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Physician Receives Merit Award from National Institutes of Health

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Cardiologist Dalane W. Kitzman, M.D., professor of cardiology and director of the echocardiography program at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, was recently recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for excellence in the quality of his funded grant programs.

Approved for Merit award status by the NIH, a 2004 proposal by Kitzman was among the top two-percent of those reviewed by the NIH advisory board. An internationally-recognized leader in heart-failure research in the elderly, Kitzman heads one of the most-successful recruiting sites in the country for studying this disease.

“We’re very proud that Dr. Kitzman has received an NIH Merit award for research that is viewed to have the greatest potential and the highest scientific merit,” said cardiologist, William C. Little, M.D., professor and section head of cardiology at Wake Forest Baptist.

Both Kitzman and Little share an interest in the research of the causes and treatment of diastolic heart failure. In this only recently recognized form of congestive heart failure, the heart contracts normally, but doesn’t fill with enough blood. It has been discovered to be the cause of many more deaths nationwide than the more widely known form of heart failure—systolic heart failure, in which the heart doesn’t fill with enough blood.

According to the American Heart Association, heart failure is the most costly cardiovascular disease in the United States accounting for nearly 1 million hospitalizations annually. Total cost of caring for U.S. heart failure patients is estimated to be about $40 billion per year and growing rapidly.


Media Contacts: Jim Steele,, Shannon Koontz,, or Karen Richardson,, at 336-716-4587.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,298 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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