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Duke Heart Pulse — January 28, 2024

Highlights of the week:

Schroder Named Surgical Director for Advanced Heart Failure

We are pleased to share that Jacob N. Schroder, MD, assistant professor of surgery, has been named Surgical Director for Advanced Heart Failure of Duke Health’s Heart and Vascular Service line and the Duke Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. The announcement was made Monday by Duke Surgery and Duke Heart leadership.

Jacob Schroder

Dr. Schroder earned his Medical Degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed both his general and cardiothoracic surgery residencies, as well as thoracic transplant surgery fellowship, at Duke University. He then joined the Duke Department of Surgery faculty in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2012.

Since then, Dr. Schroder has helped lead transplant growth and innovation within the Duke Heart program while maintaining a deep passion for the care of advanced heart failure patients. In 2017, he accepted the role of surgical director of cardiac transplantation and has led the program to marked volume growth while maintaining outstanding survival outcomes. In 2023, Duke completed 161 heart transplants, which is the greatest annual number at any institution worldwide. In addition, the program has surpassed 2,000 total heart transplants, which has only been achieved by a handful of other programs in the U.S.

In his new role as Surgical Director for Advanced Heart Failure, he will not only oversee heart transplantation but will also oversee the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) program, the Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) program, and the Total Artificial Heart program at Duke. Additionally, Jacob will oversee conventional cardiac surgery procedures in patients with severely reduced left ventricular function. As part of his new role he will assemble a team of surgeons and multidisciplinary team members to deliver these therapies, oversee research efforts throughout these areas, and continue to drive innovation.

Dr. Schroder has been a leader in perfusion storage and was the first surgeon in North America to perform an adult heart transplant utilizing a donation after cardiac death (DCD) donor. He led the U.S. Organ Care System DCD Heart Trial, which was published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine. Importantly, the strategy of utilizing DCD donors has served to expand the donor pool by as much as 30% at adopting centers. He has also reinvigorated the combined heart–lung transplant program and facilitated increased volume in other combined heart-kidney and heart-liver transplant procedures. Jacob has also served as co-director of the 7West  Cardiothoracic  Intensive Care Unit (CTICU), creating an environment of enhanced patient care with collaborative surgical and intensivist oversight. He has led the application of mechanical circulatory support at Duke and performed the first successful CARMAT total artificial heart implant in North America in 2021.

In summary, he has displayed incredible dedication and passion for heart failure care and has worked tirelessly to expand our footprint in the treatment of these patients.

Congratulations, Jacob!


St. Jude Children’s Invests $13M in Duke, Columbia, and Stanford Collaboration

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has invested nearly $13 million toward a new collaboration with researchers at Duke, Columbia, and Stanford Universities to expand the understanding of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR), vital proteins that have been linked to more than 100 human diseases and disorders.

The GPCR Collaborative is led by Scott Blanchard, PhD, and M. Madan Babu, PhD, of St. Jude’s. The two are partnering with Jonathan Javitch, MD, PhD, of Columbia University; Georgios Skiniotis, PhD, and Alice Ting, PhD, of Stanford University, and Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, of Duke University School of Medicine and Duke Cardiovascular Research Center.

Lefkowitz, a cardiologist and biochemist, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2012 for his studies of G-protein coupled receptors. He received the award with Brian Kobilka, MD, of Stanford.

The multi-institutional GPCR Collaborative team will integrate and improve advanced methodologies including single-molecule imaging, cryo-electron microscopy, data science, and other techniques to study GPCR biology, structure, and pharmacology. Building on insights from these studies, investigators hope to develop new therapies for many pediatric diseases, including cancer and other life-threatening conditions.

“Each group within the collaborative has a very different focus, yet there’s overlap in the methods we use in our laboratories. We each have a distinct emphasis and expertise that is lacking in the other groups,” says Lefkowitz, Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Duke and member of Duke Cancer Institute. “What my lab brings to the table is, first of all, our very long history in the field. My involvement with the receptors goes back more than 50 years. So we have the long view — the history – of working with GPCRs, but we also bring a pharmacological, biochemical, and clinical perspective to the endeavor.”

The goal of the collaboration is to use the biophysical expertise of the teams to interrogate the receptors in a very deep way to try to assist in developing new strategies to develop drugs, according to Lefkowitz.

