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Dr. Delfin Rodriguez Leyva

Dr. Delfin Rodriguez Leyva

Principal Investigator
Translational Cardiology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences

Associate Professor
Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Cardiology Department of physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba

Internal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, “Mariana Grajales C” University of Medicine, Holguin, Cuba.

Research Focus

Dr. Rodriguez main objective is to facilitate the translation of basic cardiovascular research into the clinical environment. He is convinced of the necessity of providing more effective diagnosis, treatment and intervention to cardiac patients by moving experimental discoveries faster into the real world of cardiovascular care.

Specific areas of research.

1. Dr. Rodriguez’s research focuses on the use of cardiovascular noninvasive diagnosis to stratify the risk of patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) for developing important cardiac arrhythmias A susceptibility to cardiac arrhythmias may explain the increased risk for cardiovascular events in patients with CAD and PAD. His research has been able to identify the incidence and type of arrhythmias in PAD patients and it has stablished their relationship with vascular abnormalities.

The noninvasive assessment includes the use of clinical variables, standard electrocardiographic variables at rest, during exercise and post-exercise. The use of Pulse Wave Analysis (PWA) is been also an extraordinary tool that has introduced a novel area of investigation in his research. Variables like age, pre existing coronary disease, PR segment duration, QRS complex duration, QTc interval, Augmentation Index (AI) amongst others have been found of importance when stratifying the risk for cardiac arrhythmias in PAD and CAD patients.

PAD, a disorder that obstructs the blood supply to the lower or upper extremities, is present in ~20% of people over 70 years of age and up to 60% in those over 85 years. This disease shares most of its risk factors with those related to coronary heart disease. Its prevalence is greater in men than women and both prevalence and incidence increase with increasing age. PAD is 2-3x more common among smokers than non-smokers. Diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, higher levels of C-reactive protein and increased levels of fibrinogen and hyperhomocysteinemia have been associated with PAD. Patients with PAD have extensive atherosclerosis. There is a prevalence of 40% – 60% for coronary artery disease (CAD) and cerebral artery disease in this population. The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is increased 4-5 times in patients with PAD with higher rates of myocardial infarction and stroke.

In patients with CAD, cardiac arrhythmias contribute to an increase in cardiac events rates and mortality risk. Because of the overlap between CAD and PAD, it is reasonable to propose that cardiac arrhythmias may also be prevalent in patients with PAD. PAD alters heart rate variability in patients with concomitant CAD, hypertensive heart disease and different degrees of heart failure. However, a direct study of arrhythmias in patients with PAD has not been reported. The objective of Dr. Rodriguez research is to determine the incidence and type of cardiac arrhythmias in patients with PAD and to identify factors associated with PAD that may pre-dispose these patients to arrhythmias.

Dr. Rodriguez advocates for the use of simple, repetitive, non expensive cardiovascular variables for stratification of the risk for cardiac arrhythmias in patients with PAD and CAD. These tools should be accessible not only to specialist but also to primary care medicine providers.

2. Dr. Rodriguez has collaborated and collaborates with Dr. Grant Pierce in the area of “Nutrition as vehicle for cardiovascular translational research” stablishing the effects of flaxseed as a potent intervention to control high blood pressure. Flaxseed contains ω-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber that together provide benefits to patients with cardiovascular disease. In this research flaxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention. Dr. Rodriguez has also collaborated on basic and clinical research with Dr. Naranjan Dhalla, Dr. Bram Ranjiawan, Dr. Pram Tappia and Dr. Randy Guzman.

3. Dr. Rodriguez has also great interest in the translation of the new wearables devices into the clinical cardiology area. His previous research also includes the design of the national cardiology network of Cuba and the development of the first offline stress echocardiography system implanted in Cuba. Other areas of interest and present and past research include the use of high resolution ultrasound techniques for the diagnosis of endothelial dysfunction.

Dr. Delfin Rodriguez Leyva

Dr. Rodriguez was born in Holguin, Cuba, obtained a Bachelor in Sciences Degree at Pre-University on Exact Sciences Institute “Jose Marti” in Holguin, Cuba, and graduated from the Faculty of Medical Sciences “Mariana Grajales Coello” and Higher Institute of Medical Sciences of Santiago de Cuba with a MD in 1996. He completed a residency in Cardiology at the University of Medical Sciences of Holguin from 1996-2000. Subsequently, he completed his Ph.D (cardiovascular medicine) at the Higher Institute of Medical Sciences of Havana, Cuba. In 2004 he received a Second Degree Specialization in Critical Medicine.

Dr. Rodriguez joined the Section of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Medical Sciences of Holguin in 2000. From 2000 to 2015 he was faculty member as assistant and associate professor of Internal Medicine. In 2015, Dr. Rodriguez was appointed as Professor of Internal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine. Also in 2015, Dr. Rodriguez was appointed as Associated Professor of the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology and the Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Cardiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba. He is also Principal Investigator of the Cardiology Translational Program as a member of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences.

Dr. Rodriguez is a Cardiologist and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and Fellow of the American Heart Association.

For more information, please contact:

Delfin Rodriguez Leyva
Rm. 3426, St. Boniface Hospital Albrectsen Research Centre


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