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Loren Sacks, MD

  • Loren Daniel Sacks


Critical Care Medicine

Work and Education

Professional Education

UC San Diego Office of the Registrar, La Jolla, CA, 6/3/2007


University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, 6/30/2011


Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, 6/30/2014

Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, 6/30/2015

Board Certifications

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, American Board of Pediatrics

Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics

All Publications

The Stanford acute heart failure symptom score for patients hospitalized with heart failure. The Journal of heart and lung transplantation : the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation Almond, C. S., Chen, S., Dykes, J. C., Kwong, J., Burstein, D. S., Rosenthal, D. N., Kipps, A. K., Teuteberg, J., Murray, J. M., Kaufman, B. D., Hollander, S. A., Profita, E., Yarlagadda, V. Y., Sacks, L. D., Chen, C. 2020


BACKGROUND: Currently, there are no simple tools to evaluate the acute heart failure (HF) symptom severity in children hospitalized with acute decompensated HF (ADHF). We sought to develop an inpatient HF score (HFS) that could be used as a clinical tool and for clinical trials.METHODS: Pediatric HF clinicians at Stanford reviewed the limitations of existing HFSs, which include lack of calibration to the inpatient setting, omission of gastrointestinal symptoms, need for multiple age-based tools, and scores that prioritize treatment intensity over patient symptoms. To address these, we developed an acute HFS corresponding to the 3 cardinal symptoms of HF: difficulty with breathing, feeding, and activity. The score was iteratively improved over a 3-year pilot phase until no further changes were made. The inter-rater reliability (IRR) across a range of providers was assessed using the final version. Peak HFSs were analyzed against mortality and length of stay (LOS) for all pediatric HF discharges between July and October 2019.RESULTS: The final HFS was a 4-point ordinal severity score for each of the 3 symptom domains (total score 0-12). Among clinicians who scored 12 inpatients with ADHF simultaneously, the intraclass correlation (ICC) was 0.94 (respiratory ICC=0.89, feeding ICC=0.85, and activity ICC=0.80). Score trajectory reflected our clinical impression of patient response to HF therapies across a range of HF syndromes including 1- and 2-ventricle heart disease and reduced or preserved ejection fraction. Among the 28 patients hospitalized during a 3-months period (N = 28), quartiles of peak score were associated with LOS (p < 0.01) and in-hospital mortality (p < 0.01): HFS 0 to 3 (median LOS of 5 days and mortality of 0%), HFS 4 to 6 (median LOS of 18 days and mortality of 0%), HFS 5 to 9 (median LOS of 29 days and mortality of 23%), and HFS 10 to 12 (median LOS of 121 days and mortality of 50%).CONCLUSION: This simple acute HFS may be a useful tool to quantify and monitor day-to-day HF symptoms in children hospitalized with ADHF regardless of etiology or age group. The score has excellent IRR across provider levels and is associated with major hospital outcomes supporting its clinical validity. Validation in a multicenter cohort is warranted.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.healun.2020.08.002

View details for PubMedID 33032871

Integration of Pediatric Palliative Care Into Cardiac Intensive Care: A Champion-Based Model. Pediatrics Moynihan, K. M., Snaman, J. M., Kaye, E. C., Morrison, W. E., DeWitt, A. G., Sacks, L. D., Thompson, J. L., Hwang, J. M., Bailey, V., Lafond, D. A., Wolfe, J., Blume, E. D. 2019


Integration of pediatric palliative care (PPC) into management of children with serious illness and their families is endorsed as the standard of care. Despite this, timely referral to and integration of PPC into the traditionally cure-oriented cardiac ICU (CICU) remains variable. Despite dramatic declines in mortality in pediatric cardiac disease, key challenges confront the CICU community. Given increasing comorbidities, technological dependence, lengthy recurrent hospitalizations, and interventions risking significant morbidity, many patients in the CICU would benefit from PPC involvement across the illness trajectory. Current PPC delivery models have inherent disadvantages, insufficiently address the unique aspects of the CICU setting, place significant burden on subspecialty PPC teams, and fail to use CICU clinician skill sets. We therefore propose a novel conceptual framework for PPC-CICU integration based on literature review and expert interdisciplinary, multi-institutional consensus-building. This model uses interdisciplinary CICU-based champions who receive additional PPC training through courses and subspecialty rotations. PPC champions strengthen CICU PPC provision by (1) leading PPC-specific educational training of CICU staff; (2) liaising between CICU and PPC, improving use of support staff and encouraging earlier subspecialty PPC involvement in complex patients' management; and (3) developing and implementing quality improvement initiatives and CICU-specific PPC protocols. Our PPC-CICU integration model is designed for adaptability within institutional, cultural, financial, and logistic constraints, with potential applications in other pediatric settings, including ICUs. Although the PPC champion framework offers several unique advantages, barriers to implementation are anticipated and additional research is needed to investigate the model's feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy.

