Center for Coronary Artery Disease

Making the impossible possible

We’re saving and improving the lives of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), which is the #1 cause of death in the world. 

How we are saving lives

Did you know that heart attack, sudden death and chest pain are all caused by coronary artery disease (CAD)? Fortunately, medications, bypass graft surgery and stents can help improve the quality of life of CAD patients.

At the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s Center for Coronary Artery Disease, we put patients at the center of our work.

Through innovative research and education, we are dedicated to improving clinical practice and ultimately discovering life-saving treatments.

Real Patient Stories

Learn how the Center for Coronary Artery Disease is improving patients’ lives.

“I have so much to be thankful for; I haven’t felt this good in over 10 years. It’s like night and day,” said John, who has struggled with the symptoms of coronary artery disease on and off since 1995. “Prior to the procedure, I could walk 50 yards at the very most and then I had to stop and wait for a minute or two to catch my breath again before I could go on.”

Read John’s Story >>

“I was just tired; I had pressure in my chest, but not like my other three heart attacks,” said Lynn. “It was more of a lighter pressure, you know? I thought it was muscle. That’s why I never went in. So when I did go in, I was 100 percent blocked.”

Read Lynn’s Story >>


Shelley’s advice to others — especially women — is simple. “You’ve just got to pay attention to your body and know that there’s something different going on. Don’t be afraid to go in and get it checked. It’s better to go in, have it checked.”

Read Shelley’s Story >>


Patient Education

Patients and Families

If you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with coronary artery disease, check out our patient resources. Learn what CAD is, who is at risk for developing CAD, how it’s treated, diagnosed and more.

Learn about coronary artery disease >

Life After Stent

View presentations from cardiologists about coronary artery disease that were captured at our 2018 Life After Stent event.

Dr. Santiago Garcia presented “Stenting and Antiplatelet Therapy”

Dr. Michael Miedema presented “Life after Stenting: Time for a New Start”

Dr. Joao Cavalcante presented “Noninvasive Coronary Artery Imaging”

Dr. Manos Brilakis presented “A Brighter Future: Ongoing & Future Research”

Dr. Nick Burke presented “Complex Interventions: Chronic Total Occlusions, Brachytherapy and Beyond”

Physician Panel answers questions from audience at “Life After Stent” education event.

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Professional Resources

Coronary Artery Disease Research for Professionals

With several ongoing research and education projects, the Center for Coronary Artery Disease is having a significant impact on the health of patients with complex coronary artery disease around the world.

Check out our resources for professionals here >>

Our Team 

Emmanouil Brilakis, MD, PHD

Emmanouil Brilakis, MD, PHD

Chairman, Center for Coronary Artery Disease

Dr. Brilakis is director of the Center for Complex Coronary Interventions at the Minneapolis Heart Institute® and chairman of the Center for Coronary Artery Disease at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.

After graduating from Lycee Leonin de Patissia, Dr. Brilakis received his medical degree from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. He trained in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases and interventional cardiology at the Mayo Clinic. He also completed a master’s degree in clinical research at the Mayo Clinic and a PhD in clinical research at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. He served as director of the cardiac catheterization laboratories at VA North Texas Health Care System from 2004-2016. He was on the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School from 2004-2018.

Dr. Brilakis leads a large clinical trial group investigating treatment of chronic total occlusions, prevention and treatment of saphenous vein graft disease, lipid lowering therapies, prevention and management of complications, intracoronary imaging, antiplatelet treatment optimization post coronary stenting, radiation safety in the catheterization laboratory, and development of novel technologies.

Dr. Brilakis has authored or co-authored more than 600 manuscripts and has written the Manual of CTO Interventions, now in its 2nd edition and the Manual of PCI. He created the Manual of CTO Interventions and the Manual of PCI YouTube series. He is on the board of the Cardiovascular Innovations Foundation, an associate editor for Circulation and an editorial board member and reviewer for several journals and grant agencies. He is lecturing and proctoring at several institutions in the United States and abroad.    

Nicholas Burke, MD, FACC

Nicholas Burke, MD, FACC

Associate Director, Center for Coronary Artery Disease

Dr. Burke is an interventional cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute® and has been practicing since 1995. For 15 years, Dr. Burke was also the director of cardiovascular emergency services and of cardiovascular operations at the Minneapolis Heart Institute where he also co-directs the Chronic Total Occlusion and Complex High Risk Indicated Procedures (CHIP) Program. Dr. Burke specializes in interventional cardiology, including the treatment of chronically totally occluded arteries and cardiovascular emergencies, particularly myocardial infarctions (heart attacks).

