Advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology fellowship

surgeon in operating room getting ready for a procedure

The Spectrum Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology Fellowship at the Spectrum Health Frederick Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute is a one-year subspecialty fellowship designed to train cardiologists in the management of patients with advanced heart failure, mechanical circulatory support, heart transplantation and pulmonary hypertension. At the completion of our program, fellows will be eligible for certification in the subspecialty of Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine and meet the requirements for UNOS certification as a heart transplant cardiologist. As a fellow, you play an integral role in the management of a wide spectrum of heart failure, including:

  • Initial evaluation of advanced heart failure
  • Chronic management strategies of advanced heart failure and pulmonary hypertension patients
  • Management of patients with cardiogenic shock and temporary mechanical circulatory support
  • Selection of candidates for advanced heart failure therapies
  • Selection of donor-hearts for transplantation
  • Management of heart transplantation and durable mechanical circulatory support patients
  • Approach to the management of end-of -life care in end stage heart failure patients

Program history and overview

Under the direction of Michael Dickinson, MD, the advanced heart failure section was developed soon after the opening of the Frederick Meijer Heart and Vascular Institute in 2004. In 2008, Asghar Kaghani, MD, a world leading thoracic transplant surgeon, with more than 25 years of experience at Harefield Hospital (United Kingdom), was named the surgical director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant program. Under this leadership, the left ventricular assist device program was initiated in 2009 and the first heart transplant occurred in 2010. Since then, we have implanted more than 450 LVADs and performed more than 185 heart transplants. The Frederick Meijer Heart and Vascular Institute is a quaternary referral center for West Michigan and beyond.

The advanced heart failure section at Spectrum Health consists of: 

  • Seven advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologists
  • Nine inpatient and four outpatient advanced practice providers
  • Two transplant pharmacists
  • One psychologist
  • Two inpatient and 11 outpatient heart failure nurses
  • Eight pre- and post-heart transplant coordinators
  • Four LVAD coordinators
  • Three social workers
  • Nutritionists, ethicists and financial specialists

In the inpatient setting, advanced heart failure cardiologists participate in our cardiogenic shock call system, a multi-specialty system dedicated to the early identification and support of patients with cardiogenic shock. As a result, we perform more than 100 ECMO runs annually and implanted hundreds of temporary mechanical circulatory support devices. In addition, the Frederick Meijer Heart and Vascular Institute admits more than 1,500 patients with decompensated heart failure a year and our advanced heart failure team plays a very important role in the management of this population.

In the outpatient setting, our advanced heart failure clinic provides more than 6,000 visits a year. Our advanced heart failure cardiologists lead and participate in the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension and cardio-obstetric clinics. Our telemonitoring program is expanding and currently follows many high-risk patients with pulmonary artery pressure monitor devices.

In the cardiac catheterization laboratory, our advanced heart failure cardiologists perform cardiac catheterizations for advanced heart failure patients, heart transplant and LVAD patients. We also perform hemodynamic assessment with exercise and pharmacological challenges, endomyocardial biopsies and pulmonary artery sensor (cardiomems) implantations. Our cardiologists also attend the echo lab and interpret cardiopulmonary stress testing.

The advanced heart failure section at Spectrum Health is actively involved in clinical research. We have been selected as participating sites for LVAD clinical trials and heart transplant registries. Our faculty have published their work in leading journals of our subspecialty and presented their research at national and international meetings.

Education

Fellows rotate through the following services: 

Inpatient service:

  • Cardiogenic shock/heart transplant/LVAD service
  • Complex heart disease service

Outpatient clinic:

  • Advanced heart failure clinic
  • Heart transplant and LVAD clinic
  • Pulmonary hypertension clinic
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy clinic
  • Cardio-obstetrics clinic

Cardiac Catheterization laboratory

Fellows attend meetings and educational activities:

  • Heart transplant and LVAD selection meeting (once a week)
  • Heart team conference (once a week)
  • Pre- & post heart transplant risk review meeting (once a week)
  • Pulmonary hypertension meeting (once a month)
  • High risk (CV) pregnancy (once a month)
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy meeting (once a month)
  • Multidisciplinary cardiac sarcoidosis meeting (once a month)
  • Core didactic lectures (once a week)
  • Journal club (once a month)

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Application requirements

Two fellows are accepted each year. Training begins July 1. Applications are accepted one year prior to anticipated start date.

Applicants must have completed an ACGME accredited cardiovascular disease fellowship prior to starting this fellowship. All applicants must apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service and register with the National Resident Matching Program. All applicants must possess U.S. work authorization or be eligible for J-1 status.

Reach out to our program coordinator Liz Charney if you have any questions.

Salary and benefits

Spectrum Health provides a comprehensive and very competitive benefits package for our fellows and their families. Download our salary and benefits document to learn more.

To support ongoing education and success, fellows will have access to the American College of Cardiology heart failure self-assessment program. Additionally, fellowship includes membership to the Heart Failure Society of America and International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. A stipend is available to cover expenses to attend one national/international meeting during fellowship training.

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Program director

Core faculty

Ready to Apply?

Review the application requirements to learn more about the application process.