Cardiologists in Denver Hold 1st National Cardiogenic Shock Initiative Gathering

October 30, 2017

DENVER – Cardiologists met in Denver for the inaugural meeting of a national effort to dramatically increase survival rates for patients in heart attack-induced cardiogenic shock.

Dr. O’Neill meets with NationalCIS participants from San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, New Mexico, (from left) Monica Nagahira, RN, RCIS; Tammie Herrera, RT, RCIS; Sudhakar Girotra, MD, and Charles Wilkins, MD.

“This is a coalition of the willing,” said Henry Ford cardiologist William W. O’Neill, who is spearheading the effort and led both gatherings. “You’re the vanguard that will change the way we treat cardiogenic shock.”

The first National Cardiogenic Shock Initiative (NationalCSI) meeting Oct. 29 drew more than 50 guests. The event was followed by a packed, standing-room only presentation on the effort today at the Denver Convention Center for TCT 2017, an annual educational meeting specializing in interventional cardiovascular medicine. 

Dr. O’Neill, medical director of the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, created the National Cardiogenic Shock Initiative as a natural evolution of the successful Detroit Cardiogenic Shock Initiative. In southeast Michigan, he organized doctors to increase cardiogenic shock survival rates from 51% to 76% by following a protocol using a straw-sized heart pump.

“About 90,000 U.S. patients suffer each year from cardiogenic shock; 45,000 die from it,” Dr. O’Neill said to the gathered cardiologists. “And the survival rate hasn’t changed in 20 years. That’s shameful. At the end of the day, with this initiative, you’ll be saving lives.”

TCT stage shot
The Henry Ford Center for Structural Heart Disease presented five live cases to attendees on the main stage of TCT 2017 in Denver on Nov. 1, 2017.

In these patients, the pump function of the heart is severely depressed, causing low blood pressure and vital organs to be deprived of sufficient blood supply.

But heart attack survival rates increased dramatically in cardiogenic shock patients who were provided rapid hemodynamic support before treating the cause of a heart attack. A retrospective analysis looked at the use of the Impella, a straw-sized pump approved by the FDA in 2008 and specifically for treatment of cardiogenic shock in 2016. In the protocol, a straw-sized heart pump, called an Impella pump, is inserted through a catheter in the groin and into the heart to keep blood pumping throughout the body. Doctors use it while they’re treating the cause of a heart attack, either inserting a stent, removing a clot or taking other necessary action while the tiny pump supports circulation.

Inserting the pump first ensures the patient’s other vital organs are supported, buying time for cardiologists to open the blocked arteries to restore natural blood flow.

The National Cardiogenic Shock Initiative coordinator, Michael Hacala, who is based in Detroit with Dr. O’Neill, also attended the event.

“We are getting inquiries daily from hospital systems interested in working with us,” he said. “They’re glad to hear we provide the support they need to successfully use this protocol in their region.”

The Center for Structural Heart Disease team will return to Detroit to perform five live cases from the Henry Ford Hospital Catheterization Laboratory on Wednesday. Cardiologists in Denver will be able to watch the procedures live on screens at the Denver Convention Center. The Henry Ford team is one of the few luminary hospital groups in the United States chosen to participate in the highly anticipated live case format.

For more information on the National Cardiogenic Shock Initiative, visit


Tammy Battaglia
Henry Ford Health System
[email protected]
248-881-0809 cell/text