Home » Uncategorized » Duke Heart Pulse — December 17, 2023

Duke Heart Pulse — December 17, 2023

Chief’s message:

Happy holidays! This is our final Pulse of 2023 – so, as we close out the calendar year, thank you for all the terrific work you have done this year and for your many good-news submissions to us. We look forward to 2024 where we will continue to focus on the difference we can make in each others lives, our community, and the future leaders of cardiovascular medicine.

We are taking the next two weekends off. We’ll return with the latest news and shout-outs on Sunday, Jan. 7. On behalf of the Duke Heart leadership team, we wish each of you and your loved ones a safe and joyous New Year.

Please find some photos from the Duke Heart Center Holiday Party Photo Booth at the end of the pulse this week.

Highlights of the week:

Heart Team Clears 150 Transplants for 2023; Surpasses 2000 Total

We are thrilled to share that our Heart Transplant team has set a new record! The team has now transplanted more than 150 hearts this year – a feat we believe no other U.S. institution has achieved. They also surpassed a program milestone: transplanting our 2000th recipient one week ago today. The numbers include pediatric and adult transplant cases.

“I am really proud of the work the team did this year,” says advanced heart failure specialist Adam DeVore, MD, medical director of Duke’s Heart Transplant Program. “The volume and the numbers we have reached are a big deal, but when you think about what they represent —  the number of lives we have impacted, it’s pretty amazing. Just think about how many kids went on to grow up, and parents who were able to continue raising their kids, and grandparents who were able to see their families grow. We’ve helped a remarkable number of people and that is what it’s all about.”

Cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Jeff Keenan, MD, performed Duke’s 2000th heart transplant last weekend. Keenan, who did his surgical residency and training at Duke, recently returned to Duke after two years on the faculty of the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.

“I think for our entire team and program, this is a great accomplishment,” says Keenan. “This reflects a great commitment to our patients with advanced heart failure from the institution and the whole team. It reflects a whole lot of hard work from a lot of people over a long period.”

DeVore’s pride in the team is palpable.

“This is a really remarkable achievement, and I am proud to be part of it. I cannot overstate how important this success is overall for Duke Heart Center. This is not a transplant achievement,” says DeVore, “This is a result of the entire Duke Heart team. These patients are cared for within the Heart Center for a long time before they need a heart transplant. Then, even afterward, our patients continue to be touched by all the different areas within Heart services – from cardiac imaging to the cardiac catheterization lab and electrophysiology, and all of the care units – this is a huge testament to what we’re able to do here, together, within Duke Heart.”

Reaching this number of successful transplants goes beyond just a handful of people, DeVore and Keenan both say. The success is due to the efforts of literally hundreds of people contributing over many years.

“Contributions come from across the spectrum. From everyone who takes care of these patients,” Keenan says. “This includes cardiology, our transplant coordinators, the support teams, social workers, our cardiothoracic anesthesiology team, our OR and CTICU support teams, and then all of the staff and support coming through Duke Hospital – and I’m sure there are a lot of people who do things to support us that I have no idea about that make everything ultimately work.”

DeVore notes the energy and dedication of Jacob Schroder, MD, surgical director of the Heart Transplant program. “Jacob has been like the engine for this team. He really has been a driving force and has done so much for the program. We have a great team, we’re doing great work, and love working together.”

Duke’s heart transplant program, established in 1985, has experienced annual growth for nearly a decade, according to DeVore. “It has grown every year since 2015, which is remarkable. Year over year, growth like this is difficult to sustain, but there are no signs of letting up. He says the growth has come through partnering with other great heart failure programs throughout the southeast, and also through innovation and research.

“Any time we’re a part of new discovery, that’s a great thing,” DeVore adds. “But to be able to do it and immediately impact care and see results like this is really, really rewarding and certainly a great thing. Hopefully, we can take this and educate other centers on how to do this so we can keep expanding transplant across the globe, too.”

Congratulations to all for a great year!


Ngeno Among Five Recipients of Inaugural Corey Legacy Award

Congratulations to cardiologist Titus Ngeno, MD, MSc-GH, assistant professor of medicine! Ngeno is among five inaugural recipients of the Dr. G. Ralph Corey Legacy Award. The awardees were announced last week by the Hubert-Yeargan Center and Duke Clinical Research Institute, the partnering organizations that created the award and established a research fund to carry on Dr. Corey’s vision of “developing the next generation of globally educated, socially responsible clinician educators and scientists dedicated to improving health equity at home and abroad.”

Ngeno and Neelima Navuluri, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary, allergy, and critical care, together were named awardees for their collaborative research project, Validation of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Patient Related Outcome Measures among Adults in Kenya” which will be conducted at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya.

