Refer a patient to Ohio State's Heart and Vascular Center

To refer or transfer a patient to the Ross Heart Hospital or other heart facilities, please call 888-293-ROSS and press Option 1. 

We strive to provide fast, easy referral or transfer of your patients as well as communication with you about the care your patients receive at Ohio State’s Medical Center. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of your patients’ care.

Healthcare Professionals

Visit our main Healthcare Professionals experience to find information about careers at Ohio State as well as other resources for healthcare professionals and referring physicians. You will also find information about conferences, patient education materials, a guide to services and continuing medical education opportunities.

Innovations in Care and Research

Read about the latest clinical and research advances happening at Ohio State's Heart and Vascular Center.

Devices

New devices are being used and tested at Ohio State's Heart and Vascular Center.

Fenestrated Stent Graft Offers Solution for Para-Renal Aortic Aneurysms

Endovascular approach reduces complications, recovery time

Endovascular repair of para-renal aortic aneurysms using a fenestrated stent graft is one of the latest ways the Aortic Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is improving patients’ lives.

“We are one of the few medical centers in Ohio with the specialized training to offer this endovascular procedure,” says Patrick Vaccaro, MD, director of the Division of Vascular Surgery at Ohio State.

Up to 4 percent of Americans experience abdominal aortic aneurysms, most commonly affecting men, people over age 65 and smokers. A smaller percentage of the population will have an aneurysm in the aorta near the renal arteries. Dr. Vaccaro says surgeons at Ohio State will likely insert the highly specialized endovascular stent graft in 10 to 15 patients this year.

“We see a potential for growth with this procedure and want to be at the leading edge,” he notes. He adds that the procedure is an excellent option for patients who aren’t good candidates for open surgery.

Advantages Over Open Surgery

Smaller incisions, less blood loss, less discomfort, fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery all are advantages of the endovascular approach as compared to open surgery. The graft is placed in the abdominal aorta in a sheath that is threaded through the femoral arteries.

By contrast, an open surgical procedure requires a much larger incision in the side or abdomen.

Aortic Center Expertise

“Several years ago, we started the Aortic Center to combine the skills and expertise of nearly a dozen vascular and cardiothoracic surgeons. Our excellent results and ongoing research draw patients from throughout Ohio, and beyond,” Dr. Vaccaro says. “We perform a high volume of vascular procedures, and our excellent results have been documented through independent organizations such as Leapfrog.”

Make a Referral

For a referral or more information, call 1-888-293-7677 [ROSS]


Ohio State First to Implant Newly Approved Wireless Heart Failure Monitor

Ohio State's Heart and Vascular Center was the first in the country to begin treating some heart failure patients with a new wireless, implantable hemodynamic monitor just approved by the FDA. The CardioMEMS HF monitoring system will help physicians observe pulmonary artery pressures, optimize treatment and prevent hospitalizations. Dr. William Abraham, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, was the national co-principal investigator on the clinical trials of the new device. "I consider this to be the first major breakthrough in heart failure management in more than a decade," Abraham says. "For the first time, cardiologists can directly manage a patient's pulmonary pressures rather than managing their symptoms or weight gain.

The CardioMEMS heart sensor is approved for NYHA Class III patients with a history of hospitalizations within the past year. Results from studies show the device has reduced hospital readmissions by more than 30 percent, when compared with standard care. The study also determined the device to be cost-effective, with implant procedures costing approximately $15,000—the same cost as one average hospitalization for heart failure.

The device is about the size of a large paper clip and is implanted in the pulmonary artery using a simple, catheter-based procedure. It takes real-time measurements of pulmonary artery pressure and transmits them to a secure website where cardiologists can review the data and make adjustments to medication, if needed.

"An increase in pulmonary artery pressure is the most direct sign of congestion," Abraham says. "By identifying these elevated pressures early, we can treat patients before they get sick and avoid episodes that lead to repeated hospitalizations."

Dr. Ayesha Hasan, a heart failure cardiologist at Ohio State's Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital, was the study's lead principal investigator at Ohio State.

"I've seen several patients in the clinical trials go from numerous hospitalizations down to zero. Now with federal approval, we're excited that many more people with heart failure can have the monitor and a better quality of life," Hasan says.

Next, Abraham says, he is planning follow-up studies to evaluate the long-term effects of the monitoring system.

New Heart-Assist Device Being Tested at Ohio State

Michele's heart failure symptoms had her in and out of the hospital 10 times in one year. Her physician, based at a community hospital, had exhausted his resources and sent her to Sitaramesh Emani, MD, an Ohio State cardiologist who subspecializes in advanced heart failure.

Dr. Emani notes that Ohio State has been among the leaders in recent years in making strides for heart failure patients.

"Patients have more options now, and they don't have to live with heart failure symptoms," he says.

Ohio State's comprehensive Heart Failure Disease Clinic addresses all levels of heart failure, including the most advanced stages. The clinic follows more than 2,000 patients, many with advanced heart failure.

Board certified heart failure specialists and nurse practitioners work in collaboration with nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dietitians and surgeons—all specialists in heart failure treatment

For Michele, Dr. Emani recommended a C-Pulse, currently in clinical trials at Ohio State. The counterpulsation technology acts like a balloon pump to increase coronary blood flow and cardiac output, and reduce the heart's pumping workload.

The C-Pulse is built for patients with Class III and ambulatory Class IV heart failure. At age 46, Michele needed oxygen 24 hours a day. She also contends with diabetes and hypothyroidism.

"I have a family history of heart disease," she says. "My mom died from CHF and coronary artery disease, and every aunt and uncle has heart problems."

She continues, "I'm borderline for a heart transplant, but Dr. Emani thought this was the safest way to start. I was the first in Columbus and the third in the country to receive the device. The man who developed the pump was there at my surgery."

Michele had a partial sternotomy to implant the device. A port in her stomach allows her to connect to the battery pack she carries with a shoulder strap. She can disconnect the battery for 15 minutes a day to take a shower.

Although she admits the battery pack can be cumbersome at times, "So far, it's worth it. I've only had to use oxygen twice since my procedure in March. A physical therapist comes to my house to help me with strengthening."

Since the implant, she hasn't had any hospitalizations for heart failure. Eventually, Michele will go to cardiac rehab.

"The C-Pulse is just one of many new and innovative treatments available at Ohio State," Dr. Emani says. "Historically, doctors accepted heart failure as something patients had to live with. Now, we're thinking there's something more to be done. Advanced heart failure has become its own specialty, and Ohio State has developed an entire team to address heart failure issues.