“Many of the other investigators in the collaboration bring a deep biophysical and structural orientation to the table. So the hope and expectation are for real synergy to emerge from bringing these different approaches to bear, especially from individuals who have already demonstrated successful collaborations with one another.”

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital has funded six different Research Collaborative projects since 2017, including the GPCR Collaborative, with an investment of more than $80 million. By 2027, St. Jude plans to support even more collaborations focused on unanswered needs in science and medicine which will increase total investment to $160 million.

Congratulations, Bob!


Williams Receives TSF Award at STS 2024

Congratulations to cardiothoracic surgeon Adam Williams who has received the Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF) Every Heartbeat Matters Award for medical outreach in Honduras via our Duke Heart for Honduras program. The announcement was made during The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) 60th Annual Meeting being held this weekend (Jan. 27-29) in San Antonio, TX.

The TSF, which is the philanthropic arm of the STS, offers grants of up to $35,000 for qualified surgeons who conduct charity surgical outreach work in underserved regions with underserved populations. The grant is designed to provide support for programs that educate, screen, and/or treat underserved populations to reduce the global burden of heart valve disease and other programs that advance healthcare and address underserved populations. The Every Heartbeat Matters Award is made possible through the support of Edwards Lifesciences Foundation.

Duke Heart for Honduras is an international cardiovascular surgical outreach partnership program launched in 2019 between the Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Duke and the Instituto Nacional Cardiopulmonar (INCP) in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The socioeconomic climate of Honduras has made the provision of healthcare to its 9.5 million inhabitants difficult. There is a high rate of poverty, political instability, frequent natural disasters, and very few physicians available to diagnose and treat heart disease, let alone perform surgical cardiac interventions.

There is essentially only one cardiovascular surgeon in all of Honduras – Dr. Hugo Orellana, of the Instituto Nacional Cardiopulmonar (INCP) – with whom the Duke team collaborates. The INCP is a public hospital built roughly 75 years ago to provide specialized care for patients with tuberculosis, pulmonary, and cardiovascular diseases. The hospital has two operating rooms available. When resources permit, cardiac surgery is performed in those spaces.

“This award is key for us to continue these missions to Honduras, because it will essentially help fund all the flights we need to get the team down there,” said Williams. “That’s the biggest expense we have, so we are very excited and grateful to receive this award.”

Williams says the funding will be used to support the team’s next medical mission to Honduras, which is planned for May 11-18, 2024.

Congratulations, Adam — we are thrilled for you and the Duke Heart for Honduras team! Note: We’ll have more coverage from STS next weekend.


ICYMI: Latest Duke Publication on Diversity in Cardiology Fellowships

Congratulations to Sarah Snow, Pamela Douglas, and Brooke Alhanti for their latest publication in JAMA Cardiology. Recruiting a Diverse Cardiology Physician Workforce was published online Jan. 24, 2024.

The team reports their findings on changes in the representation of women and underrepresented racial and ethnic populations in cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular subspecialty fellowships. Using data from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education the team found percentages of women trainees in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology fellowships significantly increased from 2008 to 2022. While percentages of Black and Hispanic trainees in these fellowships have increased in recent years, the change is not yet statistically significant, according to the authors.

Great job on an incredibly important topic, Sarah, Pam, and Brooke!


Loring, Piccini Appear in Latest Episode of Heart Rhythm TV

Congrats to Zak Loring and Jon Piccini for appearing in a great episode of Heart Rhythm TV. The episode, The Natural History of AF – An Echocardiographic Study was posted to the Heart Rhythm channel on YouTube yesterday.

The two were interviewed by host Roderick Tung about their latest publication, Natural history of echocardiographic changes in atrial fibrillation: A case-controlled study of longitudinal remodeling, appearing in the January 2024 issue of Heart Rhythm Journal.

Nicely done – great interview, Jon and Zak!


Jule Named ANM, 6 East

We are excited to share that Annette Jule, BSN, RN, MPH, MSN, has been named the new 6 East assistant nurse manager (ANM), effective Jan. 2, 2024. Annette was born and raised in New York City and obtained her BSN from Long Island University Brooklyn Campus. She has nursing experience in transplant, med/surg, and critical care. She relocated to Florida and while there was promoted to leadership roles in nursing both at Baptist Hospital of Miami and HCA Kendall. During this time she obtained her MPH at George Washington University and MSN in nursing leadership at Nova Southeastern University.