View details for DOI 10.1542/peds.2019-0160

View details for PubMedID 31366685

Vasoplegia after pediatric cardiac transplantation in patients supported with a continuous flow ventricular assist device JOURNAL OF THORACIC AND CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY Sacks, L. D., Hollander, S. A., Zhang, Y., Ryan, K. R., Ford, M. A., Maeda, K., Murray, J. M., Almond, C. S., Kwiatkowski, D. M. 2019; 157 (6): 243340
Vasoplegia after pediatric cardiac transplantation in patients supported with a continuous flow ventricular assist device. The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery Sacks, L. D., Hollander, S. A., Zhang, Y., Ryan, K. R., Ford, M. A., Maeda, K., Murray, J. M., Almond, C. S., Kwiatkowski, D. M. 2019


OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between continuous flow ventricular assist devices and the incidence of vasoplegia following orthotopic heart transplant in children. Moreover, to propose a novel clinical definition of vasoplegia for use in pediatric populations.METHODS: This is a single-center, retrospective cohort study set in the cardiovascular intensive care unit of a tertiary children's hospital. All patients aged 3years and older who underwent orthotopic heart transplant at Stanford Universitybetween April 1, 2014, and July 31, 2017, were included. Vasoplegia was defined by the use of vasoconstrictive medication, diastolic hypotension, preserved systolic heart function, and absence of infection or right atrial pressure or central venous pressure <5mm Hg.RESULTS: Of 44 eligible patients, 21 were supported using a continuous flow ventricular assist device. Following heart transplant, 14 patients (32%) developed vasoplegia by the study definition. Development of vasoplegia was associated with pretransplant use of a continuous flow ventricular assist device (52% vs 13%) with a relative risk of 4.02 (95% confidence interval, 1.30-12.45; P=.009). No other variables were predictive of vasoplegia in univariable analysis. Presence of vasoplegia was not associated with adverse outcomes, although there were trends towards higher incidence of acute kidney injury and increased length of hospital stays.CONCLUSIONS: Children receiving continuous flow ventricular assist device support are at increased risk for vasoplegia following orthotopic heart transplant, using a novel definition of vasoplegia. Anticipation of this complication will allow for prompt intervention, thereby minimizing hemodynamic instability and impact on patient outcomes.

View details for PubMedID 30929985

Virtual reality in pediatric cardiology: hype or hope for the future? Current opinion in cardiology Sacks, L. D., Axelrod, D. M. 2019


In the field of pediatric cardiology, a sub-specialty that relies on an understanding of complex three-dimensional structures, virtual reality technology may represent a new and exciting tool for both practitioners and patients. Here, the current medical and surgical applications of virtual reality are reviewed and the potential for future applications explored.Multiple centers have begun to develop software designed to bring virtual reality technology to bear on congenital heart disease. These efforts have focused on surgical preparation, on education of medical providers, and on preparation of patients and their family members for cardiac interventions. Though relatively little statistical evidence for benefit has been generated to date, those studies currently available suggest that virtual reality may provide a significant benefit in all three of these aspects of medical care.The immersive nature of virtual reality meshes well with the learning styles of adult practitioners and promises to be a powerful tool for both pediatric cardiologists and the patients with whose care they are entrusted. Though additional studies are clearly needed, this technology promises to improve the field's ability to prepare providers and patients alike for challenge of treating congenital heart disease.

