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UT Joins with Memorial Hermann to Offer Congestive Heart Failure Program Meyers to lead new initiative


HOUSTON—(Aug. 2008)—More than 5 million Americans are living with heart failure, and 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

The University of Texas Medical School at Houston is partnering with Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute – Texas Medical Center to research potential therapies for those patients with heart failure and provide the latest in clinical care.

Deborah Meyers, M.D., has joined the faculty as the director of advanced heart failure at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and director of congestive heart failure at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute – Texas Medical Center.

“Severe heart failure is a chronic disease just like diabetes, and we need to develop a multi-disciplinary program for managing the complex care of these patients,” said Meyers, who sees patients at the UT Cardiology Clinic and Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute – TMC.

Meyers, a visiting associate professor, is building a comprehensive team of heart failure specialists. The team, she said, is to include cardiologists, heart failure nurses, clinical pharmacists, and she hopes to add heart failure cardiac rehabilitation and physical therapy specialists in the future.

She is also launching clinical trials, which will enhance both research and patient care.

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Meyers, with her expertise in advanced heart failure, join the university and the Memorial Hermann system,” said David McPherson, M.D., professor and director of cardiology at the UT Medical School at Houston and chief of cardiology at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute – TMC. “I am confident that she will help make our treatment of heart failure one of the leading-edge programs in the country.”

Previous heart attacks, obesity, aging, high blood pressure and cancer treatments are all risk factors for heart failure, and symptoms include increased fatigue, shortness of breath not related to exercise or exertion, swelling of the lower limbs and frequent dry, hacking cough.

“We want the best care for the patients,” Meyers said. “We need to treat exacerbations early so we can improve their quality of life and avoid recurrent hospitalizations.”

Prior to her arrival in Houston, Meyers was clinical director of the Heart Failure and Transplant Program, co-director of the Mechanical Support Program and director of the Multi-disciplinary Heart Failure Clinic at The Prince Charles Hospital in Queensland.

In Australia, Meyers piloted the “Hospital to Home” collaborative, multi-disciplinary heart failure service, which is now a model for the state. The program she hopes to establish in Houston will be similar in its breadth and scope.

“I am pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Deborah Meyers to lead our congestive heart failure program,” said Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D., dean of the UT Medical School at Houston. “This will be a prominent program to lift the stature of Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center and the medical school.”

In addition to her work with Memorial Hermann, Meyers plans to collaborate with scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center on clinical trials that explore the relationship between heart failure and traditional cancer treatments.

Meyers earned her medical degree in 1993 at the University of California San Francisco Medical School and completed fellowships at the American College of Cardiology and Royal Australasian College of Physicians.


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