ECCRI Research

ECCRI is actively engaged in collaborative, multidisciplinary research seeking ways to better treat cardiovascular disease, identify and reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and improve the practice of cardiovascular medicine.  Our faculty are currently participating in ongoing clinical, translational and health services studies within the following areas:

Biomarkers and Genomics

The Emory Cardiovascular Biobank was established to investigate the genetic basis of oxidative stress, vascular dysfunction, cardiovascular disease and stroke. The biobank contains over 5000 blood specimens that are stored for DNA, RNA, proteomics, metabolomics, and biomarker assays.  Biobank samples are obtained from patients undergoing cardiac catheterization at Emory University Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, and the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center.  Samples are continually collected and IRB approval for this study is renewed on an annual basis. 

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Cell Therapy

ECCRI Investigator, Arshed A. Quyyumi, MD, is at the forefront of research into the use of stem cells for the treatment and repair of damaged heart and vascular tissue.   ECCRI is currently involved in a number of studies investigating the use of stem cells as a possible therapy for cardiovascular diseases including peripheral arterial disease, myocardial ischemia, acute MI, and heart failure. 

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Cost Effectiveness and Outcomes Measurement

Through primary and secondary data analysis, ECCRI investigators are able to answer important clinical and preventive medicine research questions, specifically to measure outcomes and determine the cost effectiveness of cardiovascular imaging strategies and preventive interventions.  

Under the direction of Principal Investigator Leslee Shaw, PhDthe ISCHEMIA Imaging Coordinating Center (ICC) oversees the Nuclear, CMR and Echo imaging core labs that are certifying sites and interpreting images for the NIH-funded International Study for Comparative Effectiveness of Medical and Invasive Approaches (ISCHEMIA) clinical trial. 

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Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, however, that burden is disproportionately higher in many racial and ethnic groups.  Investigators at ECCRI are involved in a wide array of studies designed to better understand the physiological, psychosocial, and environmental causes of cardiovascular disease disparities. 

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Clinical researchers from Emory’s Electrophysiology clinical program are participating in a number of studies investigating novel treatments for arrhythmia.  Investigators have ongoing clinical trials of new pacemakers, defibrillators, ablation catheters, as well as new ways to use existing devices to help patients.

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Heart Failure

ECCRI researchers are conducting several clinical trials as one of only nine centers participating nationally in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Heart Failure Clinical Research Network (HFCRN).  Additionally, ECCRI is one of 17 collaborating centers from 10 countries participating in a new international consortium project aimed at earlier detection and prevention of heart failure. 

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Medical Ethics

Through a series of studies investigating the ethical issues related to emergency research trials that use federal exception from consent Neal Dickert, MD, PhD, is working to remove barriers to conducting clinical research under emergent conditions while improving patients' understanding of and participation in clinical research studies.

Mental Stress and Heart Disease

It is well established that emotional stress, anger, depressed mood and other psychological states can trigger acute myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death in susceptible individuals.

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Sports Cardiology

ECCRI is at the forefront in the emerging sub-specialty of Sports Cardiology.  Researchers are studying the cardiovascular adaptations that are unique to different athletes of all levels and working to translate those findings into better clinical care.   With increased understanding of the biophysical changes that take place due to intense athletic training, investigators are providing insight into the impact of exercise on cardiovascular disease which could lead to future application in the general population.  

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Vascular Studies

Vascular dysfunction  often precedes development of vascular disease, and ultimately precipitates hypertension, atherosclerosis and their complications. ECCRI researchers are using a translational approach to characterize the molecular pathways that modulate vascular health to determine the combined effects of genetics, race, environmental, and psycho-social risk factors on the vasculature.

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