Sumeet Chugh, MD, shown at work in his Cedars-Sinai laboratory, is the recipient of the American College of Cardiology 2024 Distinguished Scientist Award-Clinical Domain. Photo by Cedars-Sinai.
January 19, 2024 — Heart rhythm expert Sumeet Chugh, MD, associate director of the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, is the recipient of this year’s American College of Cardiology (ACC) Distinguished Scientist Award-Clinical Domain.
“I am grateful to my ACC colleagues for recognizing our work with this prestigious award,” said Chugh, associate director of the Smidt Heart Institute and the Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology Research at Cedars-Sinai. “The credit goes to my mentees and colleagues over the years. These are exciting times and we have much more to do.”
Chugh directs the Heart Rhythm Center at the Smidt Heart Institute, where a team focuses on diagnosis and treatment of slow, irregular or fast heartbeats and conducts research into the causes and potential treatments of these abnormal heart rhythms. He also directs the Division of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine at Cedars-Sinai.
“Dr. Chugh’s leadership in arrhythmia research and care is extraordinary,” said Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, executive director of the Smidt Heart Institute. “Particularly, his contributions to the sudden cardiac arrest medical knowledge base have changed the way we think about this deadly condition that we might be able to prevent on a larger scale.”
Although “sudden cardiac arrest” and “heart attack” are often mistaken to be the same, the conditions are quite different. A heart attack is usually caused by a blood clot in an artery leading to the heart and is seldom fatal. A sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction that disrupts the heart’s rhythmic beating and is fatal more than 90% of the time.
“Since most don’t survive their cardiac arrest, improvements in prediction and prevention are likely to have the most impact at a global level,” Chugh said. “Our goal is effective identification of patients at risk so that we can preemptively treat them or implant a defibrillator that can shock the heart back into a healthy rhythm.”
Chugh leads two ongoing studies: the Prediction of Sudden Death in Multi-Ethnic Communities Study in Ventura County, California, and the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, based in Multnomah County, Oregon. From these communities with a total population of almost 2 million, Chugh’s team has been collecting data from those who suffer sudden cardiac arrest in order to uncover the clinical, genetic and biochemical processes involved in this condition.
The work has extended beyond conventional approaches by also utilizing warning symptoms of impending sudden cardiac death combined with other biological markers.
“Dr. Chugh is widely regarded among our electrophysiology community as one of our most innovative, dedicated and talented researchers. His groundbreaking studies have established much of what we know and understand about sudden cardiac arrest in the general population,” said Christine M. Albert, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Cardiology in the Smidt Heart Institute and the Lee and Harold Kapelovitz Distinguished Chair in Cardiology. “His leadership, mentorship and collaborative spirit are deserving of this distinct honor.”
Chugh’s research is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He has authored more than 260 scientific papers that have been cited almost 95,000 times. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and he is the past president of the Association of University Cardiologists as well as the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society.
The American College of Cardiology Awards Committee and Board of Trustees of the American College of Cardiology present the Distinguished Scientist Award on an annual basis. The award recognizes major contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge in the field of cardiovascular disease. It is given to three recipients; one each in the basic, clinical and translational domains.
For more information: www.acc.org