Bavana V. Rangan, BDS, MPH

Bavana V. Rangan, BDS, MPH

Program Director, Center for Coronary Artery Disease

Dr. Rangan joined the MHIF team as program director for the Center for Coronary Artery Disease (CCAD) in October 2018. Dr. Rangan focuses on expanding and enabling the vision of the CCAD Science Center developing MHIF’s investigator-initiated research portfolio of studies and funding, and mentoring the CCAD international scholars. Dr. Rangan is also the global director for the PROGRESS-CTO global multi-center registry on chronic total occlusions, which is a significant and expansive endeavor involving more than 50 participating centers globally, and includes >7000 CTO PCI procedures. Also, as a program director, Dr. Rangan serves on the MHIF Blueprint leadership group dedicated to enabling MHIF’s growth and strategies.

Dr. Rangan is originally from Bangalore, India, and received her dental degree at the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, VS Dental College and Hospital. Drawn by the opportunity to pursue a career in clinical research, she completed her Master of Public Health in Clinical Research at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health. Subsequently, Dr. Rangan built a strong background in clinical research in dentistry, rheumatology and cardiology primarily within the VA North Texas Health Care System (VANTCHS) and University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW)Medical School. She began working with Dr. Emmanouil Brilakis in 2007 at UTSW and VANTHCS in progressive roles including director of research operations and faculty associate, leading to principal investigator on the LAVA registry and national coordinator on several trials, including the VA CSP#571 Drug-Eluting Stents in Saphenous Vein Graft Angioplasty (DIVA) trial, the Crossboss First Trial, ASAP-SVG Trial, among other projects, funded by VA, NIH, industry and philanthropy.  Dr. Rangan’s research expertise has been in saphenous vein graft disease, chronic total occlusions, intravascular imaging and investigational drug and device trials.

Dr. Rangan has also served as a board member and reviewer on the VA North Texas Health Care System Institutional Review Board between 2012 to 2018 and received the VA’s Outstanding Cardiology Research Achievement Award in 2013. She is well published and has been recognized as a leader in research administration and implementation.  

Judit Karacsonyi, MD

Judit Karacsonyi, MD

Senior Research Scholar

Dr. Karacsonyi is an MD, PhD from the University of Szeged, Faculty of Medicine, Hungary, completed her cardiology fellowship in May 2019 and worked as a cardiology attending at the University of Szeged before joining MHIF as a senior research scholar at the Center for Coronary Artery Disease (CCAD) in Winter 2019.

She has a prolific track record of publications and completed her PhD on New Aspects in Percutaneous Coronary Intervention of Chronic Total Occlusions. She also worked with Dr. Brilakis and Dr. Rangan at the UT Southwestern Medical Center and Dallas VA as a post-doctoral research scholar between September 2015 and August 2017. She has collaborated on textbook chapters and publications with MHIF faculty and has authored/ co-authored publications from the PROGRESS-CTO Multicenter Registry, the CrossBoss First Multicenter trial, and several other topics such as saphenous vein graft intervention, laser atherectomy and radiation effects on cath lab personnel.

Evangelia Vemmou, MD

Evangelia Vemmou, MD

Research Scholar/Fellow

Dr. Evangelia Vemmou joined the Coronary Artery Disease Science Center as a research scholar in July 2019. She was born and raised in Greece where she got her MD from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Medical School, Class of 2017).  A three-month Stavros Niarchos Foundation Research Training Program in Clinical & Experimental Medicine Scholarship brought her to Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation in 2018, where she worked on a project regarding x-ray system optimization in the catheterization laboratory. The main focuses of her research are chronic total occlusion percutaneous coronary interventions, bifurcation lesions and radiation in the catheterization laboratory.

Ilias Nikolakopoulos, MD

Ilias Nikolakopoulos, MD

Research Scholar/Fellow

Dr. Ilias Nikolakopoulos joined the Coronary Artery Disease Science Center as a research scholar in July 2019. A 2017 graduate of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, he spent three months at Northwell Health, NY working on periprocedural anticoagulation and risk models for thromboprophylaxis in cancer patients, as one of 10 recipients of the “World Hellenic Biomedical Association and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Research Training Program in Clinical & Experimental Medicine.” Dr. Nikolakopoulos mainly focuses on patients with coronary artery bifurcation lesions, chronic total occlusions and bypass grafts. His research work also involves outcomes after acute myocardial infarction across diverse patient populations, access site selection for cardiac catheterization, radiation safety in the catheterization laboratory, and implementation of novel technologies in health care. He plans to pursue a clinical and research career in cardiology.

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