Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Department of Medicine

Faculty Profiles

[Return To Index page]
photo William P. Follansbee, MD


Professor of Medicine

The Master Clinician Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine

Professor of Radiology

Director, The Master Clinicians Center for Medical Decision Making


Phone: 412-647-3437

Office: Heart and Vascular Institute, UPMC Presbyterian
Suite A429, 200 Lothrop
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-647-3437
Fax: 412-647-3873
Education and Training
B.A., Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 1970
MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1974
Intern in Medicine, Hospital of the Univeristy of Pennsylvania, 1974
Resident in Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,, 1976
Fellow in Cardiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1977
Fellow in Cardiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1979
Research Interest
Dr. Follansbee's career focus has been as a clinician - educator, but he has also participated actively in research. Early in his career, his research focused on cardiac involvement in systemic diseases, particularly systemic sclerosis. His research interests in nuclear cardiology were in the application of the technologies to study pathophysiology of diseases. In more recent years, his participation in research has been in facilitating projects of colleagues and particularly younger faculty members. The initiative in medical decision making has resulted in multiple national presentations by younger faculty members in the last couple years, featuring that project.
Clinical Interest
Dr. Follansbee is the Master Clinician Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, an endowed Chair established in his name. He has been an attending cardiologist in the cardiac intensive care unit for more than 30 years. As a general cardiologist, he sees patients with a wide range of cardiac diseases, particularly acute or chronic coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy, or arrhythmias. He has a specialized interest in cardiac involvement in systemic diseases, with a particular interest in cardiac amyloidosis. He is a nuclear cardiologist who was Director of the Nuclear Cardiology Department for 30 years until he stepped down to become Director of the UPMC Clinical Center for Medical Decision Making.

Dr.Follansbee has been in every selection of Pittsburgh's Top Doctors since the original edition in 1992, and has been selected to the Best Doctors in America every year since 1996, has been elected as one of America's Top Doctor every year since the first edition in 2001. He was the 2008 recipient of the American Heart Association Peter J Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh Award. He has a 5 star patient satisfaction rating.
Educational Interest
Dr. Follansbee has been extensively involved in education throughout his career. As Director of a Nuclear Cardiology Preceptorship Program, Dr. Follansbee developed and personally taught a 3 day preceptorship program in nuclear cardiology six times a year for many years. At the present time, as Director of the UMPC Clinical Center for Medical Decision Making, he is heavily involved in teaching medical decision making with a goal of reducing diagnostic error and improving diagnostic efficiency. Under the auspices of a grant from the Hearst Foundations and working with a team of leading faculty educators in the Department of General Medicine, he has led an extensive educational initiative in medical decision making in the Department of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency training program. Through this dynamic collaborative effort, a preliminary curriculum in medical decision making was developed and preliminarily implemented in a controlled fashion in the training program in order to be able to study its effectiveness. Teaching of medical decision making has been actively integrated into attending rounds, morning report, and M&M conference, among other settings. Chairman's rounds has been transformed to a new format featuring medical decision making. Dr. Follansbee has been leading a faculty team that has been actively developing an on-line curriculum in medical decision making, which will be implemented this year.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Follansbee, WP, Curtiss, EI, Medsger Jr, TA, Steen, V, Uretsky, BF, Owens, G, Rodnan, GP. Physiologic Abnormalities of Cardiac Function in Progressive Systemic Sclerosis with Diffuse Scleroderma. New England Journal of Medicine. 1984; 310: 142-148.
Follansbee, WP, Curtiss, EI, Medsger Jr, TA, Owens, GR, Steen, VD, Rodnan, GP. Myocardial Function and Perfusion in the CREST Syndrome Variant of Progressive Systemic Sclerosis: An Exercise Radionuclide Evaluation with Comparison to Diffuse Scleroderma. American Journal of Medicine. 1984; 77: 489-496.
Follansbee, WP, Curtiss, EI, Rahko, PS, Medsger Jr, TA, Lavine, SJ, Owens, GR, Steen, VD. The Electrocardiogram in Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma): A Study of 102 Consecutive Cases with Functional Correlations and a Review of the Literature. American Journal of Medicine. 1985; 79: 183-192.
Lavine, SJ, Krishnaswami, V, Shreiner, DP, Amidi, M, Follansbee, WP. Simplified Count Based Estimates of Left Ventricular Volume. Clin Nuclear Medicine. 1986; 11: 168-174.
Owens, GR, Follansbee, WP. The Cardiopulmonary Manifestations of Scleroderma. Chest. 1987; 91: 118-127.
Follansbee, WP, Miller, TK, Curtiss, EI, Medsger Jr, TA, Bernstein, R, Orie, JE, Kiernan, JM. A Controlled Clinicopathologic Study of Myocardial Fibrosis in Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma): The Case for Multiple Mechanisms. Journal of Rheumatology. 1990; 17: 656-662.
Follansbee, WP, Zerbe, T, Medsger Jr, TA. Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle Disease in Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma): A High Risk Association. American Heart Journal. 1993; 125(1): 194-203.
Soman, P, Rajagopalan, M, Ahmad, F, Ruszkiewicz, M, Follansbee, WP. Attenuation Correction Improves Specificity of Myocardial Perfusion Imaging: Analysis without Verification Bias. Journal of Nuclear Cardiology. 2008; 15: S15.
Schulman, DS, Uretsky, BF, Herman, BA, Edwards, T, Rath, G, Reddy, PS, Follansbee, WP. The Effect of Verapamil on Systolic and Diastolic Left Ventricular Function in the Denervated Heart. American Journal of Cardiology. 1991; 67: 1103-9.
Follansbee, WP, Kiernan, JM, Curtiss, EI, Zerbe, TR, Mock, C, Kormos, RL, Griffith BP, Hardesty, RL. Changes in Left Ventricular Systolic Function That Accompany Rejection of the Transplanted Heart: A Serial Radionuclide Assessment of 53 Consecutive Cases. American Heart Journal. 1991; 2: 548-556.
Notable Achievements
The Peter J. Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh Award, American Heart Association, 2008
Pittsburgh Top Doctor, 1992-present
America's Top Doctors, 2001-present
Best Doctors in America, 1996-present