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Annette in her new role!


Kudos to Keenan & CT Surgery Team!

We received a warm note from DUH chief medical officer David Gallagher letting us know about patient feedback on Jeffrey Keenan and members of the CT Surgery team.

“Jeff, we received this nice feedback (from Press Ganey HCAHPS) about the great care you and your team gave to a patient at Duke Hospital. Thank you for the high quality and compassionate care you provide to patients! Jill, thanks to all the heart surgery staff who helped this patient! Great team!” — David Gallagher, MD, chief medical officer

“I can’t say enough on how grateful I am towards my doctor Jeffrey Keenan and all staff that helped me recover from my heart surgery.” — grateful patient, name withheld for privacy


Kudos to Parker & CTICU Team!

Kudos to Phillip Parker, nurse manager of the CTICU, and the whole CTICU team for their amazing partnership and floating ICU nurses to the OTC at Duke Hospital last week.

Their teamwork is helping capacity rise to 150 in the next few weeks. Great job!


Latest Duke Heart/Med-IQ CME Course Now Available

Managing Mitral Regurgitation Based on the Mechanism of Disease, a Med-IQ CME course with Andrew Wang is now live. To learn more, please click here.


Duke Research and Innovation Week

Starting Monday, Jan. 29, Duke is hosting its annual Research and Innovation Week–this time, with a Centennial twist. Join the Office for Research & Innovation for a week of exciting events, panels, and showcases to celebrate the past, present, and future of research and innovation at Duke.

It will include discussions on:

  • Depolarizing Political Toxicity on Social Media
  • Duke and NCCU’s Ongoing Partnerships and Collaboration
  • Race, Ethnicity and Politics Research
  • Many more great topics!

Consider attending the Research Town Hall on Jan. 31 featuring Brian McAdoo, Ross McKinney, Michael Pencina, Geeta Swamy, and Kanecia Zimmerman speaking on Integrity in Scholarship: The Next 100 Years. Or, on Feb. 1, check out the session on Duke Research in 2124 with panelist Muath Bishawi, or Duke and the FDA with Lesley Curtis, Mark McClellan, and Ehsan Samei.

A great week is planned! Learn more here.


National Wear Red Day is Friday

On Friday, Feb. 2, please join us in celebrating National Wear Red Day! This annual event is a visible means of showing your support and enthusiasm for working with cardiovascular patients and heart disease survivors. No need to don a completely crimson outfit! Red accessories such as socks, shoes, ties, or earrings are a great way to show you are participating in Wear Red Day! (Note: If your work area at Duke Health requires a uniform of specific color, you must adhere to that dress code policy.)

Kick-off Heart Month by wearing some red on Friday. Another event to consider is:

  • 22 – AHA Triangle Hands-Only CPR demonstration, Noon, via Zoom. To register please click here.


Reminder: Tier 2 Status

We are currently in Tier 2 visitation status throughout Duke University Health System. Information is available on Duke Health Now.


Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • Duke Culture Survey: Jan. 29-Feb.17
  • Duke Centennial Research & Innovation Week: Jan. 29-Feb.2
  • National Wear Red Day: 2
  • February is Heart Month and Black History Month.


Transplant Grand Rounds

Jan. 30: Partial Heart Transplantation – Emergence of a New Paradigm with Joseph Turek. Noon. DN2003 or via Zoom.


Cardiology Grand Rounds

Jan. 30: Unraveling ketone metabolism in the failing heart with Senthil Selvaraj. 5 p.m., DN 2002 or via Zoom.

Feb. 6: Implementation strategies to address the burden of Heart Failure with Harriette Van Spall of McMaster University. 5 p.m., DN 2002 or via Zoom.

All Duke Cardiology Grand Rounds recordings are housed on Warpwire. To access recordings please visit:

Your NET ID and password are required. Enjoy!

Cardiology Grief Debrief Session

Jan. 29. Noon, In-person only: DMP 2W96

CD Fellows Core Curriculum Conference

Jan. 31: HT/Txp Case Presentation with Eric Xie. Noon. DMP 2W96 (in-person only).

Feb. 2: Introduction to SPECT with TBD. Noon. Zoom only.

Office of Faculty — 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.  


Upcoming CME Symposia for Spring, 2024

Feb 6: Stroke Management of the Future? The Potential Role of Factor XI/XIa Inhibitors in Secondary Stroke Prevention.

