Home » Uncategorized » Duke Heart Pulse — April 7, 2024

Duke Heart Pulse — April 7, 2024

Chief’s message:

The American College of Cardiology 2024 meeting was this weekend with several of our faculty and fellows presenting at the meeting.  We also had the opportunity to catch up with colleagues and friends. Please find some pictures from the meeting.

Highlights of the week:

Hughes Named Chief, Section for Aortic Surgery

Chad Hughes, MD, Professor of Surgery, has been appointed the inaugural Chief for the Section of Aortic Surgery, a new section housed jointly within the Divisions of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. Hughes will also serve as co-director, with vascular surgeon Chandler Long, MD, of the Duke Center for Aortic Disease. The announcement was made on April 3 by Dr. Carmelo Milano, chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, and Dr. Dawn Coleman, chief of Vascular Surgery.

Hughes completed his undergraduate training at Wake Forest University and medical school at Duke University. He subsequently completed his training in both general surgery and CT surgery at Duke University. In 2005, he completed an additional aortic surgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania under the instruction of Dr. Joseph Bavaria, a renowned leader in aortic surgery. 

Hughes joined the faculty here at Duke as an assistant professor of surgery, and in 2020, he rose to the rank of Professor of Surgery. He has developed one of the largest practices of aortic surgery in the country with national and regional referrals. At Duke, he started the transcatheter aortic valve replacement program with Dr. Kevin Harrison. Additionally, along with Dr. Richard McCann, he developed stent grafting for aortic pathology at this institution.

Hughes has served as a model of the academic surgeon with over 250 peer-reviewed publications, multiple national speaking engagements, and a prominent role as an associate editor for the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. He has driven innovation of care for aortic pathology at a national level.

This divisional reorganization is focused on enabling further collaboration between CT surgery, vascular surgery, and cardiology. In this new role, Dr. Hughes will focus on further expansion of aortic surgery, innovation around aortic pathology, and mentoring younger faculty and trainees in aortic surgery.

Congratulations, Chad!


Thomas Receives HRS Youngblood Leadership Award

Kevin Thomas

We were thrilled to learn this week that cardiac electrophysiologist Kevin Thomas, MD, professor of medicine in cardiology and vice dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Duke School of Medicine, has been selected by the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) to receive it’s 2024 James H. Youngblood Excellence in Leadership Award.

The Youngblood Leadership Award recognizes a member of the HRS who has demonstrated exemplary leadership by leading an initiative that has had a community-wide impact.

You have certainly done that and more — congratulations, Kevin!




Anne Cherry, MD to Receive Inaugural SCA Presidential Citation

Anne Cherry

Congratulations to Anne Cherry, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology at Duke. She has been selected as the first recipient of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiology’s (SCA) newest award – the Presidential Citation Award. Cherry was selected by Dr. Kathryn Glas, current president of the SCA and chair of anesthesiology at the University of Arizona.

The Presidential Citation will be awarded annually at the discretion of the President of SCA to an individual who has made an important contribution to the field of cardiovascular anesthesia through one (or several) of the following:

  • An early career accomplishment
  • Research contribution
  • Education contribution
  • DEI contribution through the advancement of minority interests
  • Service to the SCA

Cherry will be presented with the 2024 Presidential Citation during the SCA Annual Meeting being held in collaboration with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery from April 27-30 in Toronto, Canada.

Congratulations, Anne!


Holley to Receive DOM Excellence in Education Award

Christopher Holley

We are pleased to share that Christopher Holley, MD, PhD, has been selected as the recipient of Duke’s 2024 Department of Medicine Excellence in Education Award for the division of cardiology. His nomination, in part, reads:

“As a member of our clinical team, Holley teaches cardiovascular disease and advanced heart failure and transplantation fellows during Transplant or VAD rounds and gives high-yield lectures in these areas, receiving stellar teaching evaluations from our trainees. As a skilled researcher, he teaches and mentors undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate trainees on the role of non-coding RNA (ncRNA) in cardiovascular health and disease.

Furthermore, he is committed to educating the next generation of cardiovascular specialists by actively participating in fellowship recruitment. He serves as an Associate Program Director of the Cardiovascular Disease fellowship, as a co-lead in the Department of Medicine’s Physician Scientist Training program, and as core faculty in the Medical Scientist Training Program. In all these roles, his passion for educating current and future trainees is evident.”

This annual DOM award recognizes one faculty member in each division in recognition of outstanding teaching and commitment to the education and professional development of fellows, residents, and students. He will be recognized during the DOM Annual Celebration on May 2.

Congratulations, Chris!


Small Selected for DOM Administrative Excellence Award

Congratulations to Duke Cardiology GME coordinator Brianna Small! We learned this week that she has been selected to receive the Department of Medicine’s Rising Star Award for Administrative Excellence.

She will be recognized during the Annual Chair Award dinner celebration later this spring.

Hooray, Brianna!



ACC.24: Therapy Shows Promise in Delaying  Hospitalizations for Heart Failure

About 800,000 people in the U.S. suffer a heart attack every year, and about 30% of them will go on to develop heart failure. There are limited treatments to prevent or slow that development.

