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Duke Heart Pulse — May 5, 2024

Duke Heart Pulse – May 5, 2024

Chief’s message:

As the spring season is in full effect – hopefully you all had some time outside with friends and family.  There were also many faculty and fellows presenting at conferences this weekend – the national cardiovascular interventional society (SCAI) had its national meeting in California this weekend with several of our interventional faculty both presenting and being part of the national organizations leadership.  There were key talks by Jennifer Rymer, Raj Swaminathan, Ton Gutierrez, Schuyler Jones and many others.  Congratulations to Sunil Rao, past SCAI president and James Hermiller – in coming SCAI president.

Heart Failure Symposium is back.  This weekend the Duke Heart group had its first Heart Failure symposium after COVID (prior in-person symposium was 2019).  By all accounts it was a success – with over 220 registered attendees, wonderful speakers from around the country, and lots of interactive real-world management of heart failure patients from prevention to complex management. Some photos from the event are shown here.

Highlights of the week:

Celebrating Perfusionists & Duke’s 2nd Pillar Award

Happy May, everyone! Yes, today is the ever-popular Cinco de Mayo, but it’s also day one of Perfusion Week — a time to recognize the incredible efforts of perfusionists across the U.S.! These vital members of our cardiothoracic surgical team do remarkable things each day for our patients. So, if you happen to be celebrating with your favorite Mexican foods and beverages, consider including a toast to our amazing Duke Perfusionists!

The Duke Perfusion team recently earned its second Pillar Award for Perfusion Excellence from the American Society of Extracorporeal Technology (AmSECT). Their first was awarded in 2021, the inaugural year of the AmSECT Pillar, which is a designation for individual perfusion departments that demonstrate excellence as displayed in several key areas including organized orientation and training, QA/QI process, continuing education and performance evaluation, development of institutional protocols and adherence to AmSECT Standards and Guidelines, employee education and commitment to the field of perfusion.

Duke has one of the largest and most highly-skilled perfusion teams in the U.S. Each member of the team is certified by the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion, licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board, and most team members hold advanced degrees and credentials.

In addition to proficiency in cardiopulmonary bypass (operating the heart-lung machine during cardiothoracic surgery), Duke perfusionists become further specialized to support a variety of needs across the hospital. We have a dedicated team of pediatric perfusionists, a specialty team for Duke Regional Hospital, an Extra-Corporeal Life Support (ECLS) team that assists with cannulating and retrieving patients from referring hospitals, a team that provides apheresis in the OR, and a team trained in use of the Transmedics Organ Care System, which has helped increase the donor pool for Duke’s Heart Transplant program.

Congratulations to our perfusionists!


Nurses Week 2024

It’s also Nurses Week 2024 (May 6-12)! On behalf of Duke Heart, a big shout-out to all of our incredible nurses for their professional accomplishments and contributions in caring for Duke Heart patients over the past year.

Duke Heart Nurses are foundational to Duke’s ability to provide compassionate, innovative cardiac care throughout our clinics and at the bedside. Each of our nurses cares for patients with complex cardiovascular needs and partners with clinicians and other team members as we engage in research clinical trials; teach patients and family members about the care they are receiving; participate in quality improvement initiatives locally and nationally, as well as speak or serve as educators at professional meetings.

Our Duke Heart nurses are amazing – individually and as a team. Without their partnership, none of our overall team accomplishments would be possible! Thank you for the work you do, your tremendous compassion for our patients and their families, and your compassion for one another and our community.

The Duke Heart Nursing team possesses unmatched talent, dedication, and teamwork, exemplifying living the Duke Values. In short, Duke Nurses rock!

Kudos and thank you – enjoy Nurses Week!


Duke Heart Experts Featured at NCUS

The North Carolina Ultrasound Society (NCUS) held its 43rd Annual NC Medical Ultrasound Symposium in Raleigh from April 19-21 at the Crabtree Courtyard Marriott.

Duke Heart was well-represented in terms of presenter expertise and well-supported in terms of attendees. Speakers included Joe Kisslo, MD (Keynote speaker); Michel Khouri, MD; Richie Palma, instructor and program director of Duke’s Cardiac Ultrasound Program; Alicia Armour, HCA of Triangle Heart; Ashlee Davis, chief technologist, and Rachel O’Brien and Diana Masterson, cardiac sonographers. 

Rachel O'Brien, a Duke cardiac sonographer

Richie Palma and cardiac sonographer Jon Owensby are both on the Board of Directors for the NCUS.



Great work, everyone!


Pending Unit Moves – July 2024

The Duke University Hospital 100 bed tower, floors 6 through 9, has been renovated and will reopen in the summer of 2024! Several Heart patient care units will be relocated to allow for the renovation of floors 2 and 3 in the North 100 tower. Unit 3100 will relocate to 6100 (31-bed unit) on July 22 and 3200/7200 will relocate back to 7100 (31-bed unit) on July 23.

There will be no change in the patient populations these units care for. Unit 6100 was specifically chosen because of its proximity to the 6E/CT Step-down Unit.

More details, including office relocations, will be announced closer to the move date. We thank everyone in advance for their support and patience.


