The Christ Hospital Health Network Heart & Vascular Team is pleased to announce the addition of Odayme Quesada, MD, MHS, who joins the hospital to support women’s cardiac care as Medical Director of its ground breaking Women’s Heart Center.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Quesada to Christ Hospital and to the city,” says Dr. Eugene S. Chung, Director of Heart Failure for The Christ Hospital Lindner Center for Research and Education. “She will establish the first truly dedicated program to care for women with, and at risk for, heart disease. Her research is also at the highest level, with significant funding from the National Institutes of Health.”
From the start of her impressive career, Dr. Quesada has devoted herself to providing comprehensive cardiac care to women. After her graduation from the Yale University School of Medicine and residency at the University of California in San Francisco, Dr. Quesada served as a clinical fellow in cardiovascular medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and completed a National Institutes of Health research fellowship in cardiovascular disease in women. She received the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Excellence in Cardiology Fellowship Award in recognition and appreciation for work in clinical care, teaching, research, leadership, and academic achievement, as well as numerous other awards throughout her training.
Dr. Quesada was actively recruited by The Christ Hospital’s Timothy Henry, MD, Interventional Cardiologist and Medical Director of The Christ Hospital Lindner Center for Research and Education. “The phenomenal thing about the cardiovascular team at The Christ Hospital is how passionate and excited they are about creating a women’s heart center,” says Dr. Quesada. “This is an internationally well-known team responsible for countless global, national, state, and local medical firsts for cardiac care and cardiac research. I am ecstatic to be part of a team like this, and I know we will succeed together.”
She is also the recipient of a prestigious million-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health and, in addition to directing the Women’s Health Center, will lead a landmark research program at The Lindner Center on women’s cardiac health and disease. “The focus of this research study is to better understand why and how women with preeclampsia in pregnancy are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life,” she says. Her mentor at Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Bairey Merz, pioneered the investigations on women who present with chest pain but show no presence of arterial obstruction on an angiogram — also known as ischemia with no obstructive coronary artery disease (INOCA). This innovative work deeply inspired Dr. Quesada.
“Women often have chest pain and even evidence, there is damage to the heart, but after testing and consults are told they are fine because there is no obstruction.” Therefore, she recommends that women get a second opinion. “Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in women,” she says. “We must look beyond blocked arteries and examine the health of the microvascular system.” This is accomplished through a specialized invasive procedure called coronary reactivity testing, or advanced imaging. “We must effectively bridge these gaps where women are not correctly diagnosed, supported, and treated. This is my passion.”
The Christ Hospital Women’s Heart Center will provide excellent medical care, forward women’s cardiac research on coronary microvascular disease; educate physicians, nurses, and other cardiologists; and engage in community outreach. According to Dr. Quesada, a priority for the Women’s Heart Center is to serve all women in the community, from all walks of life, and across all demographics. Programs will include prevention for high-risk women; diagnosis and treatment of women whose pregnancies have been complicated by hypertensive disorders, such as preeclampsia and gestational hypertension – her field of research; and treatment of heart conditions that exist in men but are more common in women and, therefore, understudied. “We are excited to bring this benefit to the tri-state area,” she says. “Very few centers around the country, or even the world, focus on women’s specific cardiac care.”