Research

The Division of Cardiology and the Pauley Heart Center are dedicated to the performance of cutting edge research in the cardiovascular field. The cardiology division physicians and investigators have received significant NIH funding for more than three decades, and faculty members are awarded more than $2 million annually from public and private entities in support of basic and clinical research.

Our mission is to:

  • Facilitate cutting edge research in the cardiovascular field.
  • Enhance collaboration among cardiovascular researchers at VCU.
  • Provide resources for performing cardiovascular research.
  • Provide multidisciplinary training in cardiovascular science to residents, cardiology fellows, clinical investigators, graduate and undergraduate students.

The Pauley Heart Center Research Facility is a newly renovated, state of the art facility located in Sanger Hall on the VCU Medical Center Campus. The labs are equipped with cardiac catheterization for animals, echocardiography, modern surgical facilities, a Nikon confocal microscope and cell and tissue culture facilities.

Our basic research lab deals primarily with cardiovascular research on ischemia and reperfusion injury. This includes investigations on different approaches and therapeutic tools that have the potential to minimize the damage to the heart that occurs following a heart attack.

Clinical research is ongoing in each of our subspecialty areas, with a common goal of optimizing outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease utilizing the latest imaging and pharmacologic technologies and devices.

The physicians in our electrophysiology clinic are involved in research on new investigational devices for bradycardia pacing, anti-tachycardia pacing and defibrillation, as well as new investigational anti-arrhythmic drugs. The faculty is working with several companies to develop new tools and techniques to cure atrial fibrillation through a variety of ablation systems, including both radiofrequency and cryoablation.

Our cardiac catheterization laboratory physicians are focused on improving efficiency and safety of guidewire passage by the use of a magnetic guidance system for steering wires; using cath lab-based CT to enhance assessment of blockages and cardiac function; and evaluating new drugs used as an adjunct treatment to coronary intervention.

The cardiologists and support staff of the noninvasive cardiology laboratories are involved in new and continuing research focused on equipment development, devices and drug interventions. The lab faculty members collaborate on a variety of research projects with their colleagues in other areas of cardiology, including interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, acute cardiac care and heart failure.

The division sustains research funding of approximately $7 million a year. Projects in basic research include investigations of the mechanism of cardiovascular injury and endothelium-dependent responses.

  • Interventional cardiology with new robotic techniques
  • New drug therapies for arrhythmias and heart failure
  • Clinical evaluation of the rotablator atherectomy device
  • Intracoronary stent for vein graft stenosis
  • Laser angioplasty in coronary stenosis
  • New devices for heart failure
  • New techniques for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation
  • New mapping technologies for catheter ablation and atrial fibrillation