Final Week to Complete Culture Pulse Survey

If you have not yet done so — please participate in the Duke Health Culture Pulse survey. It is available to all Duke Health team members until May 13. The brief, 18-question survey is confidential and mobile-friendly, and it’s short – you can do the whole thing in less than five minutes.

This year’s survey is focused on Duke’s commitment to putting people first by asking questions, listening, and seeking diverse perspectives. The Culture Pulse survey aims to strengthen the employee experience – for all of us – but participation is critical!

Thank you for sharing your invaluable insights and for all that you do to make Duke Health an extraordinary place to work, learn, and receive care.

The link to the survey was sent to everyone via email on 4/22. Check your inbox and please make your voice heard!


Duke Hospitals Continue to Earn ‘A’ Grades on Leapfrog Safety Assessments

For 12 consecutive grading periods, Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, and Duke Raleigh Hospital received top scores for patient safety from The Leapfrog Group.

The “A” scores for Leapfrog’s spring 2024 survey are part of the group’s Hospital Safety Grades Assessment, issued to hospitals every six months. This is the only hospital ratings program focused exclusively on preventable medical errors, infections, and injuries that kill more than 500 patients a day nationally.

Duke Health’s three hospitals were among nearly 3,000 hospitals surveyed across the country. Only 29% of hospitals nationwide achieved an “A” hospital safety grade for the spring 2024. In North Carolina, Duke University Health System hospitals were among 38 hospitals to achieve the grade.

“Our steady ‘A’ grades from Leapfrog prove that we are dedicated to putting patients first at all three Duke Health hospitals,” said Thomas Owens, MD, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Duke University Health System. “We value the clinicians, staff, and volunteers who provide excellent care and make sure patients are safe.”

The Leapfrog Group is an independent nonprofit organization led by the nation’s leading employers and private healthcare experts. Twice each year, it collects and analyzes data based on over 30 national performance measures of errors, accidents, injuries, and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. The letter grades assigned to hospitals help people make informed decisions to protect themselves and their families.

Comparisons of hospital scores locally and nationally are available at https://www.hospitalsafetygrade.org/.


Duke’s Total Compensation Program

Duke began mailing all full-time faculty and staff their annual personalized benefits statements this week. These are going to home addresses.

Did you know that, on average, Duke invests about $250 in benefits for every $1000 of pay? Each of us can see what Duke’s investment in pay and benefits looks like for us by reviewing our benefits statement. Please take a few minutes to review the materials to ensure you’re taking full advantage of the benefits and services available to you and your family members.

Learn how five of our Duke colleagues have been helped by a variety of Duke benefits as part of their total compensation package: Beyond Pay: Unique Duke Employee Benefits for Unique Needs.

Have a great week, everyone!


Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • Culture Pulse 2024 survey period through May 13
  • May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month






  • May is Duke Health’s inaugural Team Member Appreciation Month
  • May 5-11 is Perfusion Week
  • May 6-12 is Nurses Week
  • May 12-19 is National Hospital Week


Cardiology Grand Rounds

May 7: Bridging the Gap: A Closer Look at Care Fragmentation and Health Disparities in PAD with Dennis Narcisse. 5 p.m., DN 2002 or via Zoom.

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

NET ID and password are required. Enjoy!


CD Fellows Core Curriculum Conference

May 8: ABIM Review. Noon, DMP 2W96 (in-person only).

May 10: Update on TAVR with Todd Kiefer. Noon, Zoom only.


Working Effectively Across Generations

June 3: Working Effectively Across Generations with Hile Rutledge, of Otto Kroeger Associates (OKA). 8:30 a.m. to Noon. Great Hall, Trent Semans Center. Sponsored by Duke School of Medicine.

Registration required: https://medschool.duke.edu/blog/register-now-working-effectively-across-generations


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:

April 25 — Jonathan Piccini

Health Central

How Cardioversion Can Help Your Heart

April 26 — Marat Fudim


Heart Failure Mortality Higher Now Than in 1999

May 1 — James Watson (hospitalist program)

The Hospitalist

Apixaban Reduces Risk of Stroke or Systemic Embolism in Subclinical AF

May 1 — Cepeda Mora (hospitalist program)

The Hospitalist

Semaglutide in Patients with HFpEF and Obesity

May 1 — James Watson

The Hospitalist

High Frequency of AF Recurrence in Hospitalized Patients with New-onset AF

May 1 — Mark Chandler (hospitalist program)

The Hospitalist

Frailty Assessment and Perioperative Adverse Cardiovascular Events After Noncardiac Surgery

May 1 — Chantell Evans (cell biology)

Nature/News & Views

Cells destroy donated mitochondria to build blood vessels

May 1 — Amanda Randles (biomedical sciences)

Business Insider

A young Duke professor won $250,000 for her algorithms that could find symptoms of heart disease when they start

May 1 — Duke Health

WNCN/CBS-17 (Raleigh/Durham)

Raleigh/Cary metro has some of the safest hospitals in the country: New study

May 3 — Robert Mentz

Perishable News

New Clinical Study Reveals Consuming 12 Eggland’s Best Eggs Weekly Shows No Negative Effects on Cholesterol Levels; Study Also Suggests Possible Benefits for Some Consumers



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