A cardiology powerhouse – and now a community resource

For many years, UT Southwestern’s Division of Cardiology has been on an upward trajectory in providing better care to an increasing patient base. Now the division is embarking on new, community-based initiatives to better serve North Texas clinicians and their patients who have specialized cardiovascular conditions, including: 

  • Complex arrhythmia
  • Adult congenital heart disease
  • Advanced heart failure
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Structural and valve disorders
  • Complex coronary heart disease

Spearheading this movement is Mark Drazner, M.D., M.Sc., Clinical Chief of Cardiology. Dr. Drazner assumed this role in June 2016 alongside noted colleagues such as Joseph A. Hill, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Cardiology Division and Editor-in-Chief of the medical journal Circulation, and John Warner, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of UT Southwestern University Hospitals and President-Elect of the American Heart Association.

These leaders collaborate with pioneers in scientific research to translate data into effective treatment of complex heart conditions. UTSW cardiologists perform intricate procedures, including arrhythmia ablation, mini-incision valve surgery, VAD placement, heart transplantation, CABG, PCI with drug eluting stents, and implantation of percutaneous valves. 

A community resource for cardiovascular care 

One of Dr. Drazner’s foremost priorities is to improve referral access for community physicians, making UT Southwestern cardiologists available as go-to resources for specialized heart care as soon as it’s needed. 

Dr. Drazner has initiated several programs to improve these lines of communication, including:

  • A 24/7 referral line: Nurse intake coordinators are on standby every day, around the clock, to facilitate patient referrals, no matter how complex the condition. 
  • Community outreach programs: UT Southwestern cardiologists are meeting with North Texas community physicians to establish fluid lines of communication so that referring physicians feel comfortable reaching out to UTSW cardiologists for expertise when they need it.
  • Faster feedback: The Cardiology Division is streamlining processes to keep referring physicians better informed about their patient’s status, post-procedure needs, and other vital information.  

When developing these initiatives, Dr. Drazner put himself in a referring physician’s shoes. “You want to know your patient will go to a provider who will give excellent care and treatment in an appropriate, professional manner, with compassion,” he says. 

“As members of an academic medical center, we have the privilege of taking time to get to know our patients well and working closely with them – and their primary physician – until we find the most effective treatment.” 

Dr. Drazner adds that the Cardiology Division’s philosophy is to provide “the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.”

Casting a wide net of care

In 2016 UT Southwestern launched Southwestern Health Resources, an affiliation with Texas Health Resources that will introduce to UTSW a large clinical base of dedicated community physicians who have patients in need of the specialized care that UTSW provides.

In fact, UT Southwestern cardiology specialists provide care that only a handful of clinics in the nation can deliver. For example:

  • Pradeep Mammen, M.D., working with renowned UTSW researcher Eric Olson, Ph.D., founded a neuromuscular cardiomyopathy clinic for patients with Becker’s or Duchenne muscular dystrophy and other rare, complex neuromuscular conditions that affect the heart muscle.
  • Mark Link, M.D., an internationally acclaimed HCM specialist, joined the UTSW cardiology team this summer as Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology.
  • Ben Levine, M.D., is a national leader in sports cardiology. He, along with Dr. Link, is driving a sports cardiology center of excellence in North Texas at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine.
  • Cardiothoracic surgeon Neelan Doolabh, M.D., is redefining minimally invasive heart surgery by performing valve repairs, valve replacements, and other heart procedures without cutting into any bone at all, something eagerly desired by most patients.

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UT Southwestern cardiologists also have access to multidisciplinary expertise that encompasses nearly any medical condition that may impact their patients. Cardiologists work in concert with experts in oncology, neurology, maternal-fetal medicine, transplantation, and many other fields of medicine on campus.

“Another huge advantage at UT Southwestern is that we can provide care in a ‘one-stop shop’ manner because we have such a large diversity of specialists that can help us treat any non-cardiac condition that our patients might have,” Dr. Drazner says.

“Improved cardiovascular care and communication benefits our entire community,” he notes. “From giving your patients a new lease on life to training future physicians in patient-centered care, there are huge, tangible benefits of forging strong partnerships between our cardiologists and community physicians. We view ourselves as an important resource for North Texas and the surrounding regions.” 

To refer a patient for cardiovascular care, call UT Southwestern’s 24/7 nurse intake coordinator at 855-240-0816. Learn more about the Division of Cardiology by emailing Dr. Drazner at mark.drazner@utsouthwestern.edu.

Physician Referral Information

UT Southwestern physicians offer consultations and treatment in more than 60 subspecialties. Recognizing that navigating through the many programs and resources at UT Southwestern can be challenging, the University established Patient and Physician Referral Services to assist external physicians and their staff with securing patient appointments. Offices may call one centralized phone number to schedule a consultation in any clinic or to fax patient records related to a referral. The UT Southwestern referral coordinator will work closely with the appropriate physician or clinic to coordinate the patient’s appointment, as well as contact the patient and referring physician’s office with the appointment details.

Call a coordinator today at 214-645-8300

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