"We are constantly pursuing new drug therapies and researching novel devices," adds Emani, noting the ability of Ohio State's heart failure specialists to understand the nuances of heart failure and the latest medications used to treat symptoms and underlying causes.

Ohio's State's advanced heart failure treatment options include:

  • Inpatient and outpatient ultrafiltration treatment.
  • Clinical trials with novel drug therapies and novel device implants. Device implant studies include evaluating expanding indications for resynchronization therapy, hemodynamic monitoring devices to assess filling pressures, alternative mechanical support devices and vagal nerve stimulation in heart failure.
  • High-risk open heart surgery.
  • High-risk percutaneous interventions.
  • Ventricular assist devices (VAD). As one of the larger VAD programs in the country, we continue to increase our implant numbers and currently follow more than 90 patients with long-term VADs
  • A cardiovascular genetics program, offering genetic screening and complete follow-up care.

The team reaches out to sleep medicine for evaluation of sleep apnea, and includes the preventive cardiology team to help reduce controllable risk factors.

In addition, Dr. Emani says, "We spend time with patient education, so patients understand what they can do to help improve their symptoms. Our heart failure readmission rates are among the lowest in the region."

Michele is grateful for the resources Ohio State provides.

"Dr. Emani is awesome," she says. The whole team was wonderful. They answer every single question I have and they check on me."

Since Michele had the C-Pulse implanted, "I'm able to spend more time with my grandkids and family. I can go to church more and go places with my friends. It's good to be home rather than in the hospital. I'm so glad I did it."

Vacuum Device Used to Successfully Remove Life-Threatening Clots

Painful swelling in his legs and severe shortness of breath caused Stephen, an Ohio truck driver, to be life-flighted from his home in Meigs County, Ohio, on the West Virginia border, to Ohio State's Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital, where vascular surgeon Jean Starr, MD was waiting to treat him.

Multiple blood clots in his legs and vena cava were threatening the viability of his legs.

"Stephen's entire vena cava and pelvic veins were clotted off. There was no venous return to the heart," Dr. Starr explains. He also was going into kidney failure.

She knew quick action was needed for this highly unusual emergency. Either blood thinners or surgery would take too long to resolve the life-threatening situation. Ohio State's commitment to providing the most current, leading-edge technology gave Dr. Starr the option to use a newly acquired device.

She says the AngioVac vacuum device was ideal for Stephen's situation, explaining that "No other device or procedure could remove such a large clot burden in such a short time."

Stephen readily agreed to be Ohio State's first AngioVac patient.

During the hour-and-a-half procedure, Dr. Starr inserted a cannula on each side of Stephen's neck: one to aspirate the blood and the other to return it. The catheter acts as a vacuum to pull clots out of the bloodstream. The blood goes into a bypass machine, where a filter strains and heparinizes the clot and then returns it to the body via the second cannula. Because the blood is recirculated, no transfusions are needed.

"Within hours of the procedure, Stephen's kidney function returned to normal," Dr. Starr says. "When he arrived on a nursing unit for recovery, the swelling in his legs had noticeably decreased. By the next day, his legs were remarkably improved."

Up to 600,000 new PEs and one to two million blood clots in the legs are reported each year. Ohio State continues to research and seek out innovative technology and procedures to help patients who have life-threatening and limb-threatening blood clots.

"This case demonstrates that physicians at the Ross Heart Hospital have the skills and resources to treat the most complex patients and diseases," Dr. Starr says.

"Stephen is doing well," she continues. "The last time I saw him, he wanted to take a picture with me. He thought he was going to die, and so did I."

Stephen is grateful for his full recovery and for Dr. Starr's quick action.

"She's totally amazing," he says. "Everybody at Ohio State was super. Everything was perfect."

Surgical Advances

Surgical procedures and advances at Ohio State's Heart and Vascular Center

TAVR

A Lifesaving Alternative for Patients at High Risk for Traditional Surgery

“I was getting tired-er and tired-er, and I could do less and less,” says 85-year-old Howard Shoup of Wooster, Ohio.

When Mr. Shoup came to the Structural Heart Disease Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, he was debilitated by shortness of breath caused by congestive heart failure.

Evaluated at Ohio State’s multidisciplinary heart valve clinic, Mr. Shoup was soon scheduled to undergo a transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

“They told me I had a heart valve that was about ready to quit, and it might have been within two or three days of quitting when I had the operation,” Mr. Shoup says.

Since 2010, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center has been one of only a few centers in the region that offer this cutting-edge alternative for patients who are considered inoperable or at high risk for conventional surgery.

The procedural outcomes are comparable to those of conventional surgery —– improved quality of life for patients who previously suffered from debilitating shortness of breath, chest pain and/or fatigue. As a result of the minimally invasive approach, there are smaller incisions, reduced hospital stays and shorter recovery times.

“For most of the patients we treat, it is their only option. They all have co-morbidities —–previous surgeries, strokes, many conditions that would make traditional surgery too risky. Without this less invasive option, they would not survive,” says Juan Crestanello, MD, co-director of the Structural Heart Program and assistant professor of Surgery, who performed Mr. Shoup’s procedure.

In the last two years, nearly 60 patients have undergone the procedure at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, and the program is growing as more practitioners become aware of this new treatment option.

Ohio State among the World’s Largest Sites for Valve Trials

illustration of artificial valvePatients undergoing this procedure at Ohio State may receive one of two devices. In addition to the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve, which is U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved for high-risk cases, patients also have unique access to the Medtronic CoreValve System, which is being studied by clinical trial in the United States.

Ohio State was among the highest enrollers in the high-profile Medtronic CoreValve U.S. Pivotal Trial and among the first 20 U.S. centers to participate in the Surgical Replacement and Transcathether Aortic Valve Implantation (SURTAVI) Trial, giving heart patients like Howard Shoup an opportunity not available in most hospitals.

Outstanding Care 

Today, Howard Shoup’s quality of life is dramatically different. Although still in therapy, he is now able to travel, exercise and enjoy reclaimed time with his wife, three children and seven grandchildren.

“They took wonderful care of us,” Mr. Shoup says of the Structural Heart Disease Program. “It was the most outstanding care I’ve ever encountered.”

