UR Medicine cardiologist John D. Bisognano, M.D., Ph.D., has been elected president of the American Society of Hypertension, an organization of physicians and scientists dedicated to advancing research and care for this disease.
Bisognano is an expert on hypertension, a leading cause of stroke and heart attack. Under his guidance, University of Rochester Medical Center was first in the nation to be named an ASH level-one designated hypertension center, in recognition of excellence in patient care, research, resident training and compliance with national practice guidelines.
He was a leader of a community education program to reduce hypertension rates and, as a result, health care spending. The “Rochester Model,” as it is known throughout the country, was started at the urging of business leaders who wanted to reduce health costs for their workforce. They encouraged employees to monitor blood pressure levels and seek low-cost medications to avoid heart attack, stroke and kidney and heart diseases.
Bisognano has spent years studying the most challenging forms of hypertension and led a nationwide clinical trial testing a new device for resistant hypertension – high blood pressure that does not respond to medications and lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthier diet and exercising. The device, called the Rheos® System, was the first tested in a large-scale clinical trial for the treatment of hypertension.
On the other end of the spectrum, Bisognano also looked at whether less may be more for people with mild or stage I hypertension. The research is testing whether or not different doses of an established blood pressure medication can provide the same benefits as a standard dose in people with mild hypertension, possibly with fewer side effects and at a lower cost. Though it is ingrained that we have to have a constant level of medication, Bisognano said it is possible that if the drug level goes down, the brain may be able to compensate.
In addition to his research, Bisognano is the director of UR Medicine’s Hypertension Clinic and also served as president of the New York State Chapter of the American College of Cardiology.
Bisognano received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his doctorate in chemistry from State University of New York at Binghamton, and his medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. He joined the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2001.