This is a DukeHeart/TotalCME event with Manesh Patel, et al. In-person at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, 2nd floor, Phoenix Ballroom. Virtual: Livestream via MedEd On The Go, 8-9:30 p.m., EST. This evening symposium will be held during the International Stroke Conference 2024 in Phoenix.

Register here

Join experts to explore how factor XI/XIa inhibitors may transform secondary stroke prevention in patients with acute ischemic strokes and transient ischemic attack risk factors. This data-rich symposium reviews currently available therapeutics and how they affect the coagulation cascade, increasing the potential for serious bleeds. Experts outline new and emerging anticoagulation pharmacotherapy that may mitigate bleeding risks. Through interactive presentations, attendees gain a deep understanding of the rapidly evolving stroke prevention landscape, preparing them to implement the latest approaches, improve clinical practice and boost patient outcomes.

Faculty presenters:

  • Valeria Caso, MD, PhD of the University of Perugia
  • Mike Sharma, MD, MSc, FRCPC of McMaster University
  • Manesh R. Patel, MD of Duke Health
  • Ashkan Shoamanesh, MD of McMaster University

Supported by an educational grant from Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and jointly provided by Duke Heart, MedEd On The Go, and Total CME.


March 8: Cardio-Oncology/Amyloid Symposium

The Southeastern Cardio-Oncology Conference, The Future is Now will take place on March 8 at the JB Duke Hotel in Durham, NC. Event registration is open; the registration deadline is March 5.

Duke cardiologists Michel Khouri and Ravi Karra of Duke’s Precision Cardiomyopathy Program will be presenters during the symposium.

Keynote to be provided by Avirup Guha, director of cardio-oncology and assistant professor of medicine at Augusta University’s Georgia Cancer Center.

The symposium is presented by Duke Cancer Network (DCN) in collaboration with Duke Cancer Institute. For more information, please contact Beth Tanner of DCN.


April 12: Duke Sports Cardiology & Sudden Death in Athletes

May 4: Duke Heart Failure Symposium

Registration is not yet open for the April 12 or May 4 symposia, but if you have questions about either event, please reach out to Christy Darnell.


Angels Among Us Walk & 5K, April 27

Our friends and colleagues at the Preston R. Tisch Brain Tumor Center (BTC) will hold their 31st annual Angels Among Us Walk on April 27 at the corner of Erwin Road and Flowers Drive on the Duke Medical Center campus. The Angels Among Us 5K and Walk of HOPE will begin with a 5K run followed by great entertainment, children’s activities, delicious food, and fun for the entire family.

A ceremony will begin the walk of hope through the Duke Medical Campus and the Sarah Duke Gardens. Proceeds from the event support the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. Visit www.angelsamongus.org to learn more.

Please consider supporting our Duke BTC colleagues and their annual event!


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:

January 12 — Nishant Shah


What’s a “Mini” Heart Attack?

January 19 — Robert Lefkowitz

Memphis Business Journal

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital invests $13M in Duke, Stanford, Columbia University collaboration

January 19 — Jonathan Piccini

Cardiovascular Business

ICE-guided Watchman procedures linked to safety concerns—is TEE better for LAAO or will things improve?

January 19 — Duke Heart study

Woman’s World

Doctors Reveal the Best Sleeping Position to Outsmart Nighttime Leg Pain

*refers to this Duke study

January 20 — Brittany Zwischenberger

The New York Times

The Heart Surgery That Isn’t as Safe for Older Women

January 23 — Stephen Greene


Deaths Linked to Substance Use, CVD on the Rise

January 23 — Kristin Newby

Consumer Reports

El mejor chequeo para tu corazón

January 24 — Sarah Snow

Healio/Cardiology Today

Women in CV fellowships on the rise; not so among other underrepresented groups

January 24 — Duke University Hospital

Becker’s ASC Review

The top 317 cardiology facilities for Medicare members, per Aetna

January 24 — Duke Heart study

Today’s Geriatric Medicine

Statins: Reducing Racial Disparities

*references this Duke study.

January 25 — Nenad Bursac

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Cancer Mutation That Spurs Cell Division Helps Heart Models Run at Full Gallop

January 25 — Nenad Bursac

WPTF/680 News Radio

Mutation in skin cancer may help recovery from heart attacks

*clip begins @ 12:12:48

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