Vascular Experts Achieve Excellent Results for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center Leads Region in Case Volume and Experience 

In pursuit of a professional dance career, 16-year-old Samantha saw her dancing come to a sudden halt when a blood clot developed in her arm. After a month of testing, consultations and referrals, Samantha'’s family sought the expertise of Michael R. Go, MD, FACS, vascular surgeon and assistant professor of surgery for the Division of Vascular Diseases and Surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The vascular surgery team at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center has earned renown for diagnosing and treating thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), a rare, debilitating syndrome caused by compression of nerves and blood vessels in the thoracic outlet.

Ninety-five percent of TOS cases are neurogenic, affecting the brachial plexus. Venous and arterial TOS make up the remainder.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis for TOS can be a cloudy subject, and early referral to a vascular center with expertise and patient volumes, such as those at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center, can provide an accurate diagnosis. The vascular team receives referrals from hematologists, sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers and primary care doctors.

X-ray of a patient with cervical ribs which may cause thoracic outlet syndromeApplying his extensive experience with TOS and the medical center's wealth of diagnostic tools –— ultrasound, EMG nerve conduction studies, scalene muscle injections –— Dr. Go diagnosed Samantha with venous TOS, noting that her collarbone was compressing a vein and causing deep venous thrombosis in her right upper extremity.

The extremely rare venous TOS generally occurs in young people in their teens and 20s, especially in athletes. Samantha's countless hours of extending her arm in the air during ballet practices and performances most likely contributed to the compression of her vein between the clavicle and first rib.

Treatment

Dr. Go recommends surgery for arterial and venous cases; patients with neurogenic TOS often attempt physical therapy before pursuing surgery.

Performing 30 to 50 surgeries a year to relieve compression of nerves and blood vessels in the thoracic outlet, Dr. Go and his fellow surgeons demonstrate surgical volumes and outcomes that surpass any medical center in the region.

In Samantha's case, Dr. Go chose a transaxillary approach, using a three-inch incision. Samantha and her family are pleased that the scarring is barely noticeable.

The TOS surgeons at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center can also perform the surgery from a supraclavicular approach or infraclavicular approach, depending on which option is most likely to produce the best outcome.

Clinical Expertise That Exceeds Expectations

Few medical centers offer the depth and range of experience Samantha and her family found at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. As residents of a Columbus, Ohio, suburb, Samantha and her family felt fortunate to have the medical center close by.

"I didn't see the need to go out of town," says Samantha's mom, Wendy. “I didn't worry for one minute. I knew she was going to be OK."

The highly specialized TOS team routinely achieves positive surgical outcomes, including prevention of permanent nerve damage, prevention of blood clot formation (venous TOS) and elimination of pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in the arm.

The Human Touch

Wendy praised Dr. Go and his surgical team for being "reassuring, comforting, knowledgeable and informative. Nothing was a surprise. The communication was great."

She appreciated Dr. Go's inclusion of Samantha in discussions, his willingness to answer questions and his accessibility by phone.

Samantha received the go-ahead to return to dancing after a 3 ½-week recovery.

"Living with TOS would have limited Samantha's abilities," Wendy comments. "To not be able to dance would be like not being able to breathe. We're grateful Dr. Go provided a solution that allowed her to continue to pursue her dreams."

To refer a patient or learn more about our vascular services, call 614-293-ROSS (7677)

Research

With nearly 200 active trials, researchers at Ohio State's Heart and Vascular Center creating new discoveries to change the lives of heart and vascular patients.

CMR Research Advances Detection of Myocardial Inflammation

Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) Pinpoints Inflammation Related to Sarcoidosis and Sepsis

Results of the Ohio State-based studies recently were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Two cardiovascular imaging research studies recently completed at Ohio State are helping physicians more accurately diagnose and treat myocardial inflammation in patients with sepsis and sarcoidosis.

Co-principal investigators of the Ohio State-based studies Subha Raman, MD, Ohio State's cardiovascular magnetic resonance medical director, and Elliott Crouser, MD, one of the directors of critical care and the director of the sarcoidosis program at Ohio State, are confident their findings can improve patient outcomes by helping with individual risk stratification and guiding larger studies targeting myocardial inflammation in at-risk patients.

Nonischemic Myocardial Changes Detected by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance in Critical Care Patients with Sepsis

Troponin, a nonspecific serum biomarker for cardiac injury, often is elevated in patients with sepsis, raising suspicion for acute coronary syndrome. For many years, physicians have noted that patients with sepsis have a higher mortality rate if troponin is elevated, as compared with septic patients who don't have an elevated level. Muscle damage was often ascribed to ischemia, prompting treatment with blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering medications, or consideration of heart catheterizations to look for damage-causing coronary artery disease.

Through use of non-contrast cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR), investigators at Ohio State have found that elevated troponin levels in patients with sepsis correspond to an inflammatory pattern of heart muscle injury, with preferential involvement of the subepicardium, rather than myocardial infarction that injures the subendocardium.

With an accurate diagnosis of myocardial inflammation, physicians can consider more tailored treatment options, including avoidance of unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments.

CMR may be helpful in patients with sepsis and elevated troponin level where the cause is uncertain.

Ohio State investigators predict that this study will prompt larger-scale clinical trials to target inflammatory myocardial injury in patients with sepsis and troponin elevation.

Improved Detection of Cardiac Sarcoidosis Using Magnetic Resonance with Myocardial T2 Mapping

Sarcoidosis is a multi-system, granulomatous disease of unknown cause that most commonly affects young adults, particularly black females. Recent studies indicate that sarcoidosis-related mortality is on the rise, perhaps relating to improved disease detection. Cardiac complications are the second leading cause of sarcoidosis-related death, and young adults particularly are at risk.

Cardiac sarcoidosis (CS) is commonly missed during routine clinical screening, including history, exam and electrocardiography (ECG). Most cases are detected for the first time during autopsy.

Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) with late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) is emerging as the preferred diagnostic modality. This may be insufficient, however, as LGE does not detect active and potentially reversible disease.

Through a retrospective study of 50 patients with histologically-proven sarcoidosis, Ohio State investigators have shown that more refined CMR-based myocardial characterization improves the detection of active myocarditis compared with LGE alone.

Given that active CS is an inflammatory condition, Ohio State researchers hypothesized that this approach demonstrates quantitative abnormalities in the myocardium of patients with sarcoidosis compared with controls, and myocardial T2 provides complementary myocardial characterization relative to LGE; these together likely form the myocardial substrate for conduction system disease and cardiac arrhythmias.

Ohio State researchers recommend CMR for patients with sarcoidosis who also have ECG abnormalities, palpitations, unexplained shortness of breath or chest pain.

