2020 Stories

Cardiology and Research in the Time of COVID-19

Emerson Perin, MD, PhD | Medical Director

Dr. Perin serves as the Medical Director of the Texas Heart Institute. He is an alumnus of the Texas Heart Institute Cardiovascular Disease and Interventional Cardiology Fellowship programs and is an active teaching faculty member. He is honored for his pioneering clinical research in developing stem cell therapies for cardiovascular diseases and was named a McNair Scholar for his contributions to essential discoveries in the field of interventional cardiology. He holds a Clinical Professor of Medicine appointment at Baylor College of Medicine and serves as the Medical Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.

Two thousand and twenty was a challenging year for us all. Although here at the Texas Heart Institute (THI), we are always making breakthroughs in cardiovascular research. When the COVID lockdown began, we felt the need to lead efforts against the pandemic. Despite our laser focus on cardiovascular research, THI successfully soared in COVID research. Cardiac involvement in many patients with COVID sparked the intellectual imagination of our clinical researchers and professional staff.

Our Professional Staff members and communications team made considerable strides in addressing education about COVID-19. We updated our website with timely and accurate information about the virus and disease for the public and health care professionals. In our “Cardiology in the Time of COVID-19” series led by Dr. Zvonimir Kracjer, we focused on the disease’s impact on the population we know best—patients with cardiovascular disease.

THI also took a leadership role at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMC) to make possible early and impactful inpatient treatment for COVID patients. The NIH-sponsored trial, “Therapeutics for Inpatients with Covid-19,” was implemented with Dr. Emerson Perin and THI taking the lead. Coordinating this hospital-wide effort across multiple specialties “engendered great optimism about the future outcomes of our hospitalized patients with COVID,” said Dr. Perin after his first Zoom call, including all of the investigators at BSLMC.

THI has taken a leadership role against COVID-19, making available cutting-edge treatments that otherwise would not be accessible. Using our knowledge and hard work, we are here to fulfill the mission set forth by Dr. Denton A. Cooley. Alongside our COVID research and treatment engagement, we continue to move innovative research projects and “The Next First” in cardiovascular medicine forward.