Dr. Yogesh Patel
Meet Cardiologist and Vascular Surgeon Yogesh Patel, MD, with Memorial's Heart and Vascular Center.
Do you remember when you first wanted a career in medicine?
Going back to high school, science was my strength. I attended Belleville East High School, and I remember taking chemistry and physics. In biology, the dissections that we had to go through I initially had a difficult time with. But once I started learning anatomy, I found it quite stimulating. It motivated me, and I wanted to do more and more. We dissected a cat, a worm, and a rat, and my interest would be driven from there. I truly became so interested that I started looking for models to show to my friends, nieces, and nephews when they came to my house as I was growing up.
Talk about some of the subspecialties of cardiology.
Cardiology is a diverse field, and it has a number of subspecialties within that. Cardiology, or the field of interventional cardiology, in a simple term is a plumber of the heart, meaning they focus on blockage around the heart and the arteries around the heart that supply oxygen. We, as interventional cardiologists, work on those blockages and open those blockages with a stent. There are other fields in cardiology. There's a heart failure specialty where the heart weakens and it's not pumping as much as it should, which builds up fluid. We also have an electrician in cardiology. They're called electrophysiologists, and they put pacemakers in individuals who have a slow heart rate. Or if individuals aren't getting regular heartbeats, they correct those irregular rhythms. There's also subspecialists for imaging, which includes heart imaging with ultrasound, CAT scan, or MRI. There's a lot of clinical research as well in newer fields like valvular therapies. As an interventionist, you're actually working through arteries to fix a blockage, correct narrowed valves, and it's a very interesting and stimulating field that continues to grow.
Why do patients need to see you?
The patients I encounter are mainly in the hospital, whether they're admitted for cardiac issues or through the emergency room. The other area where I meet my patients is in the office. The most common condition patients are referred for is chest pain, or what we call an angina. Other reasons are for irregular heart rhythm, such as atrial fibrillation or flutter, and heart failure. Other times we will see individuals when they just passed out, to see if it is related to a heart condition or the heart not doing its job. Those are the main areas where I'll see cardiac patients both in the hospital and in the office. Now as an interventionist, we also are on call for acute heart attacks. Those individuals 99.9% of the time will come from the emergency department.
What do you like to do outside of the office?
If I don't do certain things in the hospital or interact with patients, I would probably go nuts as I tell some of my staff. Outside of the medical field, I really enjoy baseball. I played first base and outfield, and I'm a big baseball fan. I tend to memorize batting averages and who hit how many home runs. I love going to the batting cage. It's one of my favorite things to do, so I really enjoy baseball. I also like traveling. Hiking is something that I enjoy. Hiking is something that is easy for me to pick up, and I can hike for half a day.