CMR detection of cardiac sarcoidosis holds promise in preventing deadly – and largely under-recognized – complications of the heart by enabling earlier treatment with drugs such as immunosuppressives and steroids.

Dr. Crouser has received funding to expand sarcoidosis research to multiple centers. The investigators hope further implementation of their findings around the country and the world will reduce morbidity and mortality in cardiac disease.

Going Beyond Mice and Molecules

Going ‘‘Beyond Mice and Molecules’’ to Human Heart Disease

Cynthia James, PharmD, PhD; Vadin Federov, PhD; Peter Mohler,PhDThe National Institutes of Health recently awarded a more than $1.5 million grant to a team from The Ohio State University Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute. Three Ohio State faculty members – Cynthia A. Carnes, PharmD, PhD, Vadim V. Fedorov, PhD, and Peter Mohler, PhD, (pictured) – serve as the team of co-principal investigators. Equipped with ground-breaking technological capabilities developed by Dr. Fedorov, pre-clinical techniques enabled by Dr. Carnes, and molecular approaches facilitated with Dr. Mohler, the work will address human sinus node disease, a problem found in the pacemaker of the heart known as the sinoatrial node (SAN). Sinus node disease causes arrhythmias and is a precursor for atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition that currently afflicts over 2.2 million Americans. AF is an area of clinical strength for The Ohio State University Heart and Vascular Center. Ohio State is a national leader in terms of procedural volume in cardiac electrophysiology.

The study’s goal is to find improved therapeutic remedies to the electronic pacemaker, a device that has long been implanted in the heart to mitigate sinus node disease and is the current accepted standard of care.

The Team

The team of Drs. Carnes, Fedorov and Mohler represents a collaboration between Ohio State’s College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy. Dr. Carnes is associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Pharmacy. Dr. Mohler is a cardiovascular scientist who serves as director of Ohio State’s Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute. Dr. Fedorov, who was educated in Moscow, Russia, in physiology, is an assistant professor in Ohio State’s Department of Physiology and Cell Biology. Finally, a critical component of the team is the contribution of dedicated physician-scientists in the Department of Surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, led by Robert Higgins, MD.

Dr. Carnes originally came to Ohio State in the early 1990s to learn more about treating arrhythmias with a fellowship in Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy. She met Dr. Fedorov at a conference in Washington and the two researchers discovered a mutual interest in sinus node disease. It was a stroke of good fortune a few years ago when Dr. Fedorov arrived at Ohio State. Dr. Carnes says, “Vadim has world-class capabilities when it comes to studying the sinoatrial node, and this dovetails perfectly with my interest in arrhythmias and heart failure.”

Dr. Mohler is director of Ohio State’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute where he oversees a group of more than 600 faculty, staff and trainees in eight different colleges. His team is working to understand the mechanisms and treatments for diseases ranging from heart failure, arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death, to pulmonary and cystic fibrosis, diabetes and kidney disease.

The Misson

In the simplest terms, Drs. Carnes, Fedorov and Mohler aspire to fix damaged human hearts. The mission is two-fold. First, they want to better understand how human sinoatrial node pacemakers dysfunction and how that dysfunction leads to atrial fibrillation (AF). Second, they hope to repair SAN dysfunction in patients with either congenital or acquired sinus node disease.

“The lack of understanding of the human pacemaker system, the sinoatrial node, and its complexity remains a critical barrier to the treatment of heart rhythm disorders. Implanting an electronic pacemaker is the default remedy, but really it is a crutch,” says Dr. Fedorov. “Electronic pacemakers beat steadily at one rate. In contrast, the SAN is the internal pacemaker of the heart, so it knows when to beat faster – for example, during exercise – and when to beat slower – during sleep or rest. With this grant, we seek to restore and heal the SAN rather than rely on pacemakers as the only remedy.”

The trio begins with a hypothesis that SAN dysfunction may result from an increased sensitivity to adenosine, a metabolite of the heart that lowers heart rate and thus conductivity. The first priority of the team’s work focuses on blocking the adenosine receptor to test the hypothesis that heart failure results from adenosine-dependent signaling in the SAN.

With Dr. Fedorov’s 3D, high-resolution, near-infrared optical mapping capabilities, he can examine the SAN internally and from all angles. “Seeing the human heart through the eyes of 3D optical fluorescence mapping allows for a broad range of exciting and novel research opportunities,” says Dr. Fedorov.

The Breakthrough

“The work we are doing is truly translational medicine. We are now able to study damaged human hearts, which is something that was just a dream five years ago. Few researchers have ever done this to study sinus node disease – we are going beyond simply mice and molecules to human disease,” says Dr. Mohler.

The team’s ability to use state-of-the-art imaging technology to study a failed heart is what makes this a rare and valuable study. All three investigators cite this development as amazing progress, and they hope and believe it is just the beginning.

The Present and Future

The consensus among the team is that at least another two years of research is needed before they can begin to work on healing the SAN. They first must determine why it is not functioning correctly. At that point, Dr. Carnes believes that drug treatments may be effective. Dr. Fedorov agrees and adds that localized stem cell repairs may also be a viable treatment. Dr. Fedorov sees the work accomplished over the next three and a half years as a cornerstone of innovation.

“The work in this proposal should provide a blueprint for SAN dysfunction. It should also provide a foundation for developing highly targeted and rational treatments for human arrhythmias originating in the SAN pacemaker complex. Future work might then focus on other signaling pathways or pharmacologic treatments or stem cell delivery to modulate SAN function,” says Dr. Federov.

Dr. Carnes believes the future is bright because of the collaborative nature of this project, which is reflective of the collegial spirit endemic to the entire Ohio State community. Having spent nearly three decades at Ohio State, she attests, “We have built a first-class operation with bench-to-bedside research in arrhythmias. Teamwork is integral to everything we do. Working with Drs. Mohler and Fedorov on this project is a great example of that.”

World’s Smallest Pacemaker Being Tested at Ohio State

Wireless Micra device recently implanted in Columbus woman

A tiny pacemaker about the size of a large vitamin pill is being tested in people with bradycardia at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System is the smallest pacemaker available. Unlike conventional pacemakers that require implantation through a chest incision, this wireless device is threaded to the heart via a catheter through the femoral artery then attached directly to the heart muscle. It turns on only when the heart stops and can last up to 14 years.

