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Dr. SmythAs a cornerstone of the UK Gill Heart Institute, The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine's mission is to improve the cardiovascular health of Kentucky and the nation by uniting excellence in patient care with ground-breaking research, outstanding education and preventive efforts.

Our vision is to be among the top 10 public cardiovascular programs in the country by providing research-driven patient care and applying the latest evidence and technology.

The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine's 30 faculty, 20 advanced-practice providers and two cardiovascular pharmacy specialists are dedicated to actively seeking treatments for heart and vascular disease. They are committed to providing the best and most appropriate care to all patients.

Despite impressive progress in treating heart and vascular conditions during the past 30 years, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Kentucky and the United States. Developing novel tools and implementing the latest medical evidence and technology are essential if we are to eliminate cardiovascular disease in the country.

Nearly one-third of our faculty are funded by the National Institutes of Health or private organizations such as the American Heart Association.

Currently, four junior faculty positions are supported by career development awards.

We are home to two training grants from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute – one for predoctoral students and one for postdoctoral fellows in cardiovascular science.

In 2012, Alan Daugherty PhD, DSc, was appointed as Editor-in-Chief of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Discoveries made by our physicians and scientists have provided new diagnostic tools, therapies and better understanding of cardiovascular disease. We maintain a strong, consistent record of publications in the nation’s foremost peer-reviewed medical journals.

We are also committed to educating physicians and scientists in training and to disseminating knowledge to local communities about advances and emerging issues in cardiovascular disease.

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Please tour the pages of our website that describe our history, services and accomplishments. In them, you will learn of our commitment to the highest standards of excellence in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and our dedication to scholarly pursuits that will improve the future of heart health in Kentucky and the nation.

  • Research

    Research in the division spans basic science to clinical research to population studies. Investigators focused on basic science advances have laboratory space in the Saha Cardiovascular Research Center located in the Biomedical Biological Sciences Building.  Under the direction of Alan Daugherty, PhD, DSc, the Saha CVRC is home to extramurally funded programs in:  

    • Atherosclerosis and aneurysm (Alan Daugherty, PhD, DSc;; Vicky King, PhD; Hong Lu, MD, PhD; Venkat Subramanian, PhD)
    • Cardiac imaging (Steve Leung, MD; Vincent Sorrell, MD;)
    • Bioactive lipid mediators (Andrew Morris, PhD; Susan Smyth, MD, PhD; Ahmed Abdel-Latif, MD, MSPH)
    • Platelet function and thrombosis (Zhenyu Li, MD, PhD; Susan Smyth, MD, PhD)
    • Stem-cell biology (Ahmed Abdel-Latif, MD, MSPH)

    Many of our investigators are also engaged in studies to understand the links between obesity and cardiovascular disease.  

    Research is facilitated by state-of-the-art technology for small molecule mass spectrometry (under the direction of Andrew Morris, PhD) and advance cardiovascular imaging.  Indeed, the University of Kentucky houses one of seven institutions in the country to have the state-of-the-art 7-Tesla ClinScan MRI for imaging in preclinical, animal models. Working with world leaders at the University of Virginia (Dr. Frederick Epstein’s laboratory), UK investigators have established advanced mouse cardiac MRI sequences that allow direct quantification of sub-millimeter motion from mouse hearts beating over 500 times per minute. Our ClinScan MRI has a Siemens control system identical to the MRIs used in our cardiology clinic, which facilitates direct translation of our findings in mice into a greater understanding of the human heart.

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    The division supports a clinical trial section, led by Khaled Ziada, MD, and clinical research manager Jennifer Isaacs, MS, MS, CCRP. Phase I-IV drug and device clinical trials across a multitude of areas including structural heart disease, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and electrophysiology are currently in progress.

    The strength of our clinical research efforts, particularly regarding innovative catheter-based approaches to heart and vascular disease, is unmatched. We lead the latest in cardiovascular treatment including renal denervation, left atrial pressure monitoring for heart failure, resorbable coronary stents and stem cell regenerative medicine.

