Open Accessibility Menu
Hide

Stavros Stavrakis, MD, PhD, MS

  • Research Program: Geroscience
  • Membership Level: Associate Professor, College of Medicine, Department of Cardiology

Biography

"I am a physician-scientist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where my research spans from translational to clinical. Over the last 10 years, my research has focused on autonomic neuromodulation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular conditions, including heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.
As a junior faculty, I have successfully translated into humans the results of basic studies from our laboratory showing suppression of atrial fibrillation by low-level transcutaneous stimulation of the auricular branch of the vagus nerve at the tragus of the ear. In this proof-of-concept and first-in-man study, transcutaneous electrical stimulation of the auricular branch of the right vagus nerve at the tragus of the ear resulted in suppression of atrial fibrillation and decreased serum inflammatory cytokines. These results support the use of tragus stimulation as a novel non-pharmacological treatment modality for atrial fibrillation and possibly other conditions, where inflammation plays a key role, including heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, which is one of the largest unmet needs in Cardiovascular Medicine today.
Moreover, I recently presented the results of a first-in-human late-breaking randomized clinical trial which showed that in ambulatory patients with paroxysmal AF, chronic intermittent tragus stimulation over 6 months resulted in a significant decrease in atrial fibrillation burden compared to sham stimulation. This study was presented as a late-breaking clinical trial at the Heart Rhythm Society Scientific Sessions in May 2019 and has been published in the JACC: Cardiac Electrophysiology journal.
Finally, I received funding through an R21 grant to examine the effects of tragus stimulation on diastolic dysfunction, exercise capacity, and inflammation in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and determine whether these effects are mediated by suppression of inflammation and fibrosis in a well-established rat model of the disease. The results of this proof-of-concept animal study demonstrated that chronic tragus stimulation significantly ameliorated diastolic function and attenuated left ventricular inflammation and fibrosis. The significance of this work is being increasingly recognized and I have been invited to present in national and international meetings on this topic, including the Heart Rhythm Society meeting (the premier international conference for arrhythmia disorders, attended by more than 10,000 health care professionals) and the International Society for Autonomic Neurosciences meeting."

Email

stavros-stavrakis@ouhsc.edu

Publications

Health Education
  • Graduate School
  • University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • University of Athens Medical School
Research Interests:
  • Autonomic modulation for atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Immune phenotype of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
  • Screening for silent atrial fibrillation
  • Interventions to improve the cardiovascular health of American Indians