Headrick Family Charitable Gift to Fund Innovation in Valve Science

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® Announces  Roger L. and Lynn C. Headrick Family Chair for Valve Science Research
Headrick Family Charitable Gift to Fund Innovation in Valve Science, Dr. Paul Sorajja Appointed Chair, MHIF Valve Science Research

MINNEAPOLIS – Oct. 4, 2017 – The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) is proud to announce the creation of the Roger L. and Lynn C. Headrick Family Chair for Valve Science Research. Paul Sorajja, MD, director of the MHIF Valve Science Center, is appointed to the Chair. This research Chair was made possible by a $2 million charitable gift from the Headrick family, which under the leadership of Dr. Sorajja, will propel the Valve Science Center’s work forward. The Headrick Chair will provide breakthrough research, data collection, analysis, scientific paper production and, presentation as well as public educational efforts. The anticipated impact will be to improve the quality of life for, and extend the lives of, those living with valve disease. Ultimately, this work will provide more options and improve access to care through population health and health policy analysis.

“We have personally experienced what it means to receive exceptional cardiovascular care and treatment,” said Roger Headrick. “We are making this gift on behalf of our family, in part as a reflection of our gratitude for the treatment options that were available to me thanks to research, and for the promise of future innovation in valve disease. We hope this gift will benefit the families of everyone facing valve disease in the future.”

“Valvular heart disease is a public health crisis. Therapy can be life-saving, and yet countless people go untreated,” said Dr. Sorajja. “I am honored to be appointed to the Roger L. and Lynn C. Headrick Family Chair for Valve Science Research and look forward to continuing our commitment to innovative research and breakthroughs here at MHIF.

David Durenberger, three-term U. S. Senator and a nationally respected healthcare policy expert, has benefitted from MHIF research. Earlier this year, Senator Durenberger had a minimally invasive valve replacement procedure performed by Dr. Sorajja as part of an MHIF clinical study.

“At the end of my procedure, Dr. Sorajja spoke to me, ‘Dave you are very lucky to be alive,’ at which time I wept at the gift of life,” said Senator Durenberger. “Then he explained to my family the challenges he, Dr. Frazier Eales and their team had faced and overcome during the procedure. I feel great joy and gratitude over the relatively small, and at the same time miraculous, procedure that has significantly extended my life.”

“The MHIF Valve Science Center is vital to saving lives, but also to the future of medicine,” said Senator Durenberger. “MHIF has pulled together an unusually focused team of physicians determined to move toward data-driven, evidence-based medicine. From a policy perspective, that is the future.”

“The Headrick family is making an impact starting today. Their extraordinary gift will provide continued advances in cardiac valve disease treatments under Dr. Sorajja’s leadership,” said Scott Sharkey, MD, FACC, president and chief medical officer at MHIF. “Dr. Sorajja is world-renown for his expertise in the treatment of cardiac valve disease and we are proud and grateful for the Headrick’s support for this important research.”

MHIF is a world leader in cardiac valve disease research, and was among the first in the world to utilize new transcatheter technologies. In July 2016, following a successful procedure using the Intrepid mitral valve prosthesis (made by Medtronic), MHIF researchers became the first center in the U.S. to have successfully implanted both of the most promising new valve technologies, also including the Tendyne valve (made by Abbott Vascular). These studies are only part of MHIF’s mission to advance care and outcomes for patients. In June 2017, Dr. Sorajja performed the 250th mitral heart valve procedure using the MitraClip (made by Abbott Vascular), and to date Minneapolis Heart Institute® physicians have performed more than 750 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures.

About Cardiac Valve Disease

Most patients with cardiac valve disease are not receiving adequate care. Given that valve disease is associated with aging, patients often receive conservative therapy. Unfortunately, a paradox emerges as valve disease progresses and patients become too sick for an interventional procedure to either repair or replace the diseased or dysfunctional valve. Essentially, most patients miss their window of opportunity to receive treatment. As a result, the prevalence of severe, high-risk, valve disease has grown substantially. In the United States alone, there are 3.2 million people affected, and 5.6 million people will be affected by 2030.

About the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® Valve Science Center

Established in 2016, the mission of the MHIF Valve Science Center is to eliminate the morbidity and mortality of valvular heart disease. Through its commitment to leading research and education, in partnership with physicians at the Minneapolis Heart Institute®, the Center is addressing the root causes of currently poor outcomes by studying barriers to care, advancing public education and disease state awareness, innovation in medical technology, and introducing novel patient care pathways to improve outcomes. MHIF actively participates in major clinical trials and conducts many investigator-initiated research studies focused on disease mechanisms, clinical care effectiveness and applying new treatment, diagnosis or monitoring methods. MHIF’s valve team has authored hundreds of papers and presents frequently at national conferences, such as American Heart Association, Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics and American College of Cardiology. 

About Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation®

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF) strives to create a world without heart and vascular disease. To achieve this bold vision, it is dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of individuals and communities through innovative research and education.

  • Scientific Innovation and Research — MHIF is a recognized research leader in cardiovascular medicine and population health initiatives. Each year MHIF leads more than 175 active research projects and publishes more than 175 peer-reviewed abstracts. Cardiologists, hospitals and communities around the world adopt MHIF protocols to save lives, improve care and create healthier living opportunities.
  • Education and Outreach — MHIF provides more than 10,000 hours of education each year putting its research into practice to improve outcomes and leads cutting-edge, transformative population health research to connect, engage, inform and empower individuals and communities to improve their health.

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s mission is funded by generous donors and sponsors and advances the research initiatives of the cardiologists and vascular surgeons of Minneapolis Heart Institute®. MHI physicians provide care for patients at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and at 38 community sites across Minnesota and western Wisconsin