With an official nod from the Maryland Health Care Commission
late last month, a new partnership between NHLBI, Suburban Hospital
in Bethesda and Johns Hopkins Medicine promises to deepen the cardiothoracic
surgery, clinical research and physician- training expertise of
all three institutions. When the program opens its doors in early
2006, Suburban Hospital will offer open-heart surgery and angioplasty
for the first time, and NHLBI will bolster its surgical research
capabilities with a clinical practice at its doorstep.
The research component of the cardiothoracic surgery alliance
began in 2004, but the recent regulatory approval made the clinical
program a reality. Since 1999, NHLBI and Suburban have collaborated
on a study to evaluate the effectiveness of magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) in diagnosing heart attack and coronary artery disease
in emergency room patients. Currently, the two institutions are
researching the role of adult stem cells and progenitor cells in
improving blood flow to the heart muscle of patients who've had
Dr. Keith Horvath, Dr. Robert Balaban and Dr. Elizabeth Nabel of
NHLBI and Dr. Kenneth Kent, chief of cardiology at Suburban, will
lead the program. Dr. William A. Baumgartner at Johns Hopkins University
is providing start-up guidance.
|The new NHLBI and Suburban
Hospital partnership will bring more cardiothoracic surgical
expertise to Bethesda. Shown are (from l) Dr. Keith Horvath
of NHLBI and Suburban’s Dr. Eugene Passamani and Dr.
"The program unites the hands-on community private practice with
the most current diagnosis and treatment available at NIH," said
Nabel, who is NHLBI director. "The partnership leverages the strengths
of both Suburban and NHLBI and promises not only to expand our
knowledge of heart disease, but also to improve the care of the
Protocols developed as part of the new program will fall within
one of three major categories: cellular processes, bioengineering
and xenografts. Specifically, research will include the restoration
and maintenance of blood flow to the heart, valvular surgery and
porcine grafts for heart failure.
"The most rewarding facet of this program will be the ability
to take the most innovative, state-of-the-art research from the
bench to the bedside of patients and to directly impact care the
next day," said Horvath. "And to do all of this literally by walking
across the street."