A large international study led by Duke researchers investigated whether the diabetes drug empagliflozin (marketed under the brand name Jardiance) might prevent heart failure in patients after they had suffered acute myocardial infarction.

While the study found that the drug did not reduce deaths, secondary findings show it did slow the time to first hospitalization for heart failure and reduced the total number of subsequent heart failure hospitalizations.

The secondary findings are published in the journal Circulation and presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session on April 6. Other findings from the study, called EMPACT-MI, were also simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Empagliflozin was originally approved for use in patients with diabetes, but investigators chose to study the drug based on earlier findings that it showed benefit in preventing active heart failure from becoming worse. The study was funded by two companies that manufacture the drug – Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company.

The study enrolled 6,522 patients across 22 countries, with roughly half randomly assigned to receive the therapy and the other half placebo. Both groups otherwise received standard care. Investigators credit the study’s simple design to its broad reach.

The Duke Clinical Research Institute coordinated and led the conduct of the trial.

The study findings on lower rates of heart failure offer some hope and underscore the importance of preventing poor outcomes after a heart attack, according to principal investigator and corresponding author, Adrian Hernandez, MD, director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

“Developing heart failure is one of our major public health problems, and any step that gets us closer to preventing it is a step in the right direction,” Hernandez said. “After a heart attack, we should really be focused on how to prevent problems, especially the development of heart failure. This therapy fills in that gap.”

Hernandez said he would be curious to investigate the secondary findings further, especially because there are so many different factors that can play out after a heart attack.

“Heart attacks are pretty dynamic – in the first 24 hours things can change for the better or the worse; you can end up having a small heart attack or a big one,” Hernandez said. “We don’t know if there could be a difference in results from the therapy depending on the type of event and the timing of giving a treatment. Those could be areas to consider.”

In addition to Hernandez, study authors for the Circulation publication include Jacob A. Udell, W. Schuyler Jones, Stefan D. Anker, Mark C. Petrie, Josephine Harrington, Michaela Mattheus, Svenja Seide, Isabella Zwiener, Offer Amir, M. Cecilia Bahit, Johann Bauersachs, Antoni Bayes-Genis, Yundai Chen, Vijay K. Chopra, Gemma Figtree, Junbo Ge, Shaun Goodman, Nina Gotcheva, Shinya Goto, Tomasz Gasior, Waheed Jamal, James L. Januzzi, Myung Ho Jeong, Yuri Lopatin, Renato D. Lopes, Béla Merkely, Puja B. Parikh, Alexander Parkhomenko, Piotr Ponikowski, Xavier Rossello, Morten Schou, Dragan Simic, Philippe Gabriel Steg, Joanna Szachniewicz, Peter van der Meer, Dragos Vinereanu, Shelley Zieroth, Martina Brueckmann, Mikhail Sumin, Deepak L. Bhatt, and Javed Butler.


ACC.24: Congrats to all Duke Researchers & Presenters!

The Annual Scientific Sessions for the American College of Cardiology is well underway this weekend in Atlanta. We’ve had significant news coverage for the poster presentation on the fortified eggs study, findings of which were released last week ahead of the ACC. We anticipate additional news coverage on the EMPACT-MI study results (highlighted above) and look forward to coverage of many other presentations by our Duke Heart team.

Carolyn Lekavich, PhD, presented an abstract on Saturday — Advancing Heart Failure Prevention:  Echocardiogram Ventricular-Arterial Coupling (VAC) Signaling Early Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF).

Heading into ACC, there were 113 presentations planned related to research performed with or by Duke team members, including two late-breakers (EMPACT-MI, and the AEGIS II trial), many poster presentations, abstracts, and contributions including those with:

  • Karen Alexander
  • John Alexander
  • Gerald Bloomfield
  • Adam DeVore
  • Pamela Douglas
  • Michael Felker
  • Marat Fudim
  • Christopher Granger
  • Jennifer Green
  • Stephen Greene
  • Josephine Harrington
  • Adrian Hernandez
  • Schuyler Jones
  • Michelle Kelsey
  • Mark Kittipibul
  • Larry Jackson
  • Renato Lopez
  • Daniel Mark
  • Robert Mentz
  • Kristin Newby
  • Nina Nouhravesh
  • Neha Pagidipati
  • Kishan Parikh
  • Manesh Patel
  • Jonathan Piccini
  • Sean Pokorney
  • Jennifer Rymer
  • Nishant Shah
  • Svati Shah
  • Monique Starks
  • Sreekanth Vemulapalli,

Nicely done, all!

Shout-out to Osude!

A hat tip & shout-out to cardiovascular disease fellow Nkiru “KiKi” Osude, MD, for her work in the community to promote heart health!

Osude recently served as a guest speaker — along with faculty member Monique Starks, MD — at the 2024 Shades of Green “Goes Red” Fashion Show and Luncheon, a charity fundraising event to help promote cardiovascular disease awareness throughout the community, sponsored by the Durham chapter of The Links, Incorporated.

Starks and Osude

The event, in part, highlighted the importance of heart health and community efforts to improve cardiovascular health. The Links, Incorporated is a group of more than 15,000 professional women of color dedicated to improving the well-being of Durham citizens through leadership, philanthropy, and service.

