Does my institution participate in the GAHP?

The main way most institutions participate in the GAHP is by submitting complete cardiac ultrasound exams to the GAHP database. While your zoo may be performing cardiac exams and training for cardiac health monitoring activities, these activities are not considered part of the GAHP unless the data is shared with the GAHP. The GAHP welcomes exam submissions from any facility that cares for great apes, and is not limited to AZA institutions.

How frequently do you want me to submit exams?

The GAHP accepts cardiac exam submissions from anesthetized apes any time they are performed. We also accept retrospective exam cases that have not previously been submitted to the GAHP database.

We will accept complete cardiac exams done on non-anesthetized apes (or “awake” exams) for review no sooner than every 6 months. In order to obtain as complete as possible awake exam, you will likely need to combine several training sessions to obtain all the measurements needed. We recommend that measurements used for an awake exam submission be obtained within a 30-day period of time.

If you have never submitted an awake cardiac exam to the GAHP and would like feedback from the GAHP ultrasound advisors, you can send us sample clips for evaluation. Our GAHP ultrasound advisors may be able to give you feedback on the quality of the clips so that you can work on obtaining the best possible diagnostic-quality images.

I have old exams that were never submitted. Should I submit them to the GAHP?

Yes, we gladly accept submissions for exams performed in the past.

I have a sick ape, how can the GAHP help?

If you have a sick ape and suspect that heart disease may be an underlying cause of the illness, please contact us at gahpinfo@gmail.com. If you have performed a cardiac exam on a sick ape and need immediate feedback, please specify that the case is urgent when submitting it, and we will expedite the review process. Expedited exams are reviewed within a few days of receipt.

My ape has died. Where should I send the heart?

The GAHP’s 2019 IMLS Grant has funding to support postmortem heart examinations. Please contact gahpinfo@gmail.com about submitting the heart and also refer to our Performing and Submitting Postmortem Evaluations page.

I submitted an exam but did not receive a report from the GAHP. Why?

First, please be sure that you submitted the exam to gahpinfo@gmail.com. In many instances, zoos believe that their local cardiologist or sonographer has submitted the exam to the GAHP when in fact this has not occurred. When an exam is received by the GAHP, the submitter will receive a confirmation email. If your exam is not complete, that email will request any missing information.

The GAHP only provides diagnostic reports for complete exam submissions. Exams that are missing anesthesia information, do not include all the necessary measurements, or do not include corresponding images showing how measurements were obtained, cannot be reviewed. Exam measurements obtained under alpha 2-agonists as part of the anesthetic regime will not provide a truly diagnostic evaluation and may result in inaccurate diagnoses, therefore it is unlikely that an exam performed using medetomidine or other alpha-2 agonists will receive a full report back from the GAHP.

Incomplete exams that are being submitted for medication checks or are for an urgent, sick case will be reviewed, however the feedback will likely be via email or phone calls and not in a formal report.

I submitted a cardiac exam and/or necropsy information to the Species Survival Plan (SSP). Why does the GAHP not have those records?

While the GAHP Executive Committee consists of SSP veterinary and pathology advisors and has the full endorsement and support of the great ape TAG and all four SSPs, most of those advisors are not directly involved in the database submission process. The GAHP Project and Database Manager, Dr. Marietta Danforth, is responsible for receiving and processing GAHP database submissions. When submitting records to SSP advisors, please consider including gahpinfo@gmail.com to ensure that we receive the records. If you are in doubt whether something has been submitted to the GAHP, please contact us.

Should I submit blood work results to the GAHP?

Yes, please include copies of any CBC, chemistry panels or other blood work reports that are performed during an echocardiogram. We are not currently accepting blood samples for analysis.

Our apes do not have heart disease. Should I submit our exams to the GAHP?

Yes, submitting healthy “normal” cases to the GAHP database will help us better understand cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the ape species. Normal cardiac reference ranges have been published or submitted for publication for gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos to date, but not yet for orangutans. We are particularly eager to gain more orangutan cardiac exam submissions, especially ones where alpha-2 anesthetics have not been used, in order to establish cardiac reference ranges for orangutans.

Is my zoo the first to…?

The GAHP maintains a list of contacts at each AZA ape-holding institution. We keep track of which institutions perform awake ultrasounds, blood pressure monitoring or have initiated other cardiac related projects. Please have your zoo’s Public Relations office contact us at gahpinfo@gmail.com before issuing a press release if you would like to have a statement from the GAHP about the uniqueness of your news. It has sometimes happened that news story will inaccurately attribute a zoo as being the “first to…” when other zoos have already been doing these same activities.

Is the GAHP a non-profit institution?

No. The GAHP is a project (previously based at Zoo Atlanta, now at the Detroit Zoological Society) and is not an independent, non-profit organization. Detroit Zoological Society is a private nonprofit and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

I want to work for or volunteer for the GAHP. Are you accepting applications?

The GAHP is a grant-funded project based at the Detroit Zoological Society and does not currently have positions for hire. All other members of the GAHP volunteer their time. We are not able to offer internships, residencies, or other positions at this time. If you are interested in volunteering your services at your local zoo and would like more information on how to initiate contact with a zoo, please email us at gahpinfo@gmail.com.

How do I raise money for the GAHP at my zoo?

If you would like to raise funds for the GAHP, please contact us at gahpinfo@gmail.com. All donations should be made out to “Detroit Zoological Society”, with a notation to direct funds to the GAHP. Please do not make checks out to the Great Ape Heart Project, as we are not an independent non-profit organization. Visit our Support page for more info.

If you would like to fund raise for cardiac health monitoring activities for your zoo, please DO NOT use the GAHP logo or name if funds are not going to the GAHP at Detroit Zoological Society.

May I use the GAHP name and logo?

The Great Ape Heart Project and its logos are Registered Trademarks of the Detroit Zoological Society. If you would like to use the GAHP logo, please send us a quick email to ask for permission.

Does the GAHP study cardiac disease in wild great apes?

The primary mission of the GAHP is to assist zoos in assessing and treating heart disease in their collections. At this time, we do not have funding to investigate heart disease in wild populations or sanctuaries in Africa and Asia.

If I submit my information on a great ape, how can I be assured that this will be confidential?

The GAHP treats all submissions as confidential medical information. Only select members of the GAHP Executive Committee have access to the complete GAHP Database. The GAHP Database is accessed using a unique user name and password, and individual user access is restricted by institution, species and area of expertise. European ape exam submissions will receive an email notification when their submission is shared with the Ape Heart Project at Twycross Zoo (and vice versa). GAHP exam records transfer with an ape when an ape moves to a new institution. Therefore, your institution’s exam submission may be viewed by another zoo’s veterinarian in the future, if your ape moves to a new zoo. Comparing past exams with present exams is often diagnostically useful in determining the progression of CVD, therefore we do not withhold past exam information from the veterinarian that is currently responsible for an ape’s care.