Heart Disease

UCSF has a rare chance to better combat the leading cause of death in the U.S. – cardiovascular disease.


Heart Disease at UCSF

For more than 50 years, UCSF scientists in the renowned Cardiology Division and at the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) have worked together across disciplines to battle heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke and other forms of cardiovascular disease. Their partnerships have led to major medical advances, aiding everyone from infants with respiratory problems to adults with heart rhythm disturbances.

Yet cardiovascular disease – which kills nearly 1 million people in the U.S. each year – is on the rise as the population ages. Now is the time to escalate our efforts, and we have an unprecedented opportunity to move forward.


The UCSF Division of Cardiology and the Cardiovascular Research Institute have major research programs that span from basic research such as studying the molecular mechanisms of heart disease to patient- and disease-based translational research and clinical trials that will shape treatment of heart disease. Please contact us to learn more about our research programs.

Clinical Care

The renowned faculty of the UCSF Division of Cardiology care for a diverse population of patients with heart disease. Clinical programs include: the Center for Prevention of Heart and Vascular Disease; Arrhythmias and Electrophysiology; Advanced Heart Failure and Pulmonary Hypertension; Adult Congenital Heart Disease; Cardiovascular Genetics; Interventional Cardiology and Vascular Disease; Asian Heart and Vascular Center; Cardiac Echocardiography and Non-invasive Testing; and General Cardiology. We provide services throughout the Bay Area, with clinics in Marin, Chinatown, Parnassus and our new Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center at the Mission Bay Smith-CVRI Building.

Teaching and Training Future Physicians and Scientists

The UCSF Division of Cardiology trains physicians and physician-scientists to carry the field into the next generation. Our training program is one of the top in the country. In addition, along with researchers in the CVRI, we develop future leaders in cardiovascular research through our doctoral and post-doctoral training programs.

Smith Cardiovascular Research Building

A state-of-the-art building on the UCSF Mission Bay campus houses the CVRI, the Center for Prevention of Heart and Vascular Disease and an outpatient clinic. The new facility allows laboratory scientists and clinicians previously dispersed over several sites to come together and share ideas. It also enables UCSF to recruit new faculty members from emerging fields with new technologies. The expanded space and additional faculty invigorates the rich, multidisciplinary efforts that produce great science.

Your support for the research, teaching and clinical programs inside it will help us in our quest to prevent this pervasive disease – and to treat those who suffer from it with greater speed, precision and efficiency.


  • Discovered, characterized and developed surfactant, a substance that allows the lungs to inflate properly, as a therapy for respiratory distress syndrome – resulting in the largest drop in infant mortality in the U.S. in modern history
  • Pioneered catheter-based ablation therapy, which can cure some types of heart rhythm problems without open-heart surgery
  • Discovered that relaxation as well as contraction of the heart can be abnormal in heart failure, which improved understanding and treatment of this disease
  • Along with Gladstone Institute investigators, guided the discovery and development of eptifibatide, a drug that prevents clotting during angioplasty and evolving heart attacks
  • Helped demonstrate – for low birthweight babies with the congenital heart abnormality patent ductus arteriosus – the utility of intervention with indomethacin, a common anti-inflammatory drug; prior to this finding these babies needed immediate surgery

"Our vision for this building isn't just about space and numbers. It's about bringing hope to cardiovascular disease victims the world over and ultimately preventing the disease." - Shaun Coughlin, MD, PhD, Cardiovascular Research Institute director, Distinguished Professorship in Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine

For more information on supporting Heart Disease at UCSF, please contact Eileen Murphy at emurphy@support.ucsf.edu or 415/502-0746.