Osude was also featured in a heart-health promotional flyer as part of the work being done by Durham’s Community Health Coalition.

Way to go, KiKi! 







Duke Heart & 2024 NC Walk for Victory

Duke Heart will again serve as the presenting sponsor of the upcoming NC Walk for Victory in support of Marfan Syndrome, LDS, VEDS and related conditions, with Dr. Chad Hughes serving as co-medical chair for the walk with Carly Scarborough of Levine Children’s Hospital.

The event is scheduled for 12-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 20 at Laurel Hills Park in Raleigh. To learn more, please visit the NC Walk website and consider joining the Duke Aorta team to raise funds for research!


ICYMI: April Leadership Town Hall

The most recent DUHS Leadership Town Hall was held on Tuesday, April 2 via Zoom. If you missed it and would like to watch the recording, it is available on Leadership Exchange.


Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • April is National Donate Life Month
  • April 6-8, American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions, Atlanta.


Cardiology Grand Rounds

April 9: Heart Failure: Does Sex Really Matter? with Carolyn Lam, of Duke-NUS MD. 5 p.m., DN 2002 or via Zoom.

April 16: TBD

April 23: TBD

April 25: New Insight into the Physiology of Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction with Tom Sarma, MD of UT Southwestern. 5 p.m., DN 2002 or via Zoom. *Please note this is a Thursday evening presentation.

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

NET ID and password required. Enjoy!

CD Fellows Core Curriculum Conference

April 10: Cardiology Fellows Lunch with Carolyn Lam. Noon, DMP 2W96 (in-person only).

April 12: Journal Club with TBD. Noon, Zoom only.

Upcoming CME Symposia

April 12: Duke Sports Cardiology & Sudden Death in Athletes

May 4: Duke Heart Failure Symposium

For any questions you might have about either event, please reach out to Christy Darnell.

2024 Feagin Leadership Forum

Consider joining members from throughout the Duke community for a special Duke Centennial event, the 15th Annual Feagin Leadership Forum at the JB Duke Hotel on May 17-18. The theme for the Forum is Compassion, Collaboration, and Compromise: Leadership in a Polarized World. World class leaders from business, healthcare, the military and athletics will be sharing their leadership expertise and how they address the challenges of our complex world. There will be special welcomes from Duke leaders, and the future leaders of healthcare — this year’s Feagin Leadership Scholars — will share their work and leadership insights.

For more details, go to https://www.feaginleadership.org/schedule-1.

To register, visit: https://www.feaginleadership.org/2023registration-1. 

Improving Conversation Skills with Seriously Ill Patients

In an effort to ensure that clinicians feel comfortable and empowered to have difficult conversations regarding goals of care with patients and their families, members of the Duke Hospice and Palliative Care team offer VitalTalk communication trainings so that they can help clinicians do their best to take care of our patients.

VitalTalk skills training is open to those involved in conducting or supporting Goals of Care conversations for our patients with serious illness across Duke Health. The course consists of a 30-minute didactic lecture in the LMS system, followed by a 3-4 hour skills practice-session. CME/CEU credits are available once both activities (LMS and live practice) are completed.

A limited number of seats are available in each of the upcoming online VitalTalk skills practice courses – use https://duke.is/VitalTalk to view available dates and times and to register.

If you have any questions, please contact Jonathan Fischer, MD, medical director of palliative care for Duke’s Population Health Management Office.

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:

March 20 — Richard Shannon

The Assembly

Why Breast Cancer Screening Fails Many Women

March 29 — Nina Nouhravesh

Everyday Health

Eggs May Actually Be Okay for Your Heart

March 29 — Nina Nouhravesh


Eggs aren’t just for Easter — eating them is no longer considered unhealthy

March 29 — Nina Nouhravesh

The Washington Times

Never mind: New study finds eggs won’t worsen cholesterol, may even improve heart health

March 29 — Nina Nouhravesh

Times Now (India)

High cholesterol diet: Study claims eggs won’t increase your cholesterol levels

March 29 — Nina Nouhravesh

Medical Dialogues (India)

Are eggs bad for your heart?

March 29 — Nina Nouhravesh

Arab Times (Kuwait)

New study challenges notion of eggs’ impact on cholesterol levels

March 30 — Nina Nouhravesh

The Mirror (UK)

‘Myth’ that eggs are bad for the heart and raise cholesterol debunked by scientists

April 1 — Nina Nouhravesh


Top in cardiology: Benefits of fortified eggs; FNIH to study preeclampsia biomarkers

April 2 — Nina Nouhravesh

Scripps News

Eggs might not be that bad for your heart health, study says

*carried by 60+ Scripps affiliates nationally

April 2 — Duke Clinical Research Institute

Code List

According to cardiologists, this long-shunned food is not so bad

April 4 — Duke University Medical Center

Mass Device

Paragonix begins full U.S. launch of donor lung preservation system

April 4 — Duke University Medical Center

Medical Design & Development

Paragonix Begins Full Commercial Launch for Donor Lung Preservation System

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *