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Cardiovascular Research Institute

Physicians at the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute are actively involved in national and international clinical trials and research to advance the understanding of heart disease. At the AHN Cardiovascular Research Institute, leading experts from a variety of cardiovascular fields dedicate their time to improving heart disease diagnoses and treatments.

About the cardiovascular research institute

Our research program builds on more than a century of innovation and spans a diverse range of investigative areas. We’re pioneering new devices, medications, imaging tests, therapies, and technologies to revolutionize care for everyone affected by heart disease.

On any given day, our physicians and patients are engaged in more than 100 national and international clinical trials. At AHN, you have access to some of the newest, most promising treatment options.

Research highlights

Physicians and researchers at the Cardiovascular Research Institute spearhead hundreds of potentially life-changing, groundbreaking initiatives. We’ve advanced care for a multitude of heart diseases, including:

Aortic disease

  • We performed the region’s first transapical (under-the-skin) transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure, inserting and implanting a replacement valve under the ribcage via a small chest incision. Learn more about aortic disease.
  • We were first in the region to treat aortic stenosis, or narrowed heart valve, with a TAVR procedure using the Edwards SAPIEN 3 heart valve.
  • We led a clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of endovascular stents, a type of endovascular therapy, to treat abdominal aneurysms.

Artery disease

  • We were first in western Pennsylvania to perform robotic-assisted coronary bypass surgery. Learn more about robotic heart surgery.
  • We were instrumental in the early development of atherectomy catheter technology, an alternative to balloon angioplasty to open blocked arteries. Learn more about carotid artery disease and coronary artery disease.
  • We were first in the region to offer the Lutonix® 035 drug-coated balloon catheter to open blocked arteries in patients with peripheral artery disease.

Atrial fibrillation

  • We were first in western Pennsylvania to use low-radiation, high-resolution digital images instead of X-rays to perform certain electrophysiology procedures to minimize radiation exposure while treating atrial fibrillation.
  • We were first in the state to use the WATCHMAN™ device to lower stroke risk in people with heart arrhythmias who can’t use blood thinners.

Heart failure

  • We developed the first suture-free mechanical heart valve, the Magovern-Cromie valve.
  • We contributed to the development of TandemHeart®, a percutaneous ventricular assist device (pVAD) for patients experiencing cardiogenic shock and heart failure. Learn more about mechanical circulatory support.
  • We were among the first in the region to offer the Impella® heart pump, which our physicians implant via a catheter-based procedure.
  • We were first in Pennsylvania to implant a permanent left ventricular assist device (LVAD) into a patient with end-stage heart failure.
  • We were first in Pennsylvania to implant the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart into a patient with end-stage heart failure.

Heart transplant

  • We tested new noninvasive methods to diagnose organ rejection following a heart transplant.
  • We evaluated novel immunosuppressant therapies in heart transplant patients.

Pulmonary hypertension (PH)

  • We spearheaded gene therapy treatments and genetic testing for pulmonary hypertension.
  • We contributed to the development of a blood test to track the progression of PH and allow for more aggressive and timely medical interventions.
  • We investigated the use of cardiovascular imaging to evaluate patients with PH and right ventricular dysfunction.
  • We collaborated with other prestigious national research centers in the Pulmonary Hypertension Breakthrough Initiative to advance treatments for pulmonary disease.

Women’s heart disease

  • We were one of the first in the country to prove that cardiovascular imaging is more effective at detecting heart disease in women than traditional methods, such as catheterizations and nuclear stress tests. Learn more about the Women’s Heart Center.
  • We investigated the role of novel biomarkers in heart disease in women.

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN cardiovascular services.