Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute - Clinical Trials Unit (CTU)

Cardiovascular Tissue and Blood Bank

The primary goal of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute- Clinical Trials Unit Cardiovascular (BCVI-CTU) Tissue/Blood bank is to systematically collect, store, and distribute cardiac tissue and other samples for research dedicated to the improved understanding, care and treatment of individuals with cardiovascular disease.

This important resource was established in 2008 as a fundamental component of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute’s quest for excellence in medical research and currently has over 6,000 cardiac tissue samples. Current Tissue/Blood Bank activities and services include coordinating patient consent, collecting and banking freshly-frozen tissue specimens daily from excess surgical material, processing and banking blood components, maintaining a sample database with links to clinical data, and assuring regulatory compliance.

An oversight committee serves to guide policies, prioritize resources, and review service requests to ensure equitable usage. Collection and storage of all specimens is approved by the Northwestern University Institutional Review Board (Federal Wide Assurance FWA00001549) as part of the BCVI-CTU Cardiovascular Research Database, study STU000012288. Copies of each subject’s consent to donate their tissue and/or blood for research are maintained in a secure area of the Clinical Trials Unit. Clinical data from each case are logged into a secured computer data base. Tissue/Blood received into the repository is catalogued and referenced by a unique numbering system in order to maintain patients' confidentiality.

Tissues Collected

AortaAortic ValveApical Core
Left Atrial Appendage (LAA)Left Atrial WallLeft Ventricular Wall
Mitral ValveRight Atrial WallRight Ventricular Wall
Pulmonic ValveSeptal Tricuspid Valve

Requesting Specimens

Researchers must submit a Service Request Form to obtain samples. This form requires an explanation of the tissue requested (type, number of samples, justification), description of the study, and source of funding. Data will be provided in aggregate to maintain patient confidentiality. IRB approval or exemption from IRB review will be required if non-aggregate data (identified/de-identified) are requested. IRB application to indicate samples are obtained from CARD Specimen Repository IRB #: STU00012288. For further information on IRB requirements, please see: 

To request tissue/blood specimens or other services, please submit an online Service Request Form.

All requests are reviewed by the Tissue Bank Review Committee to determine scientific merit, clinical significance, statistical validity and feasibility of completing the study in a timely manner. For approved requests, specimens will be distributed only after receiving a copy of the investigator's IRB approval letter.