Mary McGrae McDermott, MD
Dr. McDermott is Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. McDermott received her Medical Degree at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and completed her internal medicine residence at Northwestern. Dr. McDermott completed fellowship training in general internal medicine at Northwestern University.
Dr. McDermott’s research focuses on lower extremity peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Dr. McDermott contributed to research demonstrating that most men and women with PAD do not have classic symptoms of intermittent claudication. Dr. McDermott was the first investigator to demonstrate that patients with asymptomatic PAD and those with atypical exertional leg symptoms have significantly greater functional impairment, faster functional decline, and greater mobility loss than patients without PAD (1-5). Work led by Dr. McDermott demonstrates that the degree of functional impairment, as measured by the six-minute walk and other office-based tests, predicts mobility loss and mortality in patients with PAD (6,7). Dr. McDermott was the first investigator to demonstrate that PAD patients who never get leg symptoms, even during a six-minute walk test, have smaller calf muscle area and poorer calf muscle density than PAD patients with intermittent claudication (8).
Furthermore, adverse calf muscle characteristics in patients with PAD predict mobility loss and functional decline (9). In 2009, Dr. McDermott and colleagues published the first randomized controlled clinical trial demonstrating that supervised treadmill exercise training significantly improves six-minute walk performance, brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), and quality of life in PAD patients both with and without symptoms of intermittent claudication (10).
Dr. McDermott is currently principal investigator of five ongoing R01 awards from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). A recently completed clinical trial determined whether a telephone counseling intervention can significantly lower LDL-cholesterol levels in patients with PAD by encouraging PAD patients to request more intensive cholesterol-lowering medication from their physicians (R01-HL073912). Her ongoing work is studying magnetic-resonance imaged (MRI) plaque characteristics in the superficial femoral artery in patients with PAD (R01-HL083064). She is currently leading a clinical trial designed to determine whether a group based cognitive behavioral intervention can help PAD patients adhere to a home-based exercise program and improve functional performance (R01-HL088589). Dr. McDermott is also studying whether inflammatory biomarkers increase during the months leading up to acute coronary events in patients with PAD (R01-HL089619). Dr. McDermott is also studying whether low vitamin D levels in patients with PAD predict adverse muscle characteristics, faster functional decline, and increased mortality (R01-HL096849). Dr. McDermott’s most recently funded projects include the PROPEL Study (r01-hl107510), a randomized controlled clinical trial that will determine whether the combination of gm-csf therapy with supervised treadmill exercise is associated with greater improvement in functional performance compared to gm-csf alone and supervised treadmill exercise alone. The recently funded FORTE Study (r01-hl109244) will determine whether the presence of lipid-rich necrotic core in superficial femoral artery atherosclerosclerotic plaque is associated with an increased rate of cardiovascular disease events.
Dr. McDermott is principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health funded LIFE study at Northwestern University. The LIFE study is a randomized controlled clinical trial that will establish whether a physical activity intervention prevents mobility loss in older frail men and women. Northwestern is one of eight sites recruiting participants for the LIFE study. Two hundred participants will be randomized at Northwestern.
Dr. McDermott is principal investigator and program director of Northwestern’s NHLBI-funded K12 training program in vascular medicine (K12-HL083790). Northwestern is one of just seven universities in the United States with a K12 training program in vascular medicine. The vascular medicine K12 is a three year training program for physicians who aim to become successful clinician investigators in vascular medicine.
Selected Honors and Awards
Dr. McDermott is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI). She is a former recipient of the Society of General Internal Medicine’s Junior Investigator of the Year Award and a former recipient of the American Heart Association’s Established Investigator Award. In 2009, Dr. McDermott received the National PAD Coalition’s Research of the Year Award.
Dr. McDermott is a contributing editor for the journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). She is chair of the Peripheral Vascular Disease Council for the American Heart Association and a medical editor for the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (FIMDM).
1. McDermott MM, Greenland P, Liu K, Guralnik JM, Criqui MH, Dolan NC, Chan C, Pearce W, Schneider J, Sharma L, Gibson D, Martin JG. Leg symptoms commonly reported by men and women with lower extremity peripheral arterial disease: Associated clinical characteristics and functional impairment. JAMA 2001 Oct 3;286(13):1599-1606.
2. McDermott MM, Liu K, Greenland P, Guralnik JM, Criqui MH, Chan C, Pearce WH, Schneider JR, Ferrucci L, Celic L, Taylor LM, Vonesh E, Martin GJ, Clark E. Functional decline in peripheral arterial disease: Associations with the ankle brachial index and leg symptoms. JAMA 2004;292:453-461.
3. McDermott MM, Fried L, Simonsick E, Ling S, Guralnik JM. Asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease is independently associated with impaired lower extremity functioning: the women’s health and aging study. Circulation 2000;101:1007-1012.
4. McDermott MM, Ferrucci L, Simonsick EM, Balfour J, Fried L, Ling S, Gibson D, Guralnik JM. The ankle brachial index as a predictor of change in lower extremity functioning over time: the women’s health and aging study. J Am Geriatr Soc 2002;50(2):238-46.
5. McDermott MM, Ferrucci L, Liu K, Guralnik JM,Tian L, Liao Y, Criqui MH. Leg Symptom Categories and Rates of Mobility Decline in Peripheral Arterial Disease. J Am Geriatr Soc. (in press)
6. McDermott MM, Tian L, Liu K, Guralnik JM, Ferrucci L, Tan J, Pearce WH, Schneider JR, Criqui MH. Prognostic value of functional performance for mortality in patients with peripheral arterial disease. J Am Coll Cardiol 2008;51(15):1482-9.
7. McDermott MM, Guralnik JM, Tian L, Ferrucci L, Liu K, Liao Y, Criqui MH. Baseline Functional Performance Predicts the Rate of Mobility Loss in Persons with Peripheral Arterial Disease. J Am Coll Cardiol 2007;50:974-82.
8. McDermott MM,Guralnik JM, Ferrucci L, Tian L, Liu K, Liao Y, Green D, Sufit R, Hoff F, Nishida T, Sharma L, Pearce WH, Schneider JR, Criqui MH. Asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease is associated with more adverse lower extremity characteristics than intermittent claudication. Circulation 2008;117(19):2484-91.
9. McDermott MM, Ferrucci L, Guralnik J, Tian L, Liu K, Hoff F, Liao Y, Criqui MH. Pathophysiological changes in calf muscle predict mobility loss at 2-year follow-up in men and women with peripheral arterial disease. Circulation 2009;120(12):1048-55.
10. McDermott MM, Ades P, Guralnik JM, Dyer A, Ferrucci L, Liu K, Nelson M, Lloyd-Jones D, Van Horn L, Garside D, Kibbe M, Domanchuk K, Stein JH, Liao Y, Tao H, Green D, Pearce WH, Schneider JR, McPherson D, Laing ST, McCarthy WJ, Shroff A, Criqui MH. Treadmill exercise and resistance training in patients with peripheral arterial disease with and without intermittent claudication: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2009;301(2):165-74.