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Sari D. Holmes, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:


Additional Title:

Managing Editor, Innovations


Baltimore, MD

Phone (Primary):

(410) 328-4493

Education and Training

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD                    

PhD in Medical Psychology                                                                          2009

“B-Type Natriuretic Peptide Reactivity to Mental Stress and Exercise: Role of Obesity and Hemodynamics”

Advisor: David S. Krantz, PhD


MS in Medical Psychology                                                                           2005

“Depression, Body Mass, and Left Ventricular Mass: Analysis of Archival Data from CARDIA”

Advisor: David S. Krantz, PhD


University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC                                                           

BA in Psychology (Graduated with Distinction & Highest Honors)            2000

Advisor: Susan Girdler, PhD


Over the course of the past two decades, my research interests have focused on examining factors associated with cardiovascular disease and strategies to reduce risk. In particular, psychosocial mechanisms for cardiovascular disease and risk reduction have been of interest. During the last ten years, I have collaborated with clinicians on research in the cardiovascular field that has spanned numerous topics, including a large base of experience in cardiac surgery research. My training as a medical psychologist has prepared me to develop research projects with methodological and statistical rigor. The expertise I have developed in statistical methodology and the application of these methods to projects in cardiovascular research, have led to appointments as Deputy Statistical Editor and Editorial Board Member, as well as numerous publications in internationally recognized journals on cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. In my role as Manager of Biostatistics and Research, I have coordinated an academic program of research in cardiac surgery at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute with successful scientific productivity and I have coordinated the establishment of an academic program of research across the entirety of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute. I utilize my experience in collaborating with physicians to ensure research questions are well-defined, data sources are combined adequately, and the appropriate statistical methodology is applied. I provide guidance on acquisition and merging of data sources, the interpretation of data analyses, and written reports for academic submission, as necessary.

As a collaborator to Dr. Niv Ad, an international expert in the field of surgical ablation for atrial fibrillation, our work has contributed to the knowledge base in this relatively new area of cardiac surgery. I assisted with the research efforts to maintain a unique long-term prospective data registry on patients who had surgical ablation and provided academic support by analyzing data from this registry, interpreting results, writing academic publications, and creating presentations to be presented at scientific meetings around the world. Results from our research on surgical ablation for atrial fibrillation have consistently found that the procedure is safe and effective for treating atrial fibrillation and reduces the risk of stroke for these patients. Our work in this area has been presented around the world at scientific conferences and has had a substantial influence on the performance of surgical ablation, informing surgeon decision-making practices and expectations for long-term results after the procedure.

A substantial focus of the research efforts in cardiac surgery was to implement quality initiatives to improve the clinical care and outcomes for patients. In my role as a research methodologist and biostatistician, I assisted in designing prospective randomized studies and retrospective observational studies to determine the impact of clinical care changes on patient outcomes. In addition, I provided academic support for data analysis and publication efforts. Our work demonstrated that implementation of evidence-based clinical care changes, particularly to glucose management and blood product transfusion after cardiac surgery, was associated with improvement in patient outcomes and reduction of costs.

As a research psychologist, a substantial focus of my investigator-initiated research has been on examining health-related quality of life and other psychosocial constructs as outcomes after cardiac surgery as a complement to the work focused on clinical outcomes. A major achievement in this area of research was the prospective research study I designed and implemented as the Principal Investigator to examine the psychometric properties of a questionnaire we adapted to assess patient expectations after cardiac surgery. Previously, no other survey measured expectations specific to the cardiac surgery population. For this study I was actively involved in every step of the research process, from research design to data collection, as well as data analysis and writing for publication. Our work established that the questionnaire had acceptable psychometric properties and found that negative expectations had a detrimental impact on recovery and quality of life after cardiac surgery.

Research/Clinical Keywords

cardiac surgery; atrial fibrillation; CABG; health-related quality of life

Highlighted Publications

Ghoreishi, M., Sundt, T.M., Cameron, D.E., Holmes, S.D., Roselli, E.E., Pasrija, C., Gammie, J.S., Patel, H.J., Bavaria, J.E., Svensson, L.G., Taylor, B.S. (2019). Factors associated with acute stroke after type A aortic dissection repair: An analysis of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Adult Cardiac Surgery Database. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, In Press.

