Christopher Maulion, MD, is a cardiologist who specializes in advanced heart failure and transplant. He treats critically ill patients with cardiomyopathy, a spectrum of diseases of the heart muscle that lead to diminished heart function, potentially requiring advanced therapies including heart transplantation and left ventricular assist devices.
Dr. Maulion also is working with heart transplant surgeons to spearhead a multi-site clinical trial at Yale involving DCD (donation after cardiac death). Utilization of DCD organs is relatively new in the U.S., where the vast majority of donor hearts are retrieved as “donation after brain death.” Dr. Maulion reports, “DCD is the likely next chapter in cardiac transplantation,” and the trial may be the first step toward expanding the number of available organs and providing lifesaving opportunities for patients.
The heart failure and transplant field attracted Dr. Maulion because of its complexity and the opportunities it provides to help very sick patients get their lives back. “Advanced heart failure cardiology requires a broad knowledge base of not only cardiology but also internal medicine,” he says. “In addition, it is a field that is innovating in multiple fronts, spanning from the medical treatment of heart failure to mechanical circulatory support devices and heart transplant.” The work has also shaped his research interests in DCD heart transplantation, medical treatments in chronic heart failure, and cardiorenal syndrome, which involves both the heart and kidneys.
But Dr. Maulion says he is most grateful for the incredible patients he has met. “Overcoming the odds and being able to give a person a new lease on life is an amazing feeling,” he says. “Dealing with such a sick population has taught me how resilient a patient can be.”