Doctors at Ohio State’s Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital recently implanted the mini pacemaker in a Columbus woman as part of a global clinical trial to test its safety and effectiveness.  

“With this investigational device, the battery, the pacing electrodes, everything is in a little piece of metal sitting inside the heart. We believe that will eliminate a lot of risk for infection and complications,” says John Hummel, MD, a cardiologist and principal investigator of the trial at Ohio State.

Ralph Augostini, MD, also a cardiologist at Ohio State, says, “I think this could be a significant development in pacing procedures. This could cut our procedure time by more than half.”

For now, the tiny pacemaker is being tested in people with bradycardia who need single chamber ventricular pacing.

A former librarian, 77-year-old Mary Lou Trejo of Columbus had been suffering from atrial fibrillation for years. Her heart had slowed, despite medication and other treatments to restore rhythm, so she was eager to be among the first in the United States to participate in this clinical trial.

“The new pacemaker sounded so simple, and I have always thought research is important, so I thought this is a way I could contribute,” Trejo says.

The trial will enroll 780 patients in 50 centers worldwide. Investigators are expected to report initial results later this year, once the first 60 patients have been followed for three months.

The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System is made by Medtronic, which is funding the clinical trial. Dr. Hummel is a consultant for Medtronic. Dr. Augostini serves on a Medtronic advisory board. 

About Ohio State’s Electrophysiology Services

Ohio State’s integrated electrophysiology laboratory facility has six procedure rooms and 25 recovery rooms. We have central Ohio’s largest electrophysiology staff, with subspecialty electrophysiologists who provide focused care for a better patient experience and significantly improved outcomes.

For arrhythmia management, we have a dedicated 30-bed inpatient unit in the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital.

Make a Referral

For a referral or more information, call 1-877-293-7677 (ROSS).  


Health Care Insight

View our insights on the landscape of heart care, cardiovascular physicians and improving the health of the patients we serve.

Conquering Cardiovascular Disease on New Fronts

Health Care Insight from Our Director

We may be winning the war against the world’s number one killer.

A recent study from Europe showed a substantial decline in death rates from cardiovascular disease in most European countries over the past 30 years. This gratifying trend seems to hold true for most countries and age groups, though not all. Similar success has been reported on this side of the Atlantic.

As clinicians, this good news raises two burning questions: Will the trend continue? What more can be done?

Have We Reached The Point of Diminishing Returns?

The credit for these favorable trends over the past half century goes to the decreasing rate at which healthy individuals develop heart disease, largely due to decreased tobacco use, as well as improvements in treating heart disease once it exists. The evidence supports both.

Certainly, early detection and better treatment options have contributed to improved outcomes and longer lives. Bypass surgery, statins, stents, pacemakers, defibrillators and beta blockers are all examples of life-prolonging therapies.

But can the rate of improvement using these methods continue, or will we reach a point of diminishing returns? Some would argue we’re already there. We spend more money than ever before for each incremental improvement. Much of this cost is incurred for advanced disease during the final months or years of life.

Turning Attention to a Different Battlefront

How do we sustain the successes of the past and continue to win the war? The answer is both painfully obvious and exceedingly difficult – prevention.

We cannot afford to continue spending money on the treatment of cardiovascular diseases at the current rate. It’s not cost-effective and our economy can’t sustain it.

We will always need to provide high quality treatment for heart disease, but the focus needs to shift. We must begin to take prevention more seriously. We must learn to do it better; we must invest in it, and we must commit to it.

To this end, Ohio State’s Heart and Vascular Center has started a Wellness Series. This ongoing series of events and initiatives is designed to help our communities get healthy and stay healthy and includes fitness programs, educational events, cooking classes, risk factor screenings and athletic events.

This past summer, we sponsoreda very successful triathlon here in Columbus with more than 600 hundred healthy participants, including many who were participating in their very first triathlon ever – a great testament to such events’ ability to engage beginners on the path to wellness.

We are committed to pursuing prevention for the long-term. We understand that collaboration is critical for success, and we have teamed up with several key groups for the wellness initiatives, including the city of Columbus, Columbus Parks and Recreation, Ohio State’s Athletic Department, the Ohio State University College of Nursing, Sports Medicine, as well as our own Women’s Heart and Prevention Programs.

We are confident that we can make a difference and continue gaining victories over heart disease. What ideas do you have for prevention? I welcome your thoughts and would like to hear what’s working in your community. Please feel free to reach out to me at heartcenter@osumc.edu.

Growing the Health of Our Community

In July, Ohio State's Ross Heart Hospital kicked off its second annual TriFitChallenge Triathlon, growing the event to more than 1,000 participants and marking our triathlon as the largest in central Ohio. The chance to finish on the turf of historic Ohio Stadium, home to The Ohio State University football Buckeyes was a draw to be sure. But what really drove our participants, many of whom were beginner athletes, was the chance to improve their heart health while raising funds for heart and vascular research at Ohio State's Heart and Vascular Center.

The TriFitChallenge triathlon is the signature event of the Ross Heart Hospital Wellness Series. The Series was developed to give our community access to a variety of heart healthy activities to improve the overall health of our community.

"It's not just a nice thing to do…," says Tom Ryan, MD, Director of Ohio State's Heart and Vascular Center, "…it's the right thing to do. As an academic Medical Center, we have both the privilege and the responsibility to improve the health of our community. We developed the Ross Heart Hospital Wellness Series with that goal in mind – to create opportunities for everyone to make a change that will improve their health and his or her life."

The Series spans all forms of wellness from physical activity to nutrition and education. All funds raised through registrations to Series events are used to support cardiovascular research at Ohio State's Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.

Now in its second year, the Series has evolved to include several beginner fitness events, including run/walk 5Ks and the "mini" distances of the TriFitChallenge Triathlon. This allows people who are just starting on the path to physical fitness the chance to participate in fun, heart healthy activities that keep them motivated to stay fit.

In addition to fitness events, educational events have been added to the Series, including hands-only CPR training events at a popular outdoor shopping center, heart healthy cooking demonstrations at area farmer's markets and a series of evening heart health education events paired with wine and appetizers at upscale area restaurants.

The TriFitChallenge triathlon remains the cornerstone event of the Series, doubling its size in just one year and providing everyone from seasoned triathletes to beginners the chance to participate in a beautifully designed course spanning many of Ohio State's campus area landmarks.

"It's been a remarkable event for its ability to motivate and inspire people," says Dr. Ryan. "I am encouraged by the number of participants who are truly making a lifestyle change. That's exactly why we designed the Ross Wellness Series and it's rewarding to see it making an impact on people in our community."

