Dr. Rakesh Chawla, director of the new Interventional Cardiology program at Clinton Memorial Hospital (CMH), spoke to the Wilmington Rotary Club about the new Intervention Cardiology Program at CMH.
A native of Dayton, Dr. Chawla, who has special interest in aggressive acute-care cardiovascular and vascular medicine, completed a bachelor’s degree in premedical studies at Penn State, where he was in the PSU/Jefferson Medical College six-year BS/MD cooperative medical program. He graduated summa cum laude in 1989.
He earned a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in 1994 and completed an internship and residency at Akron City Hospital and St. Thomas Medical Center in Akron in 1997.
He completed two fellowships — one in cardiovascular medicine at Medical College of Wisconsin in 2001, and the second, a fellowship in interventional cardiology, at the University of California San Francisco in 2003.
Dr. Chawla has performed 100-150 interventions per year for the past 14 years.
Dr. Chawla stated that interventional cardiology is a branch of cardiology that deals specifically with the catheter-based treatment of structural heart diseases. A large number of procedures can be performed on the heart by catheterization. This most commonly involves the insertion of a sheath into the femoral artery (but, in practice, any large peripheral artery or vein) and cannulating the heart under X-ray visualization (most commonly fluoroscopy).
The radial artery may also be used for cannulation; this approach offers several advantages, including the accessibility of the artery in most patients, the easy control of bleeding even in anticoagulated patients, the enhancement of comfort because patients are capable of sitting up and walking immediately following the procedure.
Dr. Chawla also stated that the main advantages of using the interventional cardiology or radiology approach are the avoidance of the scars and pain, and long post-operative recovery.
Additionally, interventional cardiology procedure of primary angioplasty is now the gold standard of care for an acute myocardial infarction. It involves the extraction of clots from occluded coronary arteries and deployment of stents and balloons through a small hole made in a major artery, which has given it the name “pin-hole surgery”
Dr. Chawla announced that CMH will be performing both elective (beginning July 1) and non-elective (beginning Oct. 1) interventions provided by two cardiologists 24/7.