Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD

  • Director, University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center
  • Professor, Medicine, College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Chief, Division of Cardiology

Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD, is director of the UA Sarver Heart Center, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Cardiology in the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson. She is a board-certified advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist and clinical researcher, specializing in heart failure, mechanical circulatory support and heart transplant patient care. Nationally recognized for her leadership and experience in clinical trials, Dr. Sweitzer's research program focuses on interaction of the dysfunctional heart muscle in heart failure with other body systems to better understand how to improve symptoms and organ function in heart failure patients.  She has done extensive work on the physiology of heart failure with preserved systolic function, a disease that disproportionately affects elderly women. She has led and collaborated on numerous studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health as well as studies supported by industry and academic sponsors. 

She has served on numerous NIH committees and currently serves as a member of the Clinical and Integrative Cardiovascular Science Study Section and the American Heart Association's Cardiac Biology and Regulation Committee. Dr. Sweitzer was named editor-in-chief of Circulation: Heart Failure, as of July 1, 2017. One of the most widely respected cardiology journals published, its impact ranking is 11 out 139 journals. She is a liaison to the AHA’s Heart Failure & Transplantation Committee of the Council on Clinical Cardiology for a term from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019.

Previously at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Dr. Sweitzer was Director of numerous programs, including clinical research, quality, and medical director of heart failure and transplant cardiology.  She also led the Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Program.   

1999-2001, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
2001-2011, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin
2011-2014, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin

American Medical Association, 1989-present
American College of Cardiology, 1997-present
American Heart Association, 1997-present
Heart Failure Society of America, 1999-present
American Society of Echocardiography, 1999-present
International Society Heart and Lung Transplant, 2002-present
American Society of Hypertension, 2003-present
American Society of Transplantation, 2004-present
Society of Geriatric Cardiology, 2004-present

  • MD: University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI,1993
  • PhD: Physiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI,1993
  • BA: Biological Basis of Behavior, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA,1984
  • Internal Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital,Boston,1994-1996
  • Internal Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston,1993-1994
  • Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston,1998-1999
  • Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston,1996-1998
Board Certifications
  • Diplomate, Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology, 2012-present
  • Testamur, National Board of Echocardiography, 2003-present
  • Diplomate, ABIM, Cardiovascular Diseases, 1999-present
  • Diplomate, ABIM, Internal Medicine, 1996-2006

Select Publications


Breathett, K. K., S. M. Knapp, P. Wightman, A. Desai, S. Mazimba, E. Calhoun, and N. K. Sweitzer, "Is the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion Linked to Change in Rate of Ventricular Assist Device Implantation for Blacks and Whites?", Circ Heart Fail, vol. 13, issue 4, pp. e006544, 2020 Apr. PMCID: PMC7141778  PMID: 32233662


Breathett, K., E. Yee, N. Pool, M. Hebdon, J. D. Crist, S. Knapp, A. Larsen, S. Solola, L. Luy, K. Herrera-Theut, et al., "Does Race Influence Decision Making for Advanced Heart Failure Therapies?", J Am Heart Assoc, vol. 8, issue 22, pp. e013592, 2019 Nov 19. PMCID: PMC6915287  PMID: 31707940


Breathett, K., L. A. Allen, L. Helmkamp, K. Colborn, S. L. Daugherty, I. V. Blair, J. Jones, P. Khazanie, S. Mazimba, M. McEwen, et al., "Temporal Trends in Contemporary Use of Ventricular Assist Devices by Race and Ethnicity.", Circ Heart Fail, vol. 11, issue 8, pp. e005008, 2018 08. PMCID: PMC6086596  PMID: 30021796