Clinical Research

Researcher at work
The International Heart Institute of Montana Foundation conducts pre-clinical and clinical research trials to promote its mission to foster the provision of full-continuum, high-quality cardiac care. Our physicians and scientists work together, taking their ideas full spectrum from the research bench to the patient’s bedside. The proximity of the researchers to the physicians, and the wearing of both hats by some, creates opportunities for hallway or lunchroom conversations where ideas are shared, debated, drawn-up, and taken to the laboratory for development. Our group has created and infused an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity and discovery into all of our work.


Pre-Clinical Research
fotosearch_k1996028Before Clinical Research can begin, the safety, effectiveness, and biocompatibility of drugs and medical devices are tested in a laboratory setting. Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and stringent laboratory standards must be followed to ensure comprehensive protocol development, accurate data collection, and reliable results. Thorough and complete pre-clinical testing leads to more beneficial and effective clinical research. The International Heart Institute of Montana Foundation has conducted pre-clinical studies on valvular integrity, the use of natural tissues for implantation as vein grafts, tissue engineering, and general studies on tissue characteristics, treatment, and analysis.


Clinical Trials
When medical devices, medications, and treatment regimens are ready to be tested in humans, clinical research trials are conducted. Knowlege gained in basic and pre-clinical studies is taken a step further when it is ready to be tested in patients. Participating in clinical trials can give patients access to treatments that otherwise might not be available for several years. The International Heart Institute of Montana physicians have the intellect, scientific backgrounds, training, and professional skills to conduct clinical research trials and keep their patients on the forefront of treatment options in the cardiovascular sciences.

Patent Portfolio
Research conducted at The International Heart Institute of Montana Foundation has produced several United States and International Patent applications and patent awards. Our intellectual property gives depth to our capability to take our ideas to market as real solutions to problems that face heart patients today.

Tissue Engineering Laboratory

Recent research at the International Heart Institute of Montana Foundation involved the implantation of freeze-dried xenografts in sheep and rabbits using the laboratory facilities provided by The University of Montana. This research began in August 2006 and involved the work of IHI surgeons, IHIMF staff, and international surgery fellows.

The foundation has supported over 30 major research projects lead by Dr. Carlos M.G. Duran and conducted by 18 international cardiac surgeon and cardiology fellows from 8 different countries. The following are just a few examples of research innovations that we have explored:

Heart Failure Research
• In Vivo Evaluation of a Novel Percutaneous Device to Treat Heart Failure
• A Comparison of Nitric Oxide and cGMP Production following L-Arginine Infusion in Healthy and Hypertensive Patients
Aortic Research
• In Vivo Evaluation of Bioprosthetic Mitral Valves in the Juvenile Sheep Model
• Sonomicrometry Study of the Acute and Chronic Changes of the Left Ventricular and Mitral Valve Geometry after Transaction of the Anterior Mitral Leaflet Basal ´Stay´ Chords
• Mitral Valve Chord Replacement in Universal Mitral Prolapse
Pericardial Tissue Research
• Effects of Serum on Vital Pericardium in Tissue Culture
• Liquid Analysis of Ethanol Extracts of Fresh Sheep Pericardial Tissue