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Cardiac Electrophysiology program

The University of Colorado cardiac electrophysiology program continues to undergo its expansion of faculty, clinical services, research programs, and facilities. The faculty include Ryan Aleong, MD, Kathryn Collins, MD, Cathleen Kenny, RN, ANP, Duy Nguyen, MD, Michael Reiter, MD PhD, William Sauer, MD, Joseph Schuller, MD, Wendy Tzou, MD, and Paul Varosy, MD. All of the University of Colorado faculty have received the highest level of education and training and are experienced in all aspects of clinical electrophysiology including ablation of all atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, device implantation and management, and laser-assisted lead extraction. A major priority of the section remains the recruitment of new faculty with a similarly high level of training and expertise to contribute to the expanding clinical services and research programs.

Dr. Ryan Aleong completed his clinical and research training in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to joining the University of Colorado, Dr. Aleong was a member of the EP faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Aleong has an active clinical and research interest in atrial fibrillation, which includes ablation, as well as pharmacologic and device management for these patients. Dr. Aleong also directs the clinical and research programs related to lead extraction.

Kathryn Collins, MD is a pediatric cardiac electrophysiologist and specializes in the evaluation and management of arrhythmias in adults with congenital heart disease. She completed her training in Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology at the Children’s Hospital in Boston and at the University of California San Francisco. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Colorado, Dr. Collins served as Director of the Pediatric Arrhythmia Center at the University of California San Francisco.

Cathleen Kenny, RN, ANP is an Instructor in the Department of Medicine and has experience managing patients in all subspecialties of Cardiovascular Medicine. She directs the dysautonomia clinic and performs tilt table testing in patients suspected of neurocardiogenic syncope or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. She is also an integral member of a team, managing patients with complex arrhythmias treated with antiarrhythmic therapy and catheter ablation in the inpatient and outpatient settings.

Dr. Duy Nguyen, MD completed his training in Cardiology and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Nguyen directs the inpatient arrhythmia service at the University of Colorado Hospital and also sees patients at Denver Health Medical Center. Along with Dr. Collins, Dr. Nguyen manages patients with arrhythmias related to congenital heart disease. He has established the basic arrhythmia research program with investigations into the fundamental mechanisms of arrhythmias.

Dr. Michael Reiter, MD, PhD, the former director of electrophysiology and a long time faculty member at Colorado, now sees patients on a part-time basis and continues to contribute significantly to the cardiac electrophysiology section as Professor Emeritus. Dr. Reiter serves as a valued resource for the educational and research mission of the section.

Dr. William Sauer serves as the director of the electrophysiology program of the University of Colorado affiliated clinics and hospitals. He has been the director of the electrophysiology laboratories at University of Colorado Hospital since 2006 and is also on staff at the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center and Denver Health Medical Center (DHMC). Dr. Sauer completed his clinical training in Cardiovascular Medicine and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Additional training in arrhythmia research and ablation techniques of complex arrhythmias was also completed at University of Pennsylvania.

Joseph Schuller, MD serves as the director of the electrophysiology at Denver Health Medical Center. Dr. Schuller completed his training in cardiovascular medicine and clinical cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Colorado. Dr. Schuller’s research interests involve sudden death risk assessment in patients with cardiac sarcoidosis and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Dr. Wendy Tzou completed her clinical and research training in cardiovascular medicine and clinical cardiac electrophysiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where she also served as faculty. Dr. Tzou’s research interests involve the prevention of sudden death in high risk populations through the effective treatment of ventricular arrhythmias.

Paul Varosy, MD is the director of electrophysiology at the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center and is also on staff at the University of Colorado Hospital. Dr. Varosy completed his clinical and research training at University of California San Francisco where he continued on as faculty before coming to Colorado. Dr. Varosy is involved with national programs evaluating arrhythmia management quality. His research focuses on outcomes related to electrophysiology procedures.

In addition to the electrophysiology faculty listed above, the section has relationships with other UCH, VAMC, and DHMC physicians, including cardiac surgeons, heart failure specialists, and medical geneticists, to offer the full complement of arrhythmia management services at University of Colorado. These services include a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, inpatient and outpatient consultations, and specialized clinics for patients with arrhythmias, defibrillators or pacemakers. The University electrophysiology group also maintains clinical and academic relationships with hospitals throughout the region to add to its clinical, educational, and research programs.

With the recent construction of the Cardiac and Vascular Center at University of Colorado Hospital, there are two new suites dedicated to electrophysiology, including one fitted with biplane fluoroscopic imaging, intracardiac echocardiography, cryoablation, and 3D electroanatomical mapping to assist in the full complement of catheter ablation therapies. A separate single-plane fluoroscopy suite is used for electrophysiologic studies, ablation of supraventricular tachycardia, implantation of cardiac rhythm management devices, and laser-assisted lead extraction. In addition, separate rooms are available for non-invasive procedures including tilt-table testing, non-invasive programmed stimulation, and electrical cardioversion. Similar state-of-the-art facilities have been constructed at Denver Health Medical Center and the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center as part of the integrated program.

An active electrophysiology research program is in place to evaluate all aspects of arrhythmia management. Researchers at the University of Colorado have contributed significantly to the advancement of the field with investigations evaluating new implantable devices for management of congestive heart failure and prevention of sudden cardiac death, as well as catheter ablation of arrhythmias. In conjunction with investigators from National Jewish Health, the University’s research program in arrhythmias related to sarcoidosis is internationally recognized as pioneering. Other research projects of the section include investigating strategies to prevent appropriate and inappropriate ICD therapy, improving catheter ablation techniques for treating complex arrhythmias, use of molecular markers and gene expression analysis for prediction of arrhythmias, and expanding the diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities of implantable cardiac devices.

The electrophysiology section also maintains an active ACGME accredited fellowship with a focus on training physicians in understanding basic electrophysiologic principles and techniques for ablation of complex arrhythmias applied to arrhythmia management. Two cardiology fellows per year are invited to participate in this training program with an emphasis on establishing a career in academic medicine. Cardiac electrophysiology fellows are given the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the training program including research, device implantation, ablation, and lead extraction.

For more information regarding the clinical, research, and educational programs related to the section of cardiac electrophysiology, please contact Agnes Tomas at 720-848-6510 and you will be directed to the appropriate faculty member.