Cardiopulmonary diseases are the leading cause of death globally and exert a disproportionate burden of morbidity in low income regions of the world such as Sub-Saharan Africa. One effective intervention for treatment of cardiopulmonary disease is cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. Such rehabilitation involves a comprehensive set of patient-tailored treatments such as aerobic exercise, endurance training, strength exercises, education, and behavior change designed to improve physical and psychological well-being among patients with chronic cardiac and pulmonary disease. It improves exercise tolerance, functional status, respiratory symptoms, depressive symptoms and quality of life among patients with chronic cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as heart failure, chronic obstructive lung disease and post-tuberculosis lung disease.

However, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is not widely available in most of sub-saharan Africa, including in Kenya, according to the team’s project proposal. Thus, there is a critical need for further implementation studies to increase evidence for and availability of rehab programs. 

Ngeno and Navuluri’s co-principal investigators include Neil MacIntyre, professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary, allergy, and critical care; Dr. David Lagat of Moi University School of Medicine, and Dr. Carolyne Lusweti, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Ngeno and Navuluri’s project aims to assess which cardiopulmonary functional assessment and quality of life measures are most appropriate for the Kenyan setting. The study will enroll 102 participants comprising healthy controls, patients with pulmonary disease (chronic obstructive lung disease, post-tuberculosis lung disease), and patients with cardiac disease (valvular and non-valvular disease, heart failure). Functional capacity and quality of life assessments will be compared across groups. The project findings will yield insight into which metrics would be most appropriate for routine clinical assessments as well as establish reference ranges for future research studies.

Additional inaugural recipients are Hutton Chapman, MD, Sharla Rent, MD, and Sweta Patel, MD. To learn more about the Corey Legacy Award, visit https://duke.is/6/dm83; to read about the other research projects funded this year, please see the lead story in the Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health’s latest quarterly newsletter: HYC Happenings – Fall 2023

Congratulations, Titus!


Kudos to Melissa Williams!

Congratulations to Duke Heart Center of Excellence team member Melissa Williams! Williams graduated from Duke Management Academy’s year-long program on Wed., Dec. 13. The program, created for mid-level managers, is part of Duke’s commitment to develop leaders at all levels within Duke University and Health System. Williams is clinical manager of our registry team in CV Informatics and Quality Improvement.

Her team (comprised of Williams, Keith Holder, Aris Marton, Katherine Fox, and Danielle Wiggins) received the best presentation and paper award for their project, “Help at Students’ Fingers:  A Mobile App to Navigate Well-being Resources”.

Way to go, Melissa!


Duke Heart continuing innovation with Impella RP Flex

Imran and Jeff worked together placing the first RP Flex Impella this week.  Some pictures included.  This is gratifying after our team worked to help with some of the first RP trial patients in the OR and cath labs.  Great work team!


New publications from the Duke Heart Team

Congratulations to Bill Kraus, MD and his co-authors on their latest publication!

The Science of Precision Prevention: Research Opportunities and Clinical Applications to Reduce Cardiovascular Health Disparities was published online this week in JACC: Advances.


Duke Health Signs Pledge for Ethical, Responsible AI in Health Care

Duke Health is among a leading group of health systems and payers from across the U.S. to sign a pledge advancing ethical and responsible use of Artificial Intelligence technology in health care.

The pledge announced today at the annual conference hosted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, is a voluntary commitment to the principles of safety, security and trust that are fundamental to the future of AI.

“AI presents unequalled potential for advancing health with new scientific discoveries, improved diagnoses and treatment of diseases and better systems that free our workers to dedicate their expertise to patient care rather than administrative chores,” said Craig T. Albanese, MD, chief executive officer of Duke University Health System. 

“But we recognize that AI also has the potential to be misused,” Albanese said. “By signing this pledge, we are publicly stating our commitment to work toward the better good.”

Mary Klotman, MD, executive vice president for health affairs at Duke University and dean of Duke University School of Medicine, said establishing Duke’s role as a leader in trustworthy AI has been an institutional priority for years and is foundational to advancing better health.

“This pledge actually reflects many years of work that Duke Health has already undertaken to establish the infrastructures we need to pursue AI with integrity,” Klotman said. “It puts us on record with our commitment.”

In addition to signing the pledge, Duke Health has been a founding member of the Coalition for Health AI, or CHAI, established to develop guidelines and guardrails for fair and credible applications of AI in health care.

Duke Health has also built a framework for the governance and evaluation of clinical algorithms used throughout the organization. Duke’s Algorithm-Based Clinical Decision Support framework is designed to foster innovative, safe, equitable, and high-quality patient care. This is achieved with human oversight throughout the use of an AI program to ensure that transparency, quality, and ownership are maintained.

“First and foremost, AI should serve humans,” said Michael Pencina, PhD, Duke Health’s chief data scientist and director of Duke AI Health. “It’s imperative that AI is developed and applied in a trustworthy manner, and we have been engaged in establishing that foundation for the last few years, as evidenced by our role in CHAI and recent publications. We are not catching up on this — it’s something that has been a differentiator in terms of being careful and proactive — and our signature on the pledge is a further confirmation of our commitments.”


