Working with cardiologists and other health-care professionals, our clinical research team focuses on advancing heart and vascular health.

Benefits of Heart and Vascular Research

Our research efforts:

  • Keep our physicians on the leading edge of medical knowledge
  • Contribute to the body of knowledge shaping the future of heart and vascular care
  • Make medications and treatments available to our patients before they are offered to the general public

What We Study

At any given time, our physicians are involved in dozens of research studies and trials related to diagnosing and treating heart disease and preventing heart attack and stroke. We investigate the safety and effectiveness of various drugs, devices and procedures, including:

  • Pacemakers, implanted cardiac defibrillators (ICDs), cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators (CRT-Ds) and insertable cardiac monitors (ICMs)
  • Equipment used for ablation or cryoablation, which remove unhealthy tissue
  • Drugs used to treat irregular heart beat rhythms, lower cholesterol or control clotting to reduce heart attack risk
  • Drugs used to treat heart failure, often in targeted groups of patients—for example, in those with poor kidney function or those with high levels of uric acid
  • Drugs and implantable devices used to control high blood pressure
  • New procedures and devices to monitor and manage heart failure

Frequently Asked Questions

You can find more information by viewing our most frequently asked questions below:

What is the purpose of a clinical trial?

Researchers are always trying to develop new ways to prevent and treat diseases and improve health. They conduct clinical trials to determine if a new treatment will work and benefit patients. Many individuals volunteer to participate in these trials because they want to help advance medical knowledge.

What kinds of clinical research does the Heart & Vascular Institute conduct?

We conduct clinical trials, also known as interventional studies, as well as observational studies. A clinical trial looks at outcomes in groups of patients who are assigned to receive different treatments, according to a research plan or protocol. We may do this to determine if a new approach works as well as an existing one, or which of two approaches is more effective. In an observational study, researchers monitor things like patients’ lifestyle choices, risk factors or treatments and then try to determine the impact of these factors on health outcomes.

What safeguards are in place to protect patient participants?

Researchers must adhere to the same ethical and legal codes all physicians follow. In addition, an institutional review board (IRB) reviews, approves and monitors studies that are federally funded and/or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The IRB makes sure the study minimizes risks, and balances risks against potential benefits.

When you are considering enrolling in a study, you will receive a consent form, which explains the potential risks, benefits and alternatives to the study. The research team will review these with you. You should ask any questions you have. If you decide to enroll, you will sign the consent form, confirming you understand the study and agree to take part in it.

Who can participate in a research study?

Often the purpose of a clinical trial is to determine the safety and effectiveness of a new treatment. At the start of the study, we don’t know which treatment is better or whether an individual will benefit from the treatment. In fact, even at the end of a study, we don’t always know whether individual participants ended up with better outcomes than they would have experienced if they had not taken part in a clinical trial. For these reasons, it is important to understand you have a chance to benefit directly from participation, but we do not know if you will. Participants often take part because they want this chance, and because they want to help advance medicine.

People who take part in clinical research:

  • Have access to investigational treatments before they may be available to the general public
  • Receive close monitoring and evaluation by health professionals so changes in condition are addressed as soon as possible
  • Play an active role in their own health care
  • Have the satisfaction of knowing they helped advance the care of future patients

Will I still see my regular doctor?

In most cases you will still see your usual health-care provider. You will also have visits with research staff. Research visits may be coordinated with your regular care to make them more convenient.

Where can I learn more about clinical studies?