Harvey Feigenbaum has long been a pioneer in the use of ultrasound to illuminate the structure and function of a patient’s heart. When the field was in its infancy 50 years ago, he was organizing some of the first classes, training physicians and sonographers in the science and practice of echocardiography, and writing the leading textbook in the field. Today Feigenbaum is widely known as the “Father of Echocardiography.” Indeed, so impactful were this visionary’s contributions that the “Feigenbaum Lecture” was inaugurated by the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE). This year at the ASE’s annual meeting, another visionary in echocardiography, especially for children with heart disorders, was named the Feigenbaum lecturer — pediatric cardiologist Shelby Kutty of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, who holds the Helen B. Taussig Professorship.
“Congratulations on an outstanding, inspirational lecture,” said Feigenbaum, following Kutty’s virtual lecture. “I gave you what I consider to be the highest honor that a clinical investigator can receive — I called you a visionary.”
Indeed, like this country’s early pioneers out west, Kutty has been relentlessly exploring frontiers in echocardiography and developing novel imaging-technology applications. One, for example, is an adjunct smart phone application in which patients’ echocardiographic images can be used to track their trajectory and outcomes, giving cardiologists better prediction models to help them treat their patients in the most effective and appropriate ways.
“This undreamed of computational power can let us study the patient’s future by clinical history, comprehensive data and echocardiographic information, giving us greater potential in treating patients in this era of digital medicine,” says Kutty. “We have artificial intelligence at our disposal, and the opportunity now to go further to analytic intelligence, allowing us to connect scientific observation and clinical application — that’s where we’re focused in our clinical research.”
Indeed, Kutty has had an impressive record of academic success with over 250 peer-reviewed journal manuscripts, most focusing on echocardiography and other cardiac imaging methods to improve diagnostics and prognostic capabilities for clinicians in treating congenital heart disease. His research has focused on two broad areas, namely diagnostic and therapeutic uses of ultrasound-mediated microbubble cavitation and a multi-modality imaging approach using echocardiography and MRI to improve understanding of the diseased right heart. Recently, he has used imaging data in conjunction with machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to improve predictive models for heart failure in congenital heart disease.
“These significant and innovative contributions to the field of echo and congenital heart disease have propelled Shelby to the top of this field, where he has emerged as a thought leader with international recognition,” says cardiologist Allison Hays, medical director of echocardiography at Johns Hopkins.
Hays and others have also cited Kutty’s mentoring of over 70 residents, fellows and junior faculty, most of whom have risen to leadership positions in academic medicine. Highly collaborative, he has also been involved in joint recruitment efforts for both pediatric and adult cardiology.
“Because Shelby is internationally renowned in his field,” says Hays, “he frequently invites famous guest speakers from around the world in the field of imaging, and I have greatly benefitted from these networking opportunities as well.”
“Dr. Kutty is an integral part of our cardiac center and brings compassionate patient care along with unparalleled expertise to every single patient,” says pediatric surgeon-in-chief and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center co-director David Hackam. “This prestigious award highlights what we at Johns Hopkins know — Dr. Kutty is a superstar, and we are exceedingly lucky to benefit from his visionary leadership.”
Landon King, executive vice dean of The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, agrees: “We are extremely fortunate to have Shelby as the leader of our pediatric cardiology program — his vision, creativity, and commitment to our patients is evident on a daily basis. We deeply appreciate that the American Society of Echocardiography has recognized his standing and contributions with this highly prestigious award.”
“I am very pleased that my friend and colleague Shelby Kutty is being recognized as the Feigenbaum Lecturer by the ASE,” adds Mark Anderson, the William Osler Professor and director of the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. “Shelby has hit the ground running at Johns Hopkins and is successfully engaging a wide variety of stakeholders to better the care of children and adults with cardiovascular diseases.”
For Shelby Kutty’s recorded lecture, click here: Beyond Artificial Echocardiography: From Elegant Images to Analytic Intelligence.