ICYMI: December Leadership Town Hall

The latest Duke University Health System Leadership Town Hall video from Tuesday, Dec. 12, is now available on Leadership Café. Check it out when you get some time. Leadership Town Hall is held via Zoom on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 12-12:45 p.m.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • Masking is strongly recommended throughout all clinical areas during respiratory virus season, from now through early March. It is currently mandatory in 7E/CICU through 12/21.
  • Lots of holiday fun in-house throughout the holiday season! Be sure to check out Season’s Greetings Bingo; pop-up Cheer Stations (13th-18th); and Tribute Snowflakes: An Act of Remembrance in the corridor from DMP to Duke Central Tower throughout December. Details on the DUH SharePoint site.
  • Everyone working at DUH on Monday, Dec. 25 is invited to enjoy a complementary holiday meal.

Cardiology Grand Rounds

Dec. 19: AHA Recap, part 2 with Manesh Patel and Kristin Newby. 5 p.m., DN 2002 or via Zoom.

All 2023 Duke Cardiology Grand Rounds recordings are housed on Warpwire. The AHA Recap, Part 1 from Dec. 12 has been uploaded. To access recordings please visit: https://duke.is/DukeCGR; NET ID and password required. Enjoy!

CD Fellows Core Curriculum Conference

Dec. 20: EP Case Presentation with Ivan Nenadic Wood and Husam Salah. DMP 2W96 (in-person only).

Dec. 22: No CD Fellows Core Curriculum conference today. Happy holidays!

MDEpiNet: RAPID PASSION CV Virtual Think Tank, Jan. 9

Predictable And SuStainable Implementation Of National CardioVascular Registries: PASSION CVR — Registry-Supported Infrastructure Development for Prospective Trials: Pathways for DEI and “Long, Long” Term Vital Status Use Cases

Tuesday, January 9, 2024, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST

Meeting Objectives:

  • Pragmatic aspects of CV device research approaches to DEI issues.
  • Pragmatic aspects of developing a streamlined, high quality, “long, long” (> 5 yr) vital status profile that could be predictably and reliably accessed by clinical trial sponsors and sufficient for public health safety assessments going forward.

Click Here to register!


Office of Faculty Announces Event with Israni of Stanford Medicine, Feb. 26

Academic Medicine, with all its complexities, naturally includes conflict amongst its crucial collaborators – trainees, faculty, staff, communities and more. 21st century leadership skills require all of us to strategically leverage components of this conflict for constructive change, with intentional and thoughtful actions. This talk will weave together themes from restorative justice and design thinking; and how they can be applied to artificial intelligence and JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion), offering a case for new ways of leveraging conflict to advance a culture of connectedness and belonging. The featured speaker will be Sonoo Thadaney Israni of Stanford University’s Presence Center.

February 26: Leveraging Conflict for Constructive Change. 4-5:30 p.m., DN 2002. Presented by the Office for Faculty. Refreshments will follow. To learn more and register: https://duke.is/8/8d7f.  

Call for Abstracts: Duke’s Annual Quality & Safety Conference

Save the date for Duke’s Annual Quality and Safety Conference scheduled for April 11 in the Trent Semans Center. Click here to view Abstract Guidelines. Abstracts are due by 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2023. Late submissions will not be accepted. Contact cynthia.gordon@duke.edu or kyle.rehder@duke.edu with any questions. 

Upcoming CME Symposia for Spring, 2024

Heads up on some CME dates you might want to put on the calendar for next year. Our Duke Sports Cardiology & Sudden Death in Athletes symposium will be held at the Trent Semans Center on Friday, April 12, 2024. And our Duke Heart Failure Symposium will be held at the Durham Hilton on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Registration won’t be open for a while, but if you have any questions about either event, please reach out to Christy Darnell.

As soon as registration opens, we’ll have that listed here in Pulse.


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:

December 5 — Nishant Shah and Neha Pagidipati


Meet the Newest Acronym in Primary Care: CKM

December 6 — Stephen Greene

HCP Live

Semaglutide: The Drug of Today and a Steppingstone to Tomorrow

December 7 — Joseph Turek, Paul Martin, and the Nolasco family

Texas Tribune

How one family carved out Medicaid coverage for a rare treatment

December 9 — Jonathan Piccini

The Washington Post

Cold weather may raise the risk of this heart problem

December 11 — Marat Fudim


The Four Stages of Congestive Heart Failure

December 11 — Svati Shah

American Heart Association Newsroom

Scholars named for research leadership program to increase diversity in clinical trials

December 11 — Jacob Schroder

The Hearty Soul

Doctors Brought Dead Heart ‘back to life’ For Groundbreaking Transplant**

**originally published in Jan. 2020; this is an updated version



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