Research Program

Many of the most important clinical and basic science discoveries in the field of echocardiography and vascular ultrasound have been made right here at Columbia.

We are one of the world’s leading institutions for this type of research, receiving more funding for echocardiography and vascular ultrasound studies from the National Institutes of Health than any other similar center. Indeed, Columbia’s echocardiography research program receives more NIH funding than the entire divisions of cardiology at many institutions.

Columbia is one of the very few places in the country that has established an entirely separate, dedicated clinical research facility for echocardiography and vascular ultrasound, demonstrating the importance of this program. This facility, located within the Presbyterian Hospital building, features three ultrasound machines and three full-time staff. We also offer research fellowships in echocardiography, which typically include four fellows.

Our core laboratories provide support for clinical trials in echocardiography and cardiovascular ultrasound. We assist with all aspects of the trial process, ranging from protocol development and onsite training to preparation for regulatory meetings and manuscript development. We also provide skilled interpretation of transthoracic echocardiograms, transesophageal echocardiograms, and vascular ultrasound studies. Expertly and fully staffed, the core labs provide rapid turnaround, strict quality assurance, and high-quality image storage.

We also operate a small animal ultrasound imaging facility to provide cardiovascular assessment in a variety of small animals.

Some of our currently active studies include:

  • WARCEF (Warfarin-Aspirin Reduced Cardiac Ejection Fraction Study). This double-blinded, randomized, multicenter trial is funded with a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the largest such grants Columbia has ever received. A 180-center study involving 11 countries, the trial is designed to compare the efficacy of warfarin and aspirin in preventing death, ischemic stroke, and intracerebral hemorrhage in patients with heart failure. Its results are expected to be published in March of 2012.
  • CABL (Cardiovascular Abnormalities and Brain Lesions) study.
    This NIH-funded epidemiological study investigates the relationship between cardiac, aortic, arterial and 24-hour blood pressure abnormalities and the presence of silent brain infarcts, detected on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). (Silent brain infarcts, also known as “silent strokes,” have been associated with an increased risk of symptomatic strokes, falls and impaired mobility, memory problems, and dementia.) The enrollment of over 1,000 subjects has been completed. The results of the study are being published


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