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Read the latest news for December 2021 from the IU Cardiovascular Institute.

December 2021 Newsletter

graphic reads "One IU CV Newsletter"

Cardiovascular Institute 

One, diverse academic health enterprise where people come to receive the highest quality heart and vascular care in their community while also enabling relentless innovation that fuels better health for Indiana and beyond. Read on to learn about recent advances in realizing this vision.

Cheers to all you do for our patients, our families, and each other throughout the year. Here's wishing you and yours a joyful holiday season, and the best of health and happiness in 2022.  

Welcome to our Team

CV Institute and Krannert Cardiovascular Research Center are thrilled to announce our successful recruitment of Khadijah Breathett, MD. She is a nationally recognized heart failure & transplant cardiologist committed to achieving national health equity among populations with the highest prevalence of heart failure - patients of color and women. Dr. Breathett is leading national multicenter Clinical Trials, supported by a considerable portfolio of NIH funding, and is committed to translating advances to reduce CV health disparities in Indiana and beyond. 

Dr. Khadijah Breathett 


Top News

IUHP Specialty Care Top Performer Award: Advanced Heart & Lung Clinic

Based upon feedback from our patients, the Advanced Heart & Lung Clinic has earned the honor of being the IU Health Physicians Specialty Care Top Performer in patient experience for Q3 2021 with a score of 95.52%. Congratulations to the entire team for delivering the best care and personalized approaches for every patient, every time! 

AHC Heart and Lung Clinic


The President's Values Leadership Award: IU Health Ball Heart & Lung Center

Cheers to the IU Health Ball Heart & Lung Center team for being awarded the 2021 President's Values Leadership award,  demonstrating extraordinary dedication to the IU Health vision, values and promise, both at work and in their community. This team's most significant impact is the attainment of exceptional outcomes that exceed national metrics. The IU Health Ball Heart & Lung Center executes a unique model that combines all care modalities to provide the very best care to some of the most vulnerable patients with respect, kindness and empathy. 

IU Health Ball Memorial Heart & Lung Center 


Pivotal Vascular Case: Implantation of Human Acellular Vessel

The IU Health Vascular team provided a first-in-Indiana operations for a patient at the legacy IU Health Bloomington Hospital on December 2, 2021. The team led by Dr. Duangnapa Cuddy and Dr. David Peterson implanted a Human Acellular Vessel (HAV) to improve outcomes for a female patient with kidney disease. The HAV is the first bioengineered blood vessel that once implanted will regenerate becoming indistinguishable from the patient's own tissue and is currently in phase lll clinical studies for use in AV access and trauma. This case embodies the values we seek to fulfil each day in both the ordinary, and extraordinary, work and that will contribute to fostering education, innovation, and collaboration. 


Fellowship Match Results

December 1st was Fellowship Match Day. We matched 5/5 openings and are excited to welcome a new group of physicians to our fellowship training program! 

Our new Cardiovascular Disease Fellows starting July 2022: 
(Name and Residency)
Arjun Khadilkar, University of South Florida
Natalia Reborido-Campoy, Ascension St. Vincent Hospital
Jacob Sama, John Hopkins University, Bayview Medical Center
Marina Sharif, Virginia Commonwealth University
Nathan Wheeler, University of Wisconsin


Krannert Cardiovascular Research Center Highlights


Thomas Everett, PhD, was recently awarded a National Institutes of Health RO1 for his application entitled: "SKNA as a Biomarker for Cardiovascular Events". He and his team have developed a new method to non-invasively measure skin sympathetic nerve activity and have recently documented that sympathetic nerve activity correlates to the onset of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. This research program proposes to determine if the skin sympathetic nerve activity can be used as a prognostic biomarker for neurological status during targeted temperature management for cardiac arrest and to risk stratify patients for recurrence of atrial fibrillation after ablation therapy.

