The UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of heart conditions such as coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease. The Division is world-renowned for its excellence in patient care, teaching, and medical research.

Learn more about the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease:


History of the Division

The Division’s first Director was Tinsley Harrison, MD, best known as founding editor of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. In 1966, the UAB Cardio-vascular Research and Training Center (CVRTC) was established with a grant from NIH and Joseph Reeves, MD as its first Director. Thomas James, MD took over the Directorship of the CVRTC in 1970 and propelled the unit to worldwide reputation. He also served as Chairman of the Dept. of Medicine and was President of the American Heart Association (AHA) in 1979. Gerald Pohost, MD served as the next division Director and built the first center focused on application of MRI for cardiovascular disease. Robert Bourge, MD was Director from 1996-2010 and fostered the growth of the Division and the development of the Heart and Vascular Center. Ami E. Iskandrian, MD became Interim Director of the Division in 2011. The current Director is Sumanth Prabhu, MD, who came to the division in September of 2012.


Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. The UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of heart conditions such as coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease, and has become world renowned for its excellence in patient care, teaching, and both basic and clinical research.


The vision of the Division of Cardiology is to expand UAB’s leadership in cardiovascular disease by:

  • Improving the detection, treatment, prevention, and understanding of cardiovascular disease
  • Excelling in graduate medical education with a curriculum that strengthens the patient/doctor relationship, facilitates clinical reasoning, and cultivates professionalism
  • Promoting multi-disciplinary, collaborative research efforts in cardiovascular disease, with a special emphasis on translational research 


Patient Care
For the last 15 years, Cardiology at UAB has been listed as one of the Top 50 programs by U.S. News and World Report. The UAB Heart and Vascular Center, located on the 6th floor of UAB Hospital’s North Pavilion, is one of the largest centers of its kind in the Southeast, encompassing 55,000 square feet. It is one of the first of its kind to integrate multiple services that include electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, neuro-interventional radiology, pediatric cardiology, and vascular Interventional radiology. The Kirklin Clinic is home to a number of cardiovascular clinics, including the (General) Cardiology Clinic, with highly specialized physicians who are experts in the specific heart and vascular conditions, the UAB Hypertension Clinic, and the UAB Pulmonary Vascular Disease Clinic, one of the most advanced and busiest clinics of its kind in the country.


UAB established its leadership role in medical education early on with Tinsley R. Harrison, one of the most influential physicians of the twentieth century. His textbook, Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, is among the world’s most widely used medical texts; it revolutionized the way students learned to diagnose patients. UAB cardiologists continue to produce major textbooks in the field, including:

Nuclear Cardiac Imaging: Principles and Applications
Ami Iskandrian, MD, MACC

Clinical Cardiac Pacing, Defibrillation and Resynchronization Therapy
G. Neal Kay, MD

Live/Real 3D Echocardiography
Navin Nanda, MD and Fadi Hage, MD


Suzanne Oparil, MD

Arrhythmia Essentials
The Complete Guide to ECG’s
Steven Pogwizd, MD


The Division’s 58 faculty members (41 practicing MD and 17 PhD’s) are currently engaged in active research, with grants and contracts totaling approximately $16 million per year in extramural funding.

Research breakthroughs at UAB in the area of cardiovascular medicine that have directly improved patient care include:

  • Pioneering studies in heart defibrillation that made implantable defibrillators possible without need for open heart surgery
  • Advances in 3-D echocardiography and nuclear imaging leading to improved diagnosis of cardiac disease
  • Development of novel catheter ablation approaches to treat a wide variety of arrhythmias
  • Advances in heart failure treatment using implantable left ventricular assist devices making UAB one of the nation’s leader in heart failure treatment
  • Major clinical trials in coronary artery disease, heart failure and hypertension that have established the safety and efficacy of current and upcoming medical therapy
  • Collaborations between Interventional Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery that have produced innovative and life- saving interventional & surgical procedure