- April 2013 -
Cardiologists in Honduras The Institute sponsors training of two Honduran physicians for pacemaker evaluation clinic


GW cardiologists, Dr. Cynthia Tracy and Dr. Marco Mercader, along with team members Fernando Najera and John Naylor, have traveled to rural Honduras for the last three years on an annual medical mission sponsored by the GW Heart & Vascular Institute. The Institute's medical mission provides a free, two week heart failure and arrhythmia clinic at Centro Medico Comayagua Colonial Hospital in Comayagua to patients living in poverty who cannot afford specialty healthcare. Since the first mission to Honduras in 2010, the GW Heart & Vascular Institute medical mission team has evaluated more than 300 heart patients and donated and implanted a total of 88 heart pacemakers and defibrillators.  


Group photo After a patient receives a pacemaker, there should be an every three to six months follow up evaluation of the patient's pacemaker function, heart rhythm and the battery life. Currently, our Honduran patients only have access to a once a year pacer check by the visiting GW team when they make a return trip to Comayagua. In order to provide year round pacemaker testing for these patients, the GW Heart & Vascular raised funds to bring two Honduran physicians to Washington, DC for an intensive pacemaker evaluation training program designed by Dr. Tracy. This month Dr. Pablo Toro and Dr. Luis Avila, traveled to Washington, DC from Comayagua, Honduras. Dr. Cynthia Tracy and Dr. Marco Mercader organized a two week didactic device (pacer/ICD interrogation) training program with Medtronic including hands-on sessions in the GW pacemaker clinic. Upon returning to Centro Medico Comayagua Colonial Hospital, Drs. Toro and Availa and the Honduran medical staff will establish a local pacemaker follow-up clinic.


This training program was made possible by generous donations from Harris Miller and Deborah Kahn, and the George Washington University Hospital Women's Board. 


Group photo
Dr. Evan Stein visits GW as the 2013 Understein Memorial Lecturer

Evan A. Stein, MD, PhD, was the 2013 Understein Memorial Lecturer for the GW Heart & Vascular Institute. On April 17-18, Dr. Stein gave cardiology grand rounds and medical grand rounds respectively to more than 200 faculty, and trainees on new treatment options of lipid disorders. The Understein Memorial Lecture Fund was established in 1978 by the family of Jack Understein, in gratitude for the care provided at GW and his physician, Dr Alan Ross, then-chair of the Division of Cardiology. The Institute is grateful to the Understein family for their generous contribution that makes this annual lectureship and tribute to their father possible. Jack Understein's sons, Norman Understein and Robert Understein attended the lecture on Wednesday and joined the cardiology fellows and faculty for dinner following the event.


book Drs. Lewis and Choi co-author chapter on women's heart health


Jannet Lewis, MD, professor and director of the Women's Heart Center at the GW Heart & Vascular Institute, and Brian Choi, MD, MBA, assistant professor of medicine, recently co-authored a chapter on "Role of Echocardiography in Evaluation of Women with Chest Pain," in the book "Chest Pain with Normal Coronary Arteries." This chapter reviews the role of echocardiography in evaluation of women with chest pain. The GW authors describe the use of stress echocardiography for assessment of women with chest pain and suspected myocardial ischemia. This technique is particularly suitable in women because of the lack of radiation and applicability in individuals who are or are not able to exercise. The chapter also addresses the difficult issue of chest pain in women with normal coronary arteries, and the role of echocardiography in assessment of two other important cardiac causes of chest pain in women - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and stress-induced cardiomyopathy.

Dr. Reiner Defining Medicine


Academic medical centers provide innovation, and are directly responsible for medical breakthroughs that define healthcare delivery. The George Washington University Hospital has launched a new television advertising campaign, Defining Medicine, which describes GW's capacity as an academic medical system to think, study, research, discover, evaluate, teach, learn, perfect and innovate. This video features an innovative procedure, transradial cardiac catheterization, that our interventional cardiologists are performing for more than 80% of cath procedures at GW Hospital. Transradial cardiac catheterization offers a less invasive, lower-risk option because the procedure is performed through the wrist via the radial artery, rather than the groin via the femoral artery. This allows for a quicker recovery time and a shorter hospital stay.  The GW Heart & Vascular Institute benefits by being able to provide cardiology fellows in training with hands on experience in transradial cardiac catheterization, adding an additional technical skills to their capabilities. Exposing cardiology fellows to transradial caths allows for them to be comfortable with this technique when they leave training.  

Click here to play the video.