Cynthia Dougherty, PhD, ARNP, FAHA, FAAN

Cynthia Dougherty, PhD, ARNP, FAHA, FAAN
Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems
Box 357266
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-7266
Phone: (206) 221-7927


My program of research is focused in 4 major areas related to cardiovascular (CV) disorders, cardiac arrhythmias, and heart failure: 1) advanced cardiac disease management, 2) psychological and behavioral interventions, 3) exercise and activity interventions, and 4) end of life care care in advanced heart disease. I am interested in working with students who are interested in intervention research, CV disease, cardiac nursing, or developing evidence for practice in CV disorders. Because we have several funded clinical trials of interventions, we are interested in identifying students who will want to get PhD dissertation research or DNP capstone projects from the data we have already collected in our research and clinical practice. Students should also be interested in CV disease diagnosis, management, and/or treatment. We are also interested in working with post-doctoral fellows or new faculty interested in these substantive areas.


My current teaching has been in both the PhD and the DNP programs, including courses in research methods, clinical trial designs, developing and testing nursing therapeutics, appraisal and translation of evidence for practice, and advanced pharmacology and pathophysiology of cardiovascular disorders.

Practice, Service, Community Involvement

I am a certified and licensed adult nurse practitioner working in the Hospital Medicine and Specialty Service, Division of Cardiology, at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System-Seattle. I am part of a team of Electrophysiologists and nurse practitioners who are responsible for the implantation and management of cardiac pacemakers and implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICD)s. I am also certified and licensed as an Adult CNS in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. I am an active volunteer for the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on CV and Stroke Nursing, serving on several national committees including the Complex Cardiovascular Disease and Program Committees.

Current Publications

  • Dougherty CM, Thompson EA, Kudenchuk PJ. Development and Testing of an Intervention to Improve Outcomes for Partners following Receipt of an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) in the Patient. Advances in Nursing Science, 2012, 35(4):359-377.
  • Flo GF, Glenny R, Kudenchuk PJ, Dougherty CM. Development and safety of an exercise testing protocol for patients with primary or secondary ICD indication. Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal, 2012;23(3): 16-22.
  • Zarraga IGE, Dougherty CM, MacMurdy KS, Raitt, MH. The effect of spironolactone on ventricular tachyarrhythmias in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators. Circulation: Arrhythmias and Electrophysiology, 2012, 5:739-747.
  • Dunbar SB, Dougherty CM, Sears SF, Carroll DL, Goldstein NE, Mark DB, McDaniel G, Pressler SJ, Schron E, Wang P, Zeigler VL; on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, and Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young. Educational and psychological interventions to improve outcomes for recipients of implantable cardioverter defibrillators and their families: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 2012;126;.(17):2146-72.
  • Nguyen HQ, Steele BG, Dougherty CM, Burr RL. Physical activity patterns of patients with cardiopulmonary illness. Arch Phys Med Rehabilitation, 2012, 93(12):2360-66.
  • Dougherty CM, Steele BR, Hunziker J. Testing an intervention to improve function in advanced cardiopulmonary illness. J of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, 2011, 31:35-41.
  • Dougherty CM, Glenny R, Kudenchuk PJ, Malinick TM, Flo GR. Testing an Exercise Intervention to Improve Aerobic Conditioning and Autonomic Function After an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD). Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 2010, 33: 1-8.
  • Dougherty CM & Thompson EA. Intimate partner physical and mental health after sudden cardiac arrest and receipt of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Research in Nursing and Health, 2009, 11;32(4):432-442.

Current Research Projects

  • Principal Investigator: Patient and Intimate Partner Interventions to Improve Health Outcomes After an ICD. National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 1R01 HL 086580-01A1.
  • Principal Investigator: Anti-Arrhythmic Effects of Exercise After an ICD. National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, R01 HL 084550-01A1.
  • Principal Investigator: (with E. Wieljath and T. Goldman) The effect of exercise on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in patients with an ICD. Research Intramural Funding Program, University of Washington School of Nursing.
  • Co-Principal Investigator (with Dr. Ardith Doorenbos): Goals of care intervention in advanced heart failure. National Palliative Care Research Center.

Pending Research Projects

  • Principal Investigator: Interventions to Prevent PTSD after an ICD Shock. NIH, NHLBI, submission on 6/5/13. Amount: $2,400,000. Co-Investigators: Drs. Elaine Thompson, Peter Kudenchuk, Samuel Sears.
  • Co-Investigator (Fan-PI). Pilot study of an exercise intervention for acute respiratory hospitalizations (SPIRE). Submitted 9/1/13, Rehab Research and Development, VA Central Office, Washington, DC.

Recently Completed Research Projects

  • Co-Principal Investigator (with Dr. B. Steele): An Intervention to Improve Function in Cardiopulmonary Illness, VA Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development, NRI 04-242-03.
  • Co-Investigator (with Dr. M. Raitt): Anti-Arrhythmic Effects of Spironolactone in Patients with an ICD. VA Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development, with Portland VA Medical Center.
Research Interests: 
Adaptations of individuals and families to cardiac illness
Student Mentor: 
UW Graduate Faculty: