Patricia A. Pellikka, M.D., studies the application of echocardiography and stress testing to accurately detect cardiovascular disease and improve patient outcomes. Dr. Pellikka's research on noninvasive detection of cardiovascular disease and timing of intervention is directed to improvement of survival and quality of life for patients with valvular heart disease, ischemic heart disease, diastolic dysfunction and frailty.
Dr. Pellikka's research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, American Society of Echocardiography, and intramurally.
- In patients with aortic stenosis, what is the optimal time for valve replacement? Dr. Pellikka is working to understand the best time for intervention with valve replacement in the asymptomatic patient with severe aortic stenosis. She is also interested in unique strategies that should be used in management of elderly patients, as such patients may have few symptoms because of comorbidities that limit their activities. Determination of the optimal strategy for management must consider not only survival but also quality of life.
- In patients with known or suspected ischemic heart disease, how should stress testing be used? Dr. Pellikka is working to understand which noninvasive test is the most accurate and cost-effective for detecting ischemic heart disease and improving prognosis. Options include exercise and pharmacologic stress testing with or without imaging, computed tomography angiography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The patient's clinical characteristics and electrocardiogram must be taken into consideration. In patients with known coronary artery disease, more information is needed to determine when testing should be performed and repeated, and how it can be used most cost-effectively to improve outcomes.
- What are the cardiovascular correlates of aging? Dr. Pellikka and her colleagues have demonstrated that even mild abnormalities in diastolic function are associated with a decline in exercise capacity, and that this relationship is more pronounced in older patients. They are currently using echocardiography to study the cardiac features of aging and determine if there are structural and functional abnormalities in the hearts of frail individuals. Better understanding is needed in order to guide treatment.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Pellikka's research into noninvasive detection of cardiovascular disease using echocardiography and stress testing will help improve survival and quality of life for patients with ischemic heart disease, diastolic heart failure and valvular heart disease.
- President, American Society of Echocardiography, 2012-2013
- Director, Echocardiography Laboratory, Mayo Clinic, 2011-present
- Editorial Boards — Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2005-present); JACC Cardiovascular Imaging (2008-present); ACCEL (2007-present); European Heart Journal (2009-2012), Clinical Cardiology (2002-2011); American Heart Journal (2005-2011); Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography (2006-2010)
- Outstanding Mentor, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2012