Transition Announcement

The Heart Institute Diagnostic Lab at Cincinnati Children’s was established in 2009 and has provided viral PCR and genetic testing for DNA mutations associated with cardiovascular disease since 2010. Current testing services include molecular analysis of viruses known to cause myocarditis or organ rejection in patients with heart transplantation and sequencing of genes associated with cardiac diseases. These clinical assays are an important part of the multidisciplinary services at Cincinnati Children's that provide world-class care for children visiting the Heart Institute.

Beginning July 1, 2017, these critical cardiovascular disease assays will be transferred to two well established CAP/CLIA-certified laboratories within Cincinnati Children's.

  • The hereditary heart disease assays (genetic testing) will become part of the extensive portfolio of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory. Wenying Zhang, MD, PhD, the current clinical director of the Heart Institute Diagnostic Lab, will continue to provide her expertise to pediatric cardiology patients as a director of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory.
  • All viral PCR analysis will be performed by the Molecular Pathology (PCR) Laboratory at Cincinnati Children's under the direction of David Witte, MD. The Molecular Pathology (PCR) Lab has offered viral PCR services for over 20 years, including the heart PCR studies.

Viral PCR Analysis

Our laboratory offers state-of-the-art molecular diagnostic testing for cardiovascular diseases. In 1986, the identification of Coxsackievirus B in the hearts of patients with myocarditis or dilated cardiomyopathy was reported. Subsequently, adenovirus was identified as another virus that is commonly found in the hearts of patients with these diseases, as well as a cause of organ rejection in patients with lung and/or heart transplants. More recently, we have shown that the predominant virus causing myocarditis and heart transplant rejection has again changed with parvovirus B19 now being most common. Our laboratory updates testing to reflect worldwide changes in viral infection. For example, we have already added PCR for hepatitis C virus, an emerging cause of myocarditis in Southeast Asia.

We offer rapid molecular testing of heart tissue, lung tissue, and other organ specimens and bodily fluids for viruses. These tests are focused specifically for viruses identified as causing heart disease in children and adults, as well as in the fetus. However, they have a wide range of other clinical applications. All testing is performed using PCR technology, thus providing optimal sensitivity and specificity.

Genetic Testing

The Heart Institute Diagnostic Lab provides genetic testing services for cardiovascular disease.  Testing is available for connective tissue disorders, aortopathy, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, congenital heart disease, neuromuscular disease, and genetic syndromes including Barth syndrome, Holt-Oram syndrome, Marfan syndrome and heterotaxy syndrome. 

Heart Institute Diagnostic Lab Leadership

Wenying Zhang, MD, PhD
Clinical Director

Contact the lab:

Phone: 513-803-1751
Fax: 513-803-1748
Email: HeartDx@cchmc.org