, II, MD, appeared in a Sept. 12 American Heart Association (AHA) webinar to help promote awareness and understanding of ablation therapy for

atrial fibrillation. The webinar, ‘AFib Ablation — Who, What, and Why?’ can be found here (free registration required to view). 

The webinar was offered by the AHA as part of their AFib Awareness Month series. More than 300 people registered for the event and, as of last week, nearly as many people had viewed the recording. Jackson spoke on the history of catheter ablation, the biophysics of ablation, patient selection, safety, post-ablation management and care, and the dynamics of health equity regarding AFib.

The webinar is well worth checking out!

Nicely done, Larry. Great work!



Upcoming Bed Relocation: DN2200, 7200

Duke University Hospital has a master plan to increase the capacity of Emergency Department beds. As a result, several changes will occur in October involving the relocation of two units. 

Duke North 2200 will close on October 26 and the Emergency Department will relocate from Duke North 7200 to 2200 for a gain of 8 beds for their department. On October 30, 8 Cardiology Step-Down beds will open on 7200 (7201-7208) for a total of 24 Cardiology Step-Down beds between 3200 and 7200.

The move will allow Heart Services to be located on the 3rd and 7th floors in Duke North. Stay tuned for additional details on the upcoming move. We’ll share it here in Pulse!


Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • September is National AFib Awareness month and Women in Medicine month
  • We’re celebrating National Advanced Practice Provider (APP) week: September 25-29. Thank you to all of our Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and CRNAs throughout Duke Heart!
  • Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month.
  • Flu vaccination at Duke began this week – make sure to get yours!
  • Masking for patients, visitors, and team members is strongly recommended throughout all clinical areas during respiratory virus season (Sept. 15- Mar. 1, 2024).


Cardiology Grand Rounds

Sept. 26: Research Funding and Applications, Including the Current DOMRA/ORA Landscape, Rules, and Regulations with Chris Holley, Denise Wynn, and Krista Camigula. 5 p.m. DN 2002 or via Zoom.

CD Fellows Core Curriculum Conference

Sept. 29: Diabetes and Heart Disease with Nishant Shah. Noon. Zoom only.

ICYMI: Medicine Grand Rounds, Sept. 15

Medicine Grand Rounds welcomed Chet Patel on Sept. 15 for his lecture, Heart Transplant at Duke: Tradition and Innovation. Recording available here.

DCRI Research Forum

Sept. 26: A fireside chat with NIMHD director Eliseo J. Perez-Stable, MD. Noon. Zoom only.


NCHA: Creating Healthier Communities, Part 1 (Urban), Sept. 26

The NC Healthcare Association will host a virtual town hall – “Creating Healthier Communities” – on Tuesday, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. The town hall will focus on community benefits provided by North Carolina’s hospitals and health systems, highlighting work with local employers, schools, faith organizations and other partners to build healthier, vibrant communities. Debra Clark Jones, Associate Vice President for Community Health at Duke Heath, will participate as a panelist with other healthcare leaders from around the state. Free. Register here.

Duke Football Healthcare Appreciation Day: Sept 30

Duke Football invites all Duke Health employees to Healthcare Appreciation Day on Saturday, September 30 when they take on Notre Dame in Wallace Wade Stadium! As a token of appreciation, all healthcare workers, families, and friends can purchase discounted tickets here: https://duke.is/9/ne4n

Sept. 30: Duke Football vs. Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. Wallace Wade Stadium.

Call for Applications: 2024 Leadership Programs

The Office for Faculty announced this week the call for applications for their 2024 Leadership Programs, including ADVANCE-UP, ALICE, DCLP, and LEADER. Click here to learn more. Applications are due Nov. 3.

Register Now: 15th Annual Pulmonary Hypertension Symposium

The 15th annual NC Research Triangle Pulmonary Hypertension Symposium will be held on Friday, November 17th at the Durham Convention Center. Faculty directors will be H. James Ford, MD, director of the PH program at UNC, and Terry Fortin, MD, co-director of the Pulmonary Vascular Disease Center at Duke. Registration is now open: https://duke.is/9/7rs5. Please join us!

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:

September 15 — Robert Mentz

Managed Healthcare Executive

Intravenous Iron for Patients With Heart Failure? Recent Research Goes Against the Grain.


September 15 — David Harpole

Cancer Network

Durvalumab Combo Yields No Clear Benefit in Early-Stage EGFR+ NSCLC


September 18 — Robert Mentz


Since FDA Approval, Several Studies Highlight Benefits of IV Ferric Carboxymaltose


September 18 — Larry Jackson


Top in cardiology: BP control declines during winter; National AF Awareness Month


September 18 — Manesh Patel

Medscape/The Bob Harrington Show

SCD in Athletes: Lessons From High-Profile Cases


September 19 — Duke Health

Becker’s Hospital Review

26 health systems preferred twice as much as competitors


September 19 — Jacob Schroder and Carmelo Milano


How Scientists Make our Lives Brighter, Longer and More Convenient


September 19 — Pamela Douglas


‘Shocking’ Sexual Misconduct in Surgery Survey Prompts New Calls for Change


September 21 — Duke Hospital

Cardiovascular Business

The 50 best hospitals in the world for cardiac surgery




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