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Emory Announces New Director of Complex Coronary and Cardiac Intervention

William Nicholson, MD, returns to Emory Healthcare


William Nicholson, MD

For Dr. Nicholson, an interventional cardiologist who specializes in complex procedures, returning to Emory Healthcare was a natural choice since he completed his general cardiology and interventional cardiology fellowships at Emory University. Now, as Associate Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and Director of Complex Coronary and Cardiac Intervention at Emory Healthcare, he's returned to help shape and grow the field of interventional cardiology.

We sat down with Dr. Nicholson to learn more about why he came to Emory and his vision for the future.

Why did you decide to come back to Emory?

I had the privilege of completing my fellowship at Emory University, as did my father, and I have very fond memories of my time here. After my fellowship, I went back home to Pennsylvania to work alongside my dad. Together, we built a well-known practice and our Interventional Cardiology Program became nationally recognized. I was also able to develop a Carotid Stenting program, Structural Heart Program, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Program, and a Complex Coronary Intervention Program.

I've always had an interest to return to academics. As my father was winding down his practice, coming back to Emory was a logical choice. Angioplasty was born and invented here. And the biggest names in interventional cardiology have all worked here. Returning gives me the opportunity to continue my work in interventional cardiology and shape the future of the field. I'll have the chance to lead research projects and train new cardiologists.

Emory also has a strong reputation for collaboration with providers across disciplines, including research. This allows us to come together to develop ideas to make procedures easier and more predictable. It's very intellectually stimulating.

What accomplishments are you most excited to bring to Emory Heart & Vascular Center?

In Pennsylvania, we developed an efficiently run practice that saw a large group of patients from referring physicians. We worked with more than 500 interventional cardiologists on complex interventions, sharing our process, technique and approach. \Ale leveraged expertise across the field and acted as a sounding board for ideas and development. I'm looking forward to continuing to partner with other providers to share knowledge and continue to grow the field of interventional cardiology.

What are your goals for the Complex Cardiac Interventional Program at Emory Healthcare?

Emory has a strong reputation in many cardiac specialties. The Structural Heart Program is one of the best in the world. My goal for the Complex High-Risk Interventional Procedures (CHIP) Program is to be a regional or national center for complex diseases. That will allow us to take patients with complex diseases and offer hope.

Our Complex Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program will be one of three in the United States. It's a very distinguished position to be able to supply cases and train future complex operators to continue to lead the field. This is slated to start in July 2021.

My goal is also for Emory to become a useful resource to physicians in the Southeast and across the country, providing support, insight and skill development. This will allow other providers to develop their own procedures and will help us gain their trust - so when they do have a complex interventional case, they feel comfortable and confident sending patients to us.

Why is it important to collaborate with other interventional cardiologists?

The field of interventional cardiology is rapidly growing and expanding. As the population is aging, we will see more and more complex cases.

Providers will need more than general interventional training. By offering a fellowship and partnering vvith operators around the country, we'll be able to help advance everyone's skill set. There are many different ways we'll be able to come together and share knowledge including hosting conferences and proctoring.

Proctoring is a little more challenging because of COVID-19. That's why we're pouring resources into the idea of teleproctoring, which will allow us to connect with providers across the country without the need for travel. vVhile it was already in the works before the pandemic, COVID-19 certainly served as a catalyst. We've expedited this process so we'll be able to interact with a number of sites in real time. We can talk to them, see what's going on and give or take directions.

What are your goals for teaching at Emory? 

It was a real highlight for me to be able to teach and work with fellows. I was also honored to work under Dr. Douglas, one of the world's leading interventional cardiologists. He taught me so much, including the idea that by teaching and sharing our knowledge, we can affect thousands more Jives than we could ever impact on our own. And that's always stayed with me. I can't have that same impact in private practice, as much as I'd like that. At Emory, I can help train and grow a new generation of providers with the skillset necessary to help save more lives.

What advances and innovations do you see in the future for complex interventional cardiology?

I see complex, high-risk interventional procedures becoming a subspecialty in interventional cardiology. There's a small group of people leading the way today, and I'm proud to be part of that community. I look forward to continuing to contribute to white papers, publications and meetings that will help advance and grow the field.

Reviewing, researching and developing new, innovative technology is another interest of mine. I've worked with many companies, including big firms and smaller start-ups, to review new technology and equipment and provide insight or feedback on how it would work or what needs to be improved. We'll continue to see more and more exciting developments with technology for CHIP procedures.

To refer your patient to Emory Healthcare's Complex Coronary Program, call 404-778-5050 or visit

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