To learn more about Ohio State's Ross Heart Hospital Wellness Series, visit rosswellnessseries.org.

Still a Role for the Doctor

Insight for Cardiovascular Physicians from our Director 

A few years ago, a computer named Watson faced off against some very smart humans on the TV game show Jeopardy! and won. I subsequently read that Watson was being programmed to function like a physician – taking in complex clinical information in order to render a diagnosis. I don't know how successful that experiment has been, but it is very clear that technology is having an impact and is changing the way we interact with patients.

The most pervasive example? The answer to almost every question is available, within seconds, to anyone with a smart phone. So why should we as clinicians spend time memorizing facts when they are now so readily accessible? There are arguments to be made on both sides for how much of their ‘memory bank' physicians should spend on data and facts that can now be found at the touch a finger.

Looking deeper into the debate though, it becomes clear that making an accurate diagnosis or a correct treatment decision still requires much more than access to information. Integrating data, using clinical judgment, and acting in the best interest of the patient are not yet things that we can "Google." It seems there is still a role for the doctor.

Technology has provided us with capabilities not previously possible. I was reminded of this last week while rounding on one of our teaching services. Stopping outside a patient room with a laptop computer and a tech-savvy intern, it seemed we could learn everything we needed to take care of the patient without even entering the room.

In this case, the data seemed to assure us that all was well – from vital signs to labs to test results – everything was normal. But after just five minutes of talking with the patient, it was evident that the symptoms were real and a problem existed. We were quickly able to develop a plan, communicate it to the patient and family, and assure them that the problem could and would be dealt with – no Google in sight.

The lesson, I pointed out, was a simple one. When it comes to patient care, talking to and examining the patient are still the most important things that we do. Technology will continue to have a profound impact on health care. It provides us with accurate, timely, and convenient access to information, but it does not replace the compassion and intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship. Perhaps that is one of the important lessons we can still teach the new generation of health care providers – the value of personal interaction between the doctor and patient. And it might just be the best way to avoid being replaced by a computer.

Specialty Programs

Targeted, advanced care from specialized teams of experts at Ohio State's Heart and Vascular Center.

Unique Collaboration Tackles Difficult Cases, Produces Life-Changing Results

Seeking treatment for a complex arrhythmia problem, a 35-year-old woman with adult congenital heart disease (CHD) traveled from her home in Houston, Texas, all the way to The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Her physician at Nationwide Children'’s Hospital combined expertise with an adult electrophysiologist at Ohio State'’s Heart and Vascular Center to cross a baffle in her heart constructed during pediatric surgery and successfully complete a complex ablation.

One of Few Adult/Pediatric EP Partnerships in U.S. 

The procedure is one of several performed this past year through a unique collaboration co-led by Adult Electrophysiologist Steven Kalbfleisch, MD, and Pediatric Electrophysiologist Naomi Kertesz, MD (pictured). Their Adult Congenital Electrophysiology collaboration is one of only a few in the country to merge pediatric and adult electrophysiology skills in treating arrhythmias and performing lead extractions in adults with CHD.

Naomi Kartesz, MD and Steven Kalbfleisch, MD"It's rare to have pediatric and adult EPs working together. We have two nationally ranked hospitals actively fostering collaboration among specialists for best outcomes for patients," Dr. Kertesz says.

The physicians spend clinic time together seeing patients and sharing their unique perspectives. They discuss whether the patient would benefit most from medication, a device or ablation.

"We complement each other," Dr. Kalbfleisch explains. "Adult electrophysiologists have a lot of experience with complex ablations such as atrial fibrillation and atrial flutters, and the pediatric electrophysiologists have a better understanding of the complex anatomy and natural history of the congenital abnormality."

Co-led by Drs. Kertesz and Kalbfleisch, other members of the team include adult EPs, pediatric interventional cardiologists who help them reach hard-to-access areas of the heart during complex ablations, and pediatric and adult cardiologists who assist with echocardiograms. Dr. Kalbfleisch's partner works with Dr. Kertesz to perform lead extractions so stents can be inserted into narrowed vessels.

The physicians perform EP procedures at both Ohio State'’s Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital and Nationwide Children's Hospital, depending on which venue is likely to provide optimal care for the patient.

Broader Understanding Yields Better Results

Naomi Kertesz, MD, Director of Electrophysiology and Pacing at The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Steven Kalbfleisch, MD, Medical Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology at Ohio State’s Heart and Vascular Center.

This collaboration evolved with encouragement from Curt Daniels, MD, director of the Columbus Ohio Adolescent/Adult Congenital Heart Disease (COACH) program, which serves patients at both Ohio State'’s Ross Heart Hospital and Nationwide Children'’s Hospital. Dr. Daniels frequently consulted adult or pediatric EPs, but he rarely had the benefit of their synergistic approach to patient care.

Dr. Kertesz comments, "We have patients come to us whose cases have failed because the doctors weren't ablating in the correct place, or they couldn't get to the correct place because they weren't familiar with the anatomy. We're drawing on expertise of both the pediatric and adult side to help the patient."

Case Study

The 35-year-old woman from Texas is one of more than a million American adults living with CHD.

Dr. Kertesz had first seen the patient during the 1990s and had treated her for arrhythmias. The arrhythmias had been managed with a pacemaker and medications, but symptoms worsened during the spring of 2013. When an ablation attempt failed in Houston and doctors there suggested a new regimen of medications, the patient sought Dr. Kertesz's assistance.

Drs. Kertesz and Kalbfleisch agreed to make another attempt to do an ablation. The patient arrived in June 2013 for a six-hour procedure at Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital. With the help of a pediatric interventional cardiologist, they reached both sides of the Mustard baffle constructed during the patient’s childhood to redirect blood flow. The EPs used radiofrequency energy to modify the conduction system tissue to eliminate her arrhythmia.

"She had a very unusual form of atrioventricular node re-entry, which required an approach entirely different from the typical approach." Dr. Kertesz explains. "Without an understanding of her anatomy and without an understanding of the arrhythmias common in this type of heart disease, one would have significant difficulty in trying to take care of this patient's arrhythmia."

Dr. Kertesz continues, "We couldn't completely get rid of the rhythm, but we were able to identify much better what it was. Rather than being on four medicines, the patient is now on one and feels much better than she ever has."

While the initial procedure was performed at Ohio State, subsequent procedures have been performed at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The team chooses the location for each procedure based on the specific needs of the patient and procedure.

