Michael Swartz started his medical career as a physician's assistant in the division of cardiac surgery at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, New York. While at SUNY Upstate, Michael completed a Master's of Science in physiology in 2007, and PhD in pharmacology in 2009. Following completion of his graduate work, Michael joined the URMC as both a physician's assistant on the cardiac surgery service and a post-doctoral research fellow working with Dr. George Alfieris. Following completion of his post-doctoral research fellowship he was appointed as an assistant professor of surgery at URMC in 2013.
Despite surgical ingenuity to palliate the 1000 infants born annually in the United States with single ventricle (SV) physiology, the predicted life expectancy for these patients remains less than three decades without cardiac transplantation. Shortly after birth, infants undergo the first in a series of operations which ultimately diverts systemic venous return away from the heart, directly into the pulmonary vasculature. Although short and midterm results of this palliation are acceptable, the majority of patients succumb to heart failure. Cardiac transplantation is the optimal treatment; however, due to limited organ supply and an absence of circulatory support strategies, nearly 25% of failing SV patients die while awaiting cardiac transplant.
We have developed a survival, single ventricle, large animal model that we are currently using to test different strategies for mechanical circulatory support. These strategies developed at the URMC and from other vendors, may provide further options for single ventricle patients while awaiting transplant.