Vascular Medicine Institute
University of Pittsburgh
BST E1240
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-383-5853
Fax: 412-648-5980

John J. Pacella, MD, MS



John Pacella, MD, MS

Assistant Professor of Medicine,
Division of Cardiology

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
UPMC Presbyterian, Suite A-350
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: 412-647-5840
Fax: 412-647-8117
Email: pacellajj@upmc.edu

Assistant: April Youschak
Email: youschakal@upmc.edu

UPMC Profile

Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics



Dr. John Pacella received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering with a biomedical emphasis from Carnegie Mellon University in 1990. After earning a Master’s in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University in 1992, Dr. Pacella pursued a medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. He completed fellowships in cardiovascular disease (2004) and interventional cardiology (2006) at the University of Pittsburgh Cardiovascular Institute before he accepted his current position as an Assistant Professor in the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine.

Dr. Pacella is a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Echocardiography, and the Society for Coronary Angiography and Intervention. He holds specialty certification with the American Board of Internal Medicine/Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease and Interventional Cardiology. He has been honored with many awards, such as the National Institute of Health K08 Career Development Award, the National Institute of Health Loan Repayment Award for Research, and the American Society of Echocardiography Young Investigator Award, amongst others.

Research Insterests

a. Studying the microvascular mechanisms of drag reducing polymers. This involves microvessel pressure measurement with the servonull technique, velocimetry to detect RBC velocity and flow, cell free layer (on the luminal side of blood vessels and that part of the vessel where there are no red blood cells, only plasma) assessment to determine red blood cell distribution and plasma skimming, and white blood cell endothelial cell interactions.

b. Studying microembolization and no reflow, which occurs during coronary stenting. This process involves the iatrogenic release of atherosclerotic debris from the vessel wall downstream into the microcirculation.

c. Studying the microvascular mechanisms of microbubble facilitated sonothrombolysis. This involves the application of ultrasound to acoustically active bubbles which resonate in the vicinity of blood clot to cause mechanical disruption and clot lysis.

d. Studies involving the endothelial glycocalyx: The endothelial glycocalyx (GC) is located on the luminal side of the endothelial cells and consist of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans, glyco-proteins and glycolipids. In healthy vessels the endothelial GC comprises a measurable volume, determines vascular permeability, attenuates blood cell–vessel wall interactions, mediates shear stress sensing, enables balanced signaling, and fulfills a vasculoprotective role.

e. Hemodynamics: Using venous compliance to estimate filling pressures. We are using ultrasound to assess the compliance of the internal jugular vein as a tool to noninvasively rule out elevated right heart filling pressures.

f. Interventional cardiology: Studying angioplasty balloon pressurevolume relation before, during, and after vessel wall contact.