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About This Center

Vascular disease is a major public health problem. In the United States, venous thromboembolism accounts for about a million emergency department visits each year and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Accurate diagnosis and coordinated care are vital to achieving good outcomes. The Center for Vascular Emergencies at Massachusetts General Hospital was created to advance research into the diagnosis, treatment and epidemiology of vascular emergencies, to educate providers and patients about these diseases, and to facilitate the multidisciplinary care of these complex patients.

The Center is designed around a multidisciplinary team approach. We partner with the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, Fireman Vascular Center, and the Stroke Service at Mass General, as well as the Divisions of Cardiology and Pulmonary & Critical Care in the Department of Medicine, the Department of Surgery, and the Department of Radiology. We also have close ties to epidemiologists at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Our partnerships ensure an interdisciplinary approach to research, education, and patient care.

Educational Opportunities

The Center publishes scientific manuscripts, reviews and book chapters. We lecture nationally and internationally on the care of patients with vascular emergencies. We offer educational sessions, lectures and training to fellows, residents, nurses, and midlevel providers. Our members participate in continuing medical education courses for providers focused on the care of patients with vascular disease.

The Center also supports the advanced training and development of physicians interested in vascular emergency research by offering one and two-year research fellowships. These fellowships are open to physicians of any specialty and offer access to research and clinical experiences related to vascular emergencies. In addition, we offer the potential for a master’s degree through the Harvard School of Public Health. Those interested in fellowship opportunities should contact Christopher Kabrhel at ckabrhel@partners.org.

Clinical Initiatives

Clinically, we seek to:

  • Educate present and future providers on the diagnosis and care of patients with vascular emergencies
  • Develop best practices for the clinical care of patients with vascular emergencies
  • Integrate with other departments at Mass General to promote multidisciplinary, patient-centered care

The Mass General Pulmonary Embolism Response Team (PERT) is a collaborative, multidisciplinary effort designed to improve the care of patients with severe pulmonary embolism (PE) by facilitating access to advanced clot removal therapies and performing research that directly improves the health of patients. The Center for Vascular Emergencies collaborates closely with the Institute for Heart, Vascular and Stroke Care where the PERT team is based, and is working to create a national network of PERT centers. The PERT offers clinical, education and research opportunities to Center affiliates.


We focus on three major areas of study:

  • Clinical Research: We study diagnostic tests and treatments to determine which are best and safest for patients
  • Epidemiology: We study risk factors for developing vascular disease, including genes, biomarkers, and lifestyle factors
  • Health Policy: We study how research can be applied broadly to the healthcare system in order to improve the safety and efficiency of care, while focusing on patient-centered outcomes

Research Initiatives

SPEED-D: The Safe Pulmonary Embolism Emergency Department Discharge Study. This foundation-funded study is designed to identify clinical, biomarker and radiological risk factors for adverse outcomes after acute pulmonary embolism.

Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors for Venous Thromboembolism: This NIH (R01) funded study uses novel exome-wide genetic sequencing to identify novel genetic risk factors for venous thromboembolism. This study is being conducted by Center researchers working with colleagues at the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

HAMLET (Help Assess Management in Lung Embolism Testing): This study funded by the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians is designed study to assess whether shared decision making techniques can improve patient participation in the use of vascular imaging while reducing unnecessary testing.

Metaanalysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE): This international collaboration will combine data from several GWAS to form the largest genetic study of VTE performed to date. This study is being conducted by Center researchers working with colleagues at the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

TOPCOAT: We recently completed this randomized trial (NCT00680628) of tenecteplase or placebo in patients with severe submassive pulmonary embolism.

Review Past Publications