Dr. Behzad Sharif was selected as an awardee of the Indiana Collaborative Initiative for Talent Enrichment (INCITE) program funded by the Lilly Endowment to attract top biomedical scientists to IU School of Medicine. He will use this funding to foster new industry-academic partnerships between KCVRC and Cook Medical, leveraging a new platform of "low field" MRI scanners which have a wider bore. Using a combination of technologies including artificial intelligence, Dr. Sharif's collaborative efforts will focus on enabling the next generation of MRI-guided cardiovascular interventions and to expand the application of cardiac MRI to a much wider cohort of patients across the state. 

61027-Sharif, Behzad



Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) is a rare but fatal syndrome requiring an invasive test called right heart catheterization for diagnosis. IPAH is characterized by significant heterogeneity with varied treatment responses between different patients. In Dr. Ankit Desai's recent publication in Nature Communications, he participated with European colleagues to show how conventional clinical factors incorporated with genetic and genomic signatures identify three major patient sub-groups that account for 92% of patients with disease. This combined algorithm further classifies these three groups with either a poor, moderate, or good prognosis. The work provides evidence for the existence of 3 major subgroups within the IPAH classification and could improve risk stratification as well as provide molecular insights into the pathological development of IPAH. 

Cheers to Thomas Everett, PhD for his recent publications on obstructive sleep apnea and abnormality increased sympathetic tone, improved with CPAP, use of Holter monitoring for both ECG and skin sympathetic nerve activity recording, and bursts of sympathetic nerve activity in patients with heart disease that may trigger arrhythmias



Emerging Leaders

Dr. Roopa Rao and Dr. Stephen Cook have been accepted into the IUSM Department of Medicine/Kelley School of Business Program entitled, "Business of Medicine Leadership Program". This program is designated to provide clinical faculty and emerging leaders with a professional development opportunity to increase business acumen, leadership and expertise. 

Dr. Olexandr (Alex) Smolensky has been selected by leaders across OneIUCV for the 2021-2022 Emerging Leaders Training Program. The goal of this program is to empower our physicians with the approaches and insights needed to be successful leaders at IU Health/IU School of Medicine. 

 2428-Smolensky, Alexander


Honors and Recognitions

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Dalsing who has been elected to serve as the President of the national Society of Vascular Surgeons for a one year term from 2022-2023. 

Dr. Michael Dalsing



Dr. Onyedika Ilonze's manuscript was recently accepted for publication in Heart Failure Reviews. The impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection and optimal immunosuppression strategy in heart transplant recipients is unknown. Literature is limited to case reports and series and recently, few single center studies. To better identify the clinical features, outcomes, and immunosuppression strategies of heart transplant recipients with COVID-19 infection, Dr. Ilonze and his team analyzed all the case reports and case series and analyzed the clinical outcomes and management strategies. In conclusion, in heart transplant recipients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, new onset LV dysfunction is uncommon. They also have a higher mortality than the general population; and a strategy of increasing steroids and discontinuation of antimetabolites was the most used immunosuppression strategy. 

Dr. Mithilesh Das and Dr. Lawrence Lee's manuscript was accepted for publication in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. The Convergent Procedure is a collaborative treatment option for atrial fibrillation that combines the strengths of both minimally invasive surgical and catheter-based ablations. This procedure is the only FDA-approved treatment for certain types of chronic atrial fibrillation (which are notoriously difficult to treat). The Convergent Procedure is performed in two parts: the first part consists of a surgical ablation performed by a cardiac surgeon through a small incision below the ribcage, and the second part consists of a catheter-based ablation performed by an electrophysiologist several weeks later. Recovery time is minimal and patients can resume normal activities almost immediately. The Convergent Procedure offers patients and their physicians an effective treatment strategy that combines the best of current surgical and catheter-based options that maximize successful outcomes while minimizing risks. 



Do you have a story that reflects the strength of our statewide system for cardiovascular care? 
Please email so we can share with the team!

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Cardiovascular Institute

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide—and in Indiana. Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than the next three leading causes combined. To meet this challenge, the Cardiovascular Institute brings together highly skilled caregivers, researchers, and educators into close collaboration to improve the health of patients and communities across Indiana.

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December 2021 Newsletter