View details for DOI 10.1097/HCO.0000000000000694

View details for PubMedID 31644471

THE DEVELOPMENT AND EFFICACY OF A PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY FELLOWSHIP ONLINE PREPARATORY COURSE Motonaga, K., Sacks, L., Olson, I., Balasubramanian, S., Chen, S., Peng, L., Feinstein, J., Silverman, N., Hanley, F., Axelrod, D., Krawczeski, C., Ceresnak, S. ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2018: 2622
Advances in Pediatric Cardiology Boot Camp: Boot Camp Training Promotes Fellowship Readiness and Enables Retention of Knowledge. Pediatric cardiology Ceresnak, S. R., Axelrod, D. M., Sacks, L. D., Motonaga, K. S., Johnson, E. R., Krawczeski, C. D. 2017


We previously demonstrated that a pediatric cardiology boot camp can improve knowledge acquisition and decrease anxiety for trainees. We sought to determine if boot camp participants entered fellowship with a knowledge advantage over fellows who did not attend and if there was moderate-term retention of that knowledge. A 2-day training program was provided for incoming pediatric cardiology fellows from eight fellowship programs in April 2016. Hands-on, immersive experiences and simulations were provided in all major areas of pediatric cardiology. Knowledge-based examinations were completed by each participant prior to boot camp (PRE), immediately post-training (POST), and prior to the start of fellowship in June 2016 (F/U). A control group of fellows who did not attend boot camp also completed an examination prior to fellowship (CTRL). Comparisons of scores were made for individual participants and between participants and controls. A total of 16 participants and 16 control subjects were included. Baseline exam scores were similar between participants and controls (PRE 4711% vs. CTRL 5210%; p=0.22). Participants' knowledge improved with boot camp training (PRE 4711% vs. POST 708%; p<0.001) and there was excellent moderate-term retention of the information taught at boot camp (PRE 4711% vs. F/U 718%; p<0.001). Testing done at the beginning of fellowship demonstrated significantly better scores in participants versus controls (F/U 718% vs. CTRL 5210%; p<0.001). Boot camp participants demonstrated a significant improvement in basic cardiology knowledge after the training program and had excellent moderate-term retention of that knowledge. Participants began fellowship with a larger fund of knowledge than those fellows who did not attend.

View details for DOI 10.1007/s00246-016-1560-y

View details for PubMedID 28161811

Toddler With Hemoptysis. Clinical pediatrics McClary, A. C., Sacks, L. D., Purohit, P. J., Hussain, E. 2017: 9922816684618-?

View details for DOI 10.1177/0009922816684618

View details for PubMedID 28084086

Regulation of myosin expression during myotome formation DEVELOPMENT Sacks, L. D., Cann, G. M., Nikovits, W., Conlon, S., Espinoza, N. R., Stockdale, F. E. 2003; 130 (15): 3391-3402


The first skeletal muscle fibers to form in vertebrate embryos appear in the somitic myotome. PCR analysis and in situ hybridization with isoform-specific probes reveal differences in the temporal appearance and spatial distribution of fast and slow myosin heavy chain mRNA transcripts within myotomal fibers. Embryonic fast myosin heavy chain was the first isoform expressed, followed rapidly by slow myosin heavy chains 1 and 3, with slow myosin heavy chain 2 appearing several hours later. Neonatal fast myosin heavy chain is not expressed in myotomal fibers. Although transcripts of embryonic fast myosin heavy chain were always distributed throughout the length of myotomal fibers, the mRNA for each slow myosin heavy chain isoform was initially restricted to the centrally located myotomal fiber nuclei. As development proceeded, slow myosin heavy chain transcripts spread throughout the length of myotomal fibers in order of their appearance. Explants of segments from embryos containing neural tube, notochord and somites 7-10, when incubated overnight, become innervated by motor neurons from the neural tube and express all four myosin heavy chain genes. Removal of the neural tube and/or notochord from explants prior to incubation or addition of d-tubocurare to intact explants prevented expression of slow myosin chain 2 but expression of genes encoding the other myosin heavy chain isoforms was unaffected. Thus, expression of slow myosin heavy chain 2 is dependent on functional innervation, whereas expression of embryonic fast and slow myosin heavy chain 1 and 3 are innervation independent. Implantation of sonic-hedgehog-soaked beads in vivo increased the accumulation of both fast and slow myosin heavy chain transcripts, as well as overall myotome size and individual fiber size, but had no effect on myotomal fiber phenotype. Transcripts encoding embryonic fast myosin heavy chain first appear ventrolaterally in the myotome, whereas slow myosin heavy chain transcripts first appear in fibers positioned midway between the ventrolateral and dorsomedial lips of the myotome. Therefore, models of epaxial myotome formation must account for the positioning of the oldest fibers in the more ventral-lateral region of the myotome and the youngest fibers in the dorsomedial region.

View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.00541

View details for Web of Science ID 000184830700004

View details for PubMedID 12810587