Cardiology Research

Recognized nationally and internationally, the Cardiovascular Research Laboratory at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Rangos Research Center was designed to provide an environment in which researchers and clinicians could work side by side to study clinically relevant cardiovascular problems. The work here has gained worldwide respect and recognition in the field of congenital heart disease.

Congenital cardiovascular (CV) malformations represent one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in children and adults, however, it remains unclear how congenital CV malformations occur. Our research laboratories investigate the physiology and biomechanics of developing CV systems in chick and mouse embryos in order to better understand the structural and functional maturation of the normal heart and blood vessels and the causes for congenital heart disease.

Our laboratory has pioneered the integrated use of microinstruments to measure blood pressure, blood flow, and cardiac chamber dimensions in the 1 millimeter diameter embryonic heart. Because embryonic CV structural and functional maturation in chick and mouse embryos resembles human development, we can use these animal models to determine the relationship between biomechanical loading conditions and morphogenesis. For example, we have produced a model of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) in the chick embryo by chronically reducing left ventricular filling via partial left-atrial ligation (LAL). We have also created experimental models of increased ventricular work via narrowing of the ventricular outflow tract (conotruncal banding - CTB) and by unilateral vitelline artery ligation (VAL).

In order to better understand the interactions between mother and fetus (in mammals) that may contribute to altered CV morphogenesis, we also investigate maternal and embryonic/fetal CV function in pregnant rodents using high resolution ultrasound as well as invasive techniques.

Our laboratory also serves as a core facility to determine CV structure and function in mature animals undergoing experimental protocols to evaluate
novel therapies (cells, materials, devices, software) to treat congenital and acquired heart disease.


Clinical Studies

Adults with Congenital Heart Disease Awaiting Cardiac Transplantation

Late Outcomes and Survival in Adults with Congenital Heart Disease Awaiting Cardiac Transplantation II

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Aortic Coarctation Treatment Comparison Study

Comparison between Surgical vs. Balloon Angioplasty vs. Intravascular Stent Placement for Recurrent or Native Coarctation of the Aorta

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Atrial Switch Procedure Database Study

Atrial Switch Database for Transposition of Great Arteries

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Cardiac Biomarkers Generated in Children and Adolescents when Exercising

Effect of Exercise on Serum Cardiac Biomarker Levels in Children and Adolescents

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Heart Muscle Cell Growth Study for Infants with Complex Congenital Heart Disease

Mechanistic Clinical Trial of Beta-blocker Administration for Reactivating Cardiomyocyte Division in Tetralogy of Fallot

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Kawasaki Disease/COVID-19 Research Registry

The Association of Kawasaki Disease and COVID-19 with Cardiac Complications: A Focused Sub-study of the International Kawasaki Disease Registry (IKDR)

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Neurocognitive Impact of Surgical Re-intervention for Congenital Heart Disease

Neurocognitive Function of Adolescents and Young Adults with Repaired Complex Congenital Heart Disease After Recent Cardiac Re-Interventions: A Pilot Study

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Patent Ductus Arteriosus Closure with MVP™ Plug: A Retrospective Review

Retrospective Review of PDA Closure with Medtronic MVP™ Micro Vascular Plug in Patients Weighing Less Than Two Kilograms

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Pediatric & Congenital Heart Disease with Heart Failure – Treatment with Advanced Cardiac Therapies: The ACTION Project

Advanced Cardiac Therapies Improving Outcomes Network (ACTION) to Improve the Health of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease Patients with Heart Failure

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Pediatric Heart Transplant Immunosuppressive Therapy Comparing Two Regimens: The TEAMMATE Study – Phase III

Clinical Trial Comparing Everolimus and Low-Dose Tacrolimus to Tacrolimus and Mycophenalate Mofetil at 6 Months Post Heart Transplant to Prevent Long-Term Complications after Pediatric Heart Transplantation

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Pregnancy & Congenital Heart Disease

Prognosis of Pregnant Women with Congenital Heart Disease

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Pulmonary Arteriovenous Malformation Causes Study

ALK1 Signaling in Development of Superior Cavopulmonary Anastomosis-Associated Pulmonary Arteriovenous Malformations

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Pulmonary Blood Flow Treatment with Stent versus Shunt

Ductal Stenting vs. Surgical Shunt for Infants with Duct Dependent Pulmonary Blood Flow

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Pulmonary Valve Stenosis Identification Before Birth

Fetal Predictors of Pulmonary Valve Stenosis and Determining Post-Delivery Management

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Pulmonary Vein Stenosis Study

Pulmonary Vein Stenosis: Disease Mechanisms and Outcomes

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Supraventricular Tachycardia Management – A Treatment Comparison Study

Calcium Channel Blockers versus Beta Blockers in the Chronic Management of SVT in Pediatric Subjects without Pre-excitation Syndrome or Hemodynamically Significant Heart Disease

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Transplant EBV Disease Study

Transplant Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Disease – Pathogenesis and Immunotherapy

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