    Historically, we have been a top enroller in multicenter trials investigating novel devices for PFO closure, left atrial pressure monitoring (to treat heart failure) and ASD closure, as well as novel drugs for treatment of ACS and the prevention of secondary coronary events.

    Our strength and commitment to clinical trial research increases the accessibility of state-of-the-art treatments to patients across Kentucky that would otherwise not exist in this region of the country. The University of Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, places the university in an elite group of 60 biomedical research institutions poised to solve the toughest challenges in medicine and surgery using innovative approaches.

  • Clinical Care

    Our physicians and staff work tirelessly to provide comprehensive and compassionate heart care to our patients, whether they need treatment for a common condition or one that requires advanced procedures and technology.

    Our inpatient services, under the direction of Paul Anaya, MD, PhD, are located primarily in the combined Cardiovascular and Thoracic Intensive Care Unit (CVTICU) and on the eighth floor of Pavilion A of UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. We also provide consultative cardiology services at UK Good Samaritan Hospital.

    Many of our faculty have part-time appointments at the Lexington VA Medical Center, a fully accredited, two-division, tertiary care medical center with 199 hospital beds. David C. Booth, MD, serves as Chief of Cardiology at the Lexington VA Medical Center.

    Outpatient clinics are directed by Meenakshi Bhalla, MD. Outreach activities and the Gill Heart & Vascular Affiliate Network are directed by Rick McClure, MD, and have expanded across the region.

    Our clinical subspecialties include:

    • Interventional Cardiology, led by Khaled Ziada, MD
    • Cardiovascular Imaging, led by Vincent Sorrell, MD
    • Heart Failure/Transplant/Circulatory Assistance, led by Navin Rajagopalan, MD
    • Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, led by Meenakshi Bhalla, MD, FACC
    • Pulmonary Hypertension, led by David Booth, MD
    • Structural Heart and Valve program, led by John Gurley, MD
    • Echocardiography, led by Mikel D. Smith, MD.

    The division is supported by two cardiovascular specialty-trained pharmacists – Tracy McCauley and Craig Beavers – who actively participate in clinical, research and educational activities of the division. The division also has 10 advanced-practice providers who specialize in the management of inpatient and office practice of cardiovascular care.

  • Education

    Our Cardiovascular Diseases Fellowship program, directed by Vince Sorrell, MD and Steve Leung, MD, offers superb clinical training in the active academic environment of UK Chandler Hospital, the affiliated Lexington VA Medical Center and UK Good Samaritan Hospital.

    Currently, we have 19 general cardiology fellows, four interventional fellows, one imaging fellow, one electrophysiology fellow, one heart failure fellow and four research fellows. The program plans to add an electrophysiology fellow in 2013.

    In addition to formal training for students, residents and fellows, we host weekly Cardiovascular Grand Rounds seminars that feature thought leaders in the field as well as lively and interactive Cardiovascular Journal Clubs.

    The excellence of our training programs has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health and other organizations such as the American Heart Association and the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions.  

    Highly competitive extramural T32 support has been obtained from the National Institutes of Health for trainees in the cardiovascular area:

    • The University of Kentucky Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Training Program (Alan Daugherty, PhD, program director) supports students interested in pursuing a long-term research and teaching career in the cardiovascular sciences.
    • The Research Training in Muscle Biology of Cardiopulmonary Disease Program (Michael Reid, PhD, program director) trains predoctoral and medical students for muscle research in the context of cardiopulmonary disease.
    • The University of Kentucky Training Program for Clinical Scholars in Cardiovascular Science (Susan Smyth, MD, PhD, program director) is designed to prepare exceptional clinical and postdoctoral fellows to assume leadership positions directing multidisciplinary research in the field of cardiovascular medicine.

    Related links

  • Events

    The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine sponsors a weekly continuing education series. Seminars are held Fridays from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in room 234 of the Biological-Pharmaceutical Complex. Please contact the host if you wish to have lunch with or meet the speaker during his or her time on campus.