Improving Outcomes

"We are succeeding with patients who have had other treatment attempts and failed," Dr. Kertesz says.

As Dr. Kalbfleisch further explains, "Rhythm problems such as atrial flutter and atrial tachycardia are difficult even with normal patients. For congenital patients, it's much more difficult. A typical success rate would be 60 to 70 percent for a person with CHD versus 80 to 90 percent for a normal heart. With this dedicated program, we can be much more successful."

He expects increased collaboration and volume as the collaboration enters its second year.

"Bringing expertise from all of these different areas enhances the quality of patient care and patient outcomes," he adds.

The success of this collaboration has set the stage for other partnerships. Pediatric and adult interventionists are working on valve problems collaboratively, and plans to create a combined genetic arrhythmia collaboration are under discussion.

To learn more, visit: NationwideChildrens.org/HeartCenter or call 614-293-ROSS (7677).

Aiding Patients With Heart-Related Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Ohio State Heart Disease Program for Cancer Patients and Cancer Survivors

“As we are saving more patients from cancer with radiation and chemotherapy, the challenge we face is that up to one-fourth of them are now developing heart disease,” says Ragavendra Baliga, MD, board certified cardiologist specializing in heart failure and heart transplantation at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Ross Heart Hospital.

He and co-director Garrie Haas, MD, also a heart failure specialist, have developed a heart disease program for cancer patients and survivors. Central Ohio’s only cardio-oncology clinic, the two-year-old program sees three to four new patients a week.

“Our numbers are growing, and we see the opportunity to increase significantly, especially as the new billion-dollar James Cancer Hospital gets set to open in late 2014, creating much greater capacity to treat cancer patients,” Dr. Baliga says.

Heart-Related Side Effects From Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs introduced over the past 10 years have proved to be highly effective in arresting cancers, but they have created a new risk for heart disease.

Per Food and Drug Administration guidelines, oncologists at leading medical centers, including Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, are ordering surveillance echocardiograms as soon as patients begin chemotherapy for cancers of the breast, kidneys and lungs, leukemias, lymphomas, sarcomas and some childhood cancers.

If patients receiving chemotherapy are showing signs of heart failure, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, thrombus or other heart distress, the Cardio-Oncology Clinic at Ohio State can work with patients and their oncologists to manage symptoms so they can resume cancer treatment as quickly and safely as possible.

“If problems are caught early, such as cardiomyopathy, many people recover full heart function,” Dr. Baliga says. “We may see them once a year in follow-up for an MRI to make sure the heart looks good.” In addition, the clinic oversees newly diagnosed patients with known heart disease who find themselves facing cancer treatment.

Radiation Risks

Radiation to the chest also poses a risk of coronary and valvular disease, often years after the treatment. For example, patients treated with radiation for Hodgkin’s lymphoma are seven times more likely to die of cardiovascular problems compared with the general population.

Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center cardio-oncology team of two physicians and two nurses works closely with patients to manage symptoms during routine visits and through frequent follow-up calls.

“Our goal is to keep people out of the hospital by managing their symptoms effectively,” Dr. Baliga says.

Cardio-Oncology Clinic Strives for Improved Outcomes

By bringing cardio-oncology patients under one umbrella, Drs. Baliga and Haas aim to use their expertise to achieve better outcomes for cancer patients and survivors with heart disease. Their strong collaboration with oncologists further ensures optimal care for patients.

 They have begun to collect clinical data with the hopes of joining an international registry that will capture data on thousands of patients and report trends.

“Cancer patients with heart failure need special treatment beyond what a general cardiologist can provide,” Dr. Baliga explains. “There’s little evidence-based practice to guide physicians. At our clinic, we know the spectrum of side effects, and we’re up-to-date on the literature. With our increasing experience and expertise, we can bring lifesaving treatment to people facing the dual challenge of cancer and heart disease.”


Ohio State's Level One Heart and Vascular Emergency Program

One Couple. Two Heart Attacks. Life-Saving STEMI Care at Work.

When an eastern Ohio couple suffered heart attacks on the same day, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was able to provide the high-level tertiary care that ultimately saved both their lives.

Cindy and Bill GrahamCindy Graham, pictured here with her husband, Bill, was watching TV one morning when she noticed her husband slumped over the table.

“I knew something was wrong immediately,” Cindy says. “I called his name and slapped his face, and then I dialed 9-1-1.”

The dispatcher talked Cindy through CPR while the squad was on its way.

“I had to get him on the floor, which was very hard to do. While I was on the phone, Bill let out a few breaths of air. When the ambulance got here – within about five minutes – they shocked him eight times,” she said.

With Bill in full cardiac arrest, Cindy went outside, crying that her husband was gone. Shortly afterward, a paramedic found her passed out in the yard – Cindy was having a heart attack, too.

When Every Minute Counts

Husband and wife were rushed to their local hospital in Barnesville, Ohio. Bill was assessed for STEMI – ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction – the most serious form of heart attack.

He was transported by air to Ohio State’’s Wexner Medical Center, more than 100 miles away. Cindy followed in an ambulance.

Once at Ohio State’s University Hospital East, Bill received a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

“The treating physician dilated the clogged artery with a balloon and placed a stent. That solved the problem by opening up the artery that caused the heart attack,” says Dr. Vincent Pompili, MD, FACC, director of Interventional Cardiovascular Medicine and Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.

While Bill received his procedure, Cindy was diagnosed with a less time-sensitive type of heart attack – non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).

The team found multiple blockages and recommended possible open heart surgery because of her high risk. She was transferred to Ohio State’s Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital, but after careful deliberation by her cardiac care team, Cindy received the same cardiac cath procedure as her husband.

A Case Study for Excellent Coordinated Care

Bill and Cindy Graham’s unusual story is a great example of team work delivering advanced care that saves lives through Ohio State’s Level I Heart and Vascular Emergency program. The program works with nearly 200 hospitals in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

As part of the program, emergency medical personnel transporting patients to Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center issue a “STEMI alert” from the field. With one phone call, surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and imaging technologists are mobilized to prepare for the arriving patient.

By bypassing the normal triage process in the emergency department and transporting the patient directly to the cardiac catheterization lab, the waiting team of medical specialists can begin treatment immediately.

Thanks to protocols like this one, Ohio State is a leader in STEMI care throughout central Ohio – achieving an average door-to-open-artery time of only 47 minutes. That’s nearly twice as fast as the national average of 90 minutes.

