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Cardiovascular Outcomes Research

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute has created an internationally recognized center of excellence in cardiovascular outcomes research, the basic science of health care delivery. Our group has developed and pioneered the international standards for measuring patients’ symptoms, function, and quality of life.

And our tools have been translated into more than 100 languages to measure the outcomes of new treatments and health care from patients’ perspectives. We have leveraged these tools to better understand patients’ outcomes and to determine how we can best tailor therapy to individual patients to optimize their survival, symptom control, and quality of life.

Under the joint direction of John Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., and Carole Decker, R.N., Ph.D., FAHA, CPHQ, the MAHI Outcomes Research program continues to rank as one of the leading programs in cardiovascular outcomes research in the world. Our group has received more than $30 million in funding from the NIH, AHA, and industry to advance the country’s understanding of patient outcomes and to develop better tools for measuring quality of care.

Saint Luke’s currently serves as one of three analytic centers for the American College of Cardiology’s National Cardiovascular Data Registries and regularly contributes to the organization’s efforts to improve the consistency of care and optimize patients’ outcomes.

Ongoing collaboration

Saint Luke’s outcomes research also has a national reputation for collaborating with other researchers. We founded the Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) in 2001 to engage more than 60 member hospitals to jointly recruit and analyze patients’ care to learn how better treatments tailored to individuals can be rendered. CORC is committed to training the next generation of outcomes researchers and is the training site for a post-doctoral cardiovascular outcomes research fellowship program funded by NIH at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

Most recently, Saint Luke’s outcomes research has developed the methodology to execute patient-specific estimates of outcomes so that patients and their families can choose treatments most aligned with their goals and values. For example, Saint Luke’s now delivers personalized informed consents for angioplasty, or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), to every patient. Using risk-prediction models from the American College of Cardiology, we can now tailor the intensity of treatment to patients’ individual risks and engage them in selecting stents that are most aligned with the treatment goals of each and every patient. This is the first effort to systematically incorporate evidence-based, personalized medicine in routine care to improve the safety and cost-effectiveness of treatment.


  • In 2015, Dr. Spertus received the American Heart Association Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for his extraordinary contributions to the field of outcomes research and quality improvement. 
  • Dr. Decker was named 2015 Nurse of the Year by the March of Dimes for Kansas and Kansas City for her outstanding contributions to the nursing profession, especially in the Advanced Practice field.
  • In 2015, Dr. Spertus and his team published more than 85 peer-reviewed articles on the quality of care and outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease and stroke and received more than $3.5 million in research funding. Ongoing projects include decision- making tools for clinicians and patients undergoing a variety of treatments, including transcatheter aortic valve replacement, implantable cardiac defibrillators, treatment decisions for acute ischemic stroke, and coronary revascularization procedures.
  • Since 2012, Cardiovascular Outcomes Research section has been the recipient of a highly prestigious T32 training grant, funded by National Institutes of Health–National Health, Lung, and Blood Institute. This grant provides salary support and tuition for post-doctoral fellows in advanced research and measurement methods to prepare the next generation of outcomes researchers. There are currently four physicians in this full-time, two-year fellowship who are being mentored in conducting analyses, participating in the creation of human subject research projects, presenting research, and writing journal articles to disseminate the findings. This program is directed by Dr. Spertus and Donna Buchanan, Ph.D. and receives applications from an international pool of clinicians seeking to study with the best and brightest in the field of outcomes research.
  • Paul Chan, M.D., professor of medicine, is an internationally renowned researcher on cardiac arrest, with a special focus on in-hospital cardiac arrest. Over the past eight years, he has published more than a dozen articles on this topic in the New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of American Medical Association alone. His work has vastly expanded our understanding about the outcomes and critical processes of care for in-hospital cardiac arrest, which affects over 200,000 patients in the U.S. annually. For the past two years, Dr. Chan has been nominated for national awards for Epidemiology in the American Heart Association.
  • In 2015, Dr. Chan secured an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to identify best resuscitation practices at hospitals with the highest survival rates for in-hospital cardiac arrest. With this funding, Dr. Chan will lead site visits to hospitals around the country to understand how some hospitals achieve superior survival outcomes for this condition while other hospitals lag. He hopes the findings will lead to the development of a resuscitation tool kit of best practices, which can be disseminated to hospitals throughout the United States in order to improve patient survival for all patients with this condition.
  • Suzanne Arnold, M.D., M.H.A., is leading a number of studies looking at quality of life in patients with valvular heart disease, focusing specifically on patients with aortic stenosis. Along with Dr. Cohen, she has developed and validated a series of statistical models to identify patients who are at high risk for doing poorly with this procedure. She has worked with patients and physicians to understand how best to present this information. Under her direction, these models are now being implemented in multidisciplinary valve clinics at Saint Luke’s and Columbia University in New York. Physicians and patients will have the data available to help guide the decision process and manage expectations at the time when the patient is deciding whether or not to do the procedure. In addition, Dr. Arnold continues working on quality of life issues with Transcatheter Valve Therapy Registry, the national TAVR registry.
Cardiovascular Outcomes Research
Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute

4401 Wornall Road
Kansas City, MO 64111
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