Hearts in their Hands
One of the most important things you can do in life is follow your heart’s desires. No, we aren’t talking about falling in love or pursuing your dream career — although those are wonderful things, too. What we mean is: Follow your heart’s desires to be healthier by taking care of one of your most vital organs.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, responsible for more than 17.3 million deaths per year. In the U.S. alone, heart disease kills more than 370,000 Americans each year. Those are heartbreaking statistics.
If there is something wrong with your heart, you deserve the highest quality care available. Protect and care for your heart by visiting one of these expert cardiologists at Methodist Richardson Medical Center (MRMC). These individuals are passionate about saving lives, one beating heart at a time. Get to know them, and listen to their recommendations for keeping your heart off the operating table.
Nhan Nguyen, MD, 44
Vascular and Interventional Cardiologist, Medical Director of Cardiology at MRMC
"My gift to empathize with others and communicate on a personable level is more important and valuable than my skills to open complex arteries."
- Even early on, cardiac physiology came naturally to me. There are very few things more gratifying than being able to bring someone on the verge of death back to life. To be able to help someone in such a profound way was my calling, and I absolutely love it.
- My primary job responsibility is to set standards to help ensure quality care is delivered systematically. We set up protocols on exactly how the team should respond when someone is having a massive heart attack. This expedites the patients getting fast, life-saving treatment. We also set up protocols based on best practices for treating congestive heart failure, optimizing the chance of surviving and preventing recurrences.
- I received a gift [made] by the daughter of a patient I saved. It was an ID holder with the Superman emblem on it. The card read, “Thank you for saving my mom.” I still wear it every day.
- Convincing people to do what they already know is good for them, such as eating a proper diet, exercising and not smoking, is difficult. Even after a massive heart attack, human nature prevails, and many people simply take the path of least resistance.
- If you don’t use it, you lose it. Proper exercise is just so important — it’s more important than all the essential medications one has to take after a heart attack.
- My wife and I love being with our three daughters in each of their activities. From orchestral concerts to golf tournaments to competitive cheer, we never miss an event. And when I can, I sneak some time in to golf with my buddies.
Sumeet Chhabra, MD
Cardiac Electrophysiologist at MRMC
“I operate on the heart’s electrical system utilizing minimally invasive techniques.”
- Being an electrophysiologist (aka, heart rhythm doctor) represents three different physician roles: operating on the heart utilizing minimally invasive techniques, caring for very sick patients and developing long-term outpatient relationships.
- I decided to become an electrophysiologist during my training as a general cardiologist. It is a very technological field that relies on computers for mapping abnormal heart rhythms and for programming cardiac devices, and on Internet/wireless monitoring of heart rhythms of outpatients. Since I am very interested in technology, this integration with patient care is intellectually gratifying.
- I am able to help many patients, and they are all special to me. I try to treat everybody as if they were family. As a father of two young boys, I am particularly sensitive to patients with children. I never forget the gravity of my job and what is really at stake for my patients and their families.
- Electrophysiologists are often called to the ICU to help take care of the sickest cardiac patients in the hospital. We have become very good at treating patients with advanced medicines, implantable cardiac devices and electrical heart surgery to help many of them turn the corner. The hardest moments are when we encounter patients who are too sick for any of these therapies.
- Eat healthy and stay physically active at all ages! It is remarkable how these two factors can change someone’s long-term cardiovascular risk profile. It’s never too late to start modifying these behaviors.
- I’ll confess to being a huge sports fan. Growing up playing sports really taught me the value of persistence, teamwork and good sportsmanship — lessons I am trying to instill in my boys.
Tulika Jain, MD, 44
General Cardiology and Advanced Cardiac Imaging at Cardiology and Interventional Vascular Associates
"I interpret highly advanced cardiac imaging of the heart, including coronary CT scans and cardiac MRI. I am also trained in advanced echo, including advanced transesophageal echo."
- The science of cardiology offers so many medical treatments, which help people get better and live longer. It gives me the chance to care for patients in many situations, including at the hospital and in the office. Additionally, I like to see patients in my clinic to help diagnose and prevent heart disease before they suffer from problems. I also enjoy my subspecialty — cardiac imaging. We use advanced imaging technologies to diagnose and treat patients with heart disease and prevent heart disease in the future.