How Ohio State Built a Leading Regional Program

“We set out to maximize excellence in an area where there was an unmet clinical need for improving access and the process for patients in need of STEMI care,” Pompili says.

But success didn’t happen overnight.

“Seven years ago when we started our program, we had excellent clinical care, but many barriers to accessing it. It took true dedication from our leaders to analyze each and every barrier in the process and figure out how to negate them. Each refinement and each barrier removed means faster care for our patients.”

“To this day, we assemble a dedicated team who meets regularly to continue process improvements to push the boundaries of our STEMI program even further,”says Pompili.

In addition to STEMI, Ohio State’s Level I Heart and Vascular Emergency program treats other heart and vascular emergencies, such as ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute aortic dissection, acute limb ischemia and cardiogenic shock.

Personalized Care Leads to Best Treatment Results for Patients

Today Bill and Cindy are back home and doing well.

“It’s an interesting story with a happy ending on both sides,” says Dr. Pompili. “The fact that she did CPR on her husband is amazing. She was able to save his life until the squad came.”

Both Grahams have quit smoking, with help from nicotine patches provided by the hospital, and they have taken up walking. Bill is in rehab, and Cindy has returned to her job wrapping meat at a local store.

The Grahams were very pleased with the care they received at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“Everyone was so nice at both University Hospital East and the Ross. They treated us like old friends when they came into the room and always explained everything to me,” says Cindy. “They were absolutely wonderful.”

Easing the Heart’s Workload

New director, new studies propel Ventricular Assist Device Program forward

With one of the country’s largest ventricular assist device (VAD) programs, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is offering people with advanced heart failure fresh hope for a better quality of life. Ahmet Kilic, MD, newly appointed medical director of Ohio State’s Ventricular Assist Device Program, leads both clinical and research efforts.

Ohio State’s Ventricular Assist Capabilities

Ohio State is recognized worldwide for its leadership in cardiac mechanical support. We have three cardiac surgeons who specialize in mechanical assist devices. Together, they implant long-term and temporary devices in more than 50 patients a year.

“We have the largest heart failure program in central Ohio, and most of our patients have advanced heart failure. Our goal is to recommend the best option for each person and provide excellent, patient-focused care,” says Ayesha Hasan, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon and associate professor of Cardiovascular Medicine. “We want to see people as early as possible in the disease process to provide optimal outcomes. In the majority of cases, we can help improve the quality of life,” she continues.

Dr. Kilic adds, “Our expertise in providing a continuum of care for heart failure patients through a dedicated Heart Failure Disease Clinic allows us to care for some of the most complex patients.”

Primary reasons to implant long-term devices are as a bridge to heart transplantation or as destination therapy — a permanent solution for patients with advanced heart failure.

Devices include:

  • Heartmate, a VAD implanted in the chest to promote continuous blood flow from the left side of the heart into the aorta. The VAD is run by a small external computer, which is connected to the pump via a small cable that passes through the upper abdomen.
  • HeartWare, a more recently developed VAD approved as bridge to transplantation. It is implanted entirely within the heart sac and can be implanted in a wide range of people, including those of smaller stature. 
  • C-Pulse counterpulsation technology, available only through clinical trials. See below.

In addition, our surgeons can help patients in cardiogenic shock with temporary devices that sit outside the body to provide immediate circulatory support. “We have access to every available ventricular assist device, and our short-term and long-term survival rates exceed the national average. Quality in care is something we are very proud of and we will continue to hold ourselves to the highest expectations for our patients,” Dr. Kilic says.

VAD Research

“We have a very robust research program,” Dr. Kilic explains. “Taking part in national and international trials translates into better care for our patients.”

VAD studies currently under way at Ohio State include:

  • HeartWare clinical trial to evaluate the pump’s effectiveness as a destination therapy in addition to continuation of its Food and Drug Administration-approved use as a bridge to transplant 
  • HeartMate II® Prevent trial to reduce the rate of and prevent  pump thrombosis
  • HeartMate II® Roadmap trial to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of this VAD versus optimal medical management in ambulatory heart failure patients
  • C-Pulse trial to evaluate counterpulsation technology that acts like a balloon pump to increase coronary blood flow and cardiac output and reduce the heart’s pumping workload among patients with Class III and ambulatory Class IV heart failure

Ohio State enrolls its patients in INTERMACS (Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support), a national registry with more than 6,000 patients from 145 hospitals that helps classify the severity of a patient’s illness and predict mortality of patients receiving a VAD implant.

Comprehensive Care Model for Heart Failure

Our surgeons collaborate with heart failure specialists, nurse practitioners, VAD coordinators, pharmacists, social workers and dietitians — all working in our Heart Failure Disease Clinic — to provide ongoing care for more than 90 patients with long-term VADs.

Looking Forward

VAD procedure numbers continue to increase at Ohio State, as a long-standing tradition of excellent care continues. “We’re on the forefront with new technology, including clinical trials in 2015 for the next generation of devices,” Dr. Kilic says. “My hope is to continue to build on the VAD Program’s strengths and engage the various physicians involved in the care of these complex patients. With continuous communication and early referral, we can continue to care for the ever-increasing number of heart failure patients. 

“The goal is to not only improve their survival, but perhaps more importantly, the quality of life for all of those suffering from advanced heart failure,” Dr. Kilic concludes.

About Our Medical Director

Ahmet Kilic, MD, joined The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in 2011 as a cardiothoracic surgeon, assistant professor of Surgery in the Division of Cardiac Surgery and clinical investigator for the Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.

In addition to serving as medical director for the Ventricular Assist Device Program, he helps lead Ohio State’s Level 1 Heart and Vascular Emergency Program and is the director of Education for the Cardiothoracic Surgery Training Program.

Dr. Kilic earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia – Virginia Commonwealth University. He completed his surgical training at the University of Maryland and his cardiothoracic surgery residency at the University of Virginia.

You can reach Dr. Kilic at ahmet.kilic@osumc.edu or at 410-302-1396.

Make a Referral to Ohio State’s Mechanical Assist Device Program

Heart Failure Disease Clinic

614-293-6038

888-293-7677

VAD and Heart Transplant

614-293-3787

800-538-1886

URGENT REFERRAL

If a patient’s condition warrants an urgent outpatient evaluation or inpatient transfer, please notify us so we can expedite the patient’s care. To arrange a same-day physician consult or patient transfer, call our 24-hour referral and transfer service at 614-293-4444 or 800-824-8236.


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