Desai, S.P., Henry, L.L., Holmes, S.D., Hunt, S.L., Martin, C.T., Hebsur, S., & Ad, N. (2012). Strict Versus Liberal Target Range for Perioperative Glucose in Patients Undergoing Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting: A Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 143(2), 318-325.

Ad, N., Henry, L., Hunt, S., Holmes, S.D. (2012). Do We Increase the Operative Risk by Adding the Cox Maze III Procedure to Aortic Valve Replacement and Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery? J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 143(4), 936-944.

Ad, N., Holmes, S.D., Patel, J., Pritchard, G., Shuman, D.J., Halpin, L. (2016). Comparison of EuroSCORE II, Original EuroSCORE, and STS Risk Score in Cardiac Surgery Patients. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 102(2), 573-579.

Ad, N., Damiano, R.J., Badhwar, V., Calkins, H., La Meir, M., Nitta, T., Holmes, S.D., Weinstein, A.A., Gillinov, A.M. (2017). Expert Consensus Guidelines: Examining Surgical Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 153(6), 1330-1354.

Ad, N., Holmes, S.D., Massimiano, P.S., Pritchard, G., Stone, L.E., Henry, L. (2013). The Effect of the Cox-maze Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation Concomitant to Mitral and Tricuspid Valve Surgery. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 146(6), 1426-1434.

Ad, N., Holmes, S.D., Massimiano, P.S., Rongione, A.J., Fornaresio, L.M., Fitzgerald, D. (2017). The Use of del Nido Cardioplegia in Adult Cardiac Surgery: A Prospective Randomized Trial. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 155(3), 1011-1018.

Holmes, S.D., Fornaresio, L.M., Miller, C.E., Shuman, D.J., Ad, N. (2016). Development of the Cardiac Surgery Patient Expectations Questionnaire (C-SPEQ). Qual Life Res, 25(8), 2077-2086.


Additional Publication Citations

Research Interests

Effects of stress on cardiovascular events and risk

Group differences in cardiovascular responses to mental stress

Psychological and behavioral risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease

Behavioral mechanisms to explain the excess cardiovascular risk from depression

Novel physiological markers of cardiovascular risk and role of psychological/behavioral factors

Awards and Affiliations


2008-2009                         Henry M. Jackson Foundation Fellowship in the Biomedical Sciences

2004-2006, 2007-2008       NHLBI Pre-doctoral Fellow (Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine)

2004                                 Society of Behavioral Medicine Meritorious Student Poster Award

2004                                 American Psychosomatic Society Young Scholar Award

2000                                 Highest honors for Undergraduate Honors Thesis, “The influence of psychosocial factors and gender on clinic blood pressure levels”

Inducted 1998                   Psi-Chi at UNC-Chapel Hill



2019-Present                      ISMICS, Member

2015-Present                      JTCVS, Deputy Statistical Editor

2015-Present                      Innovations, Editorial Board Member

2003-Present                      American Psychosomatic Society, Member

8/2005-8/2006                    APA Division 38 Student Council Co-Chair

8/2005-8/2006                    APA DSRN Division 38 Representative

2005-2006                          APA Division 38 Student Member

2005-2006                          American Psychological Association, Member

Grants and Contracts

2010               Recipient of Inova Health System Seed Grant Award for “Assessment of Cardiac Surgery Patient Expectations and Relation to Quality of Life and Outcomes One Year Following Surgery” ($10,300)

2010               Co-recipient of George Mason University and Inova Collaborative Seed Grant Award for “Cardiovascular Reactivity to Mental Stress in Coronary Artery Bypass and Maze Surgery Patients” ($49,506)

1999               Recipient of the Harriet L. Rheingold Award and the Peele Award for undergraduate research, administered by the UNC-CH Department of Psychology, to support Undergraduate Honors Thesis research project

1999               Recipient of the James Henley Thompson and Evelyn Barnett Thompson Undergraduate Research Fund Award, administered by the UNC-CH Honors Office, to support Undergraduate Honors Thesis research project


Links of Interest

Dr. Holmes serves as the Managing Editor for Innovations: Technology and Techniques in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery. It is the first journal whose main mission is to disseminate information specifically about advances in technology and techniques that lead to less invasive treatment of cardiothoracic and vascular disease. It delivers cutting edge original research, reviews, essays, case reports, and editorials from the pioneers and experts in the field of minimally invasive cardiothoracic and vascular disease, including biomedical engineers.