Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Opens Center to Treat Cardiac Conditions

New Brunswick-based Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) have established the Cardiac Amyloidosis and Cardiomyopathy Center, located at the hospital. The multidisciplinary center seeks to diagnose patients with rare, but potentially fatal, amyloid conditions earlier, as well as treat them more effectively through personalized medicine.

Amyloidosis is a rare condition caused by an abnormal protein that accumulates in organs, like the heart, kidneys, nerves or liver. Often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed due to its subtle symptoms and multiple organ involvement, at least one type of the amyloidosis can be fatal in six months.

Patients in the Cardiac Amyloidosis and Cardiomyopathy Center at RWJUH will benefit from specialists across a broad range of disciplines including cardiology, neurology, hematology, nephrology, pathology and bone marrow transplantation. The clinical teams will work to identify the forms of the disease and develop an effective, personalized treatment plan.

Sabahat Bokhari, MD, an internationally recognized amyloidosis expert, will serve as director of the center, the first program of its kind in New Jersey. He joins as a Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension, RWJMS, and will be the Director of Advanced Cardiac Imaging at RWJUH, as well as the Program Director of the Advanced Cardiac Imaging Fellowship Program. Dr. Bokhari pioneered the development of a non-invasive imaging method, called Technetium-Pyrophosphate (Tc-99m PYP) imaging, that is used worldwide and is recommended by the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and American Society of Nuclear Cardiology for the evaluation of cardiac transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR). He has served as the Director of Nuclear Cardiology and Advanced Cardiac Imaging at the New York—Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and at the Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute. Dr. Bokhari has trained candidates from top tier cardiology programs throughout the country.

“Amyloidosis can be a serious medical condition if it is not diagnosed properly,” Dr. Bokhari explains. “Our Center combines expertise across a broad range of disciplines with the most advanced cardiac imaging capabilities to identify these conditions much earlier and develop individual treatment plans for patients that will give patients the best chance to live longer and more healthy, active lives.”

Partho Sengupta, MD, FACC, Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension at RWJMS, and Chief of Cardiology at RWJUH, adds, “Dr. Bokhari brings a wealth of knowledge in this field and the capabilities to dramatically impact the heath of people in New Jersey and the region. A center like this can only exist at an academic medical center where there is broad expertise across many disciplines that can be convened to benefit patients. Dr. Bokhari is enabling that for our state and beyond, and will advance our vision for academic medicine enabled by technology and collaboration.”

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