- I was the only female in my cardiology fellowship class, and I’m the only female in the practice now. When I was training, I was the only cardiology fellow with a child — many fellows were not even married. Balancing home life with work responsibility was difficult because work has to take priority. But I didn’t have any problems feeling like I was disadvantaged in the way I was treated compared to my male colleagues at work. I was lucky to have cardiology faculty who were female role models in my training program.
- During the first month of practice, a 99-year-old woman presented to the hospital with a heart attack. I took care of her and treated her … and she was eventually discharged. I worried that she wouldn’t do well for very long. Luckily, I was wrong. She lived for two more years with a good quality of life and ended up dying around age 101 with a non-cardiac problem. This experience reinforced my belief that we can really help people live long and healthy lives with good cardiology care.
- Cardiology is a 24-hour a day job. The hardest part is leaving my family to attend to a cardiology emergency. But my family is very supportive, and I enjoy taking care of patients.
- Everyone should see their primary care doctor regularly, and many should see a cardiologist to help prevent the development of heart disease.
- To relieve stress, I play keyboard in a band called Tullkit that plays music from the ’80s and ’90s.
Asad Mohmand, MD, 40
Interventional Cardiologist at MRMC
"I introduced trans-radial catheterization to our cardiac catheterization lab at my current position and have developed the program so more interventional cardiologists are adopting this approach."
- Choosing medicine as a career was a natural transition for me, coming from an all-physician family, and I was drawn toward interventional cardiology. It has the unique distinction of offering acute interventions that can save a life in a matter of minutes. The day I stepped into the cardiac catheterization lab for the first time, I knew I had found the right calling.
- I see adult patients of all age groups with a wide spectrum of physical complaints and diseases. Daily activity ranges from preoperative assessments to care of severely ill patients in the ICU with life-threatening maladies.
- The most unforgettable days, the most humbling and touching experiences, come from patients who come in with life-threatening conditions. Being part of the team that ensures their safety and recovery is the most rewarding feeling — both personally and professionally.
- Dealing with the constant pressure of knowing that even on the best of days, in the simplest of situations, unpredictable events can occur that may have dire consequences for the health and wellness of our patients is tough. On the other hand, this pressure has a motivational quality and helps us strive to be better at what we do every single day.
- Smoking is one of the worst things we can do to our bodies. Unhealthy lifestyle choices like bad diets and lack of activity are also harmful. We are all responsible for making better choices when it comes to things we have control over.
- I try to spend as much time as I can with my family. Kids grow up fast, and time doesn’t stop for anyone. Traveling, especially to places off the beaten path, is also something that I pursue every chance I get.
Dan M. Meyer, MD, 59
Medical Director, Heart, Lung and Vascular Services at Methodist Health System;
Cardiothoracic Surgeon at MRMC
"I specialize in mitral valve repair and minimally invasive heart and lung surgery."
- I had early exposure to medicine (cardiology in particular) by my mom who was a nurse. My sister, a medical illustrator, also had some influence on me. During medical school, I thought emergency and trauma services would be my areas of interest, but this changed to cardiothoracic surgery as I moved further in my training.
- We are trying to expand the services in the heart, lung and vascular arena that are already present to different degrees in our system. We are also hoping to implement care pathways for many disease processes, in a standardized way, to improve overall outcomes.
- I enjoy teaching the nurses about newer procedures we have done for our patients that the team had not seen before. The interest and excitement about learning new things and finding better solutions to our patient’s health is what I have seen the team at MRMC embrace.
- Discussing change with the medical team is always a challenge, as it is of course critical to have the rationale to support any changes we are recommending.
- Prevention is the key, and it is never too late to start on this course. Exercise, diet and careful follow-up with your physician are important for all patients. Start with small steps but keep moving forward.
- I enjoy running, often while chasing my kids on their bikes. My wife and I try to keep exercise an important part of our family activities. We also enjoy multiple water sports during visits to family in California.