Considered the birthplace of pediatric cardiology, the Blalock-Taussig-Thomas Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center continues its innovative mission through teaching, mentoring and advancing the next generation of pediatric cardiologists.
Pediatric Cardiology Research
When your child is treated at the Blalock-Taussig-Thomas Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center, the most modern technology and leading-edge research go into every aspect of his or her care plan.
Your child’s doctor is part of a dedicated team that includes researchers from around the world who are advancing and developing new concepts in predicting, diagnosing and treating pediatric cardiology conditions.
Johns Hopkins’ unique atmosphere encourages collaboration among laboratory investigators and doctors treating patients. Our patients benefit from the rich knowledge resulting from this robust exchange of ideas.
Laboratories and Areas of Study
Our laboratories include physicians and scientists dedicated to improving pediatric cardiac care and the health and quality of life for children with heart disease. The laboratories use a range of approaches: Some study mouse models of disease; others apply data, basic science and clinical information gathered from treating patients.
In addition, unique, collaborative projects with large technology firms connect our team with the scientific expertise within these companies. Together, we can work on innovative solutions for children with heart disease.
Anne Murphy Laboratory
Anne Murphy’s laboratory studies cardiomyopathy and key proteins that are part of the contractile ap...paratus. The team is looking at how modifications to these proteins might affect various diseases and heart failure. She also investigates the role of genetics in pediatric heart failure associated with acute heart failure, which is sometimes attributed to myocarditis. Her laboratory has received grants from the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health and the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation. Murphy received the Rowe Award for Cardiology Research from the Society for Pediatric Research and other awards. Her research on the molecular basis of myocardial stunning was named one of the top 10 research achievements for 1999 by the American Heart Association. view more
Ari Cedars Laboratory
Ari Cedars, M.D., and his team have three primary research goals. First, the Cedars Lab is intereste...d in patient-centered outcomes in congenital heart disease, which they investigate using a digital tracking system to record participants’ symptoms and quality of life. Second, the Cedars Lab investigates outcomes with mechanical circulatory support and transplant in congenital heart disease, with a focus on those with end-stage heart disease and a Fontan circulation. Third, the Cedars Lab is interested in the biological mechanisms underlying circulatory deterioration and end-organ dysfunction in patients with a Fontan circulation. view more
Among the hundreds of predictive models developed for cardiovascular disease, less than one-tenth of... 1% actually end up routinely used in clinical practice. CV-Ai2 uses data from clinical practice and analytic intelligence to solve clinical problems and create solutions that can be applied in real-world patient care. view more
Hypertension in children is a major cause of disease, including early onset heart disease. Up to 25%... of children who are overweight or obese have hypertension (high blood pressure), and children with obesity are at greater risk for having other cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and diabetes. The ReNEW Clinic at The Johns Hopkins University provides an innovative multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and treatment of obesity-related hypertension to help prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. This clinic is designed for children with elevated blood pressure (prehypertension and hypertension) and a BMI at or above the 85th percentile. Many children in this clinic are enrolled in a longitudinal registry to help researchers learn how to better care for children with multiple risk factors for heart disease.
Read more about the ReNEW clinic: Childhood Obesity: A Focus on Hypertensionview more
Pediatric Cardiology Core Imaging Laboratory
The lab’s assets include three MRI systems available for pediatric studies, cardiac imaging processi...ng, cardiovascular imaging and therapeutic ultrasound. A robust echocardiogram program conducts 10,000 transthoracic echocardiograms and 1,300 fetal echocardiograms per year, and maintains a database with 10 years of data. view more
Pediatric Proteome Center
Allen Everett, M.D., and his colleagues are identifying new biomarkers — measurable, physical signs ...— to help in identifying pediatric heart disease. Everett is the program leader at Johns Hopkins in pediatric biomarker discovery, initially in sickle cell disease and subsequently in other pediatric clinical conditions (birth injury, congenital heart disease repair, ECMO, prematurity and pulmonary hypertension). view more
Reid Thompson Laboratory
Reid Thompson’s research interests include evaluation of ventricular function in patients with muscu...lar dystrophy and Barth syndrome, and in patients who have completed chemotherapy. He also studies novel methods of teaching and diagnosing heart disease through cardiac auscultation. view more
Shelby Kutty Laboratory
Shelby Kutty, M.D., Ph.D., is an authority on cardiovascular imaging, including echocardiography, ma...gnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography of congenital heart disease. His areas of academic interest have focused on myocardial function assessment, therapeutic ultrasound and cardiovascular outcomes. Kutty’s research includes developing new imaging technology applications such as a smartphone application that uses patients’ echocardiographic images to track their progress. His work gives pediatric cardiologists better ways to predict outcomes in their patients and provide the most effective and appropriate treatments. view more
Research Program Manager
Love Jong Ko, M.A.
Love Jong Ko manages a wide variety of research studies involving animal models, basic science, patient-reported outcome measures, registries, data science, cardiac imaging and investigational drugs.
Beyond the Stethoscope: Artificial Intelligence Can Help Diagnose Heart Murmurs
Reid Thompson’s research is evaluating an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that can detect abnormal heart murmurs by using a large database of heart sound recordings.
This “virtual clinical trial” technology was developed by Thompson to test a heart murmur detection algorithm created in Austria by a team of engineers using heart sounds recorded in Europe and Canada. The heart sound database used in this research was created by Johns Hopkins through a collaboration between Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. It houses recordings from over 1,200 patients with many different kinds of heart disease, according to Shelby Kutty, director of the Blalock-Taussig-Thomas Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center.
This study shows that the algorithm can distinguish abnormal from normal heart sounds with high accuracy. In this way, the technology can help clinicians avoid unnecessary testing of “innocent” heart murmurs, while helping them spot serious heart disease, especially in very young infants.
“This study helps to show that AI-assisted auscultation [listening to heart sounds with a stethoscope] may breathe new life into this age-old icon of medicine,” Kutty says. Thompson is now combining algorithm-based screening with telemedicine to study new ways of distinguishing pathologic from innocent heart murmurs that he hopes may lead to more appropriate use of echocardiography.
Clinical Trials in Pediatric Cardiology
Collaborative research involving patient data is exploring:
- Muscular dystrophies affecting the heart
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathies, including the first randomized clinical trials for young people with the condition
- Adult congenital heart disease
- Genetic connective tissue disease affecting the heart
- Neonatal brain injury
- Preeclampsia, and other topics.