LOS ANGELES (Aug. 29, 2022) --

WHO: During National Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Awareness Month and Aortic Disease Awareness Week, Smidt Heart Institute cardiologists and surgeons are available for interviews with journalists working on stories about these common heart conditions.  

AFib Experts:

  • Michael Shehata, MD, is a cardiac electrophysiologist and director of both the Interventional Electrophysiology Laboratory and
    the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship Training Program in the Smidt Heart Institute.
  • Ashkan Ehdaie, MD, is a cardiac electrophysiologist and associate director of the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship Training Program.

Aortic Dissection Experts:

  • Ali Azizzadeh, MD, is a vascular surgeon, co-medical director of the Vascular Laboratory and director of the Vascular Surgery Residency Program at Cedars-Sinai.
  • Michael Bowdish, MD, is a cardiothoracic surgeon and vice chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery in the Smidt Heart Institute.

WHAT: AFib is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm, and without treatment, it can lead to stroke or heart failure. Patients diagnosed with the condition can be treated with medications, a procedure called cardioversion, an ablation procedure or, in some cases, cardiac surgery.

Aortic dissection is a tear that develops along the inner layer of the aorta. As a result of the tear, blood spills through the inner layer tear and into the middle layers of the aorta, causing them to dissect, or separate from each other. If the blood breaks through the outer layer of the aorta, the condition can be fatal. Because aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition, treatment is typically needed immediately. Treatment usually involves surgery; however, in some cases, if the tear occurs in the area of the aorta that is descending into the abdomen, medication may be used to treat the condition. Medication may also be used to stabilize a patient's condition before surgery.

The Smidt Heart Institute is ranked #1 in California for Cardiology and Heart Surgery in the 2022-23 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” issue. Over the past five years, surgeons at the Smidt Heart Institute have performed more heart transplants than any other medical center. Smidt Heart Institute cardiac interventionalists have done more transcatheter heart valve repairs and replacements than any other medical center. The Smidt Heart Institute team is known for treating patients with the most complex and challenging conditions, many of whom have been deemed too risky for intervention elsewhere.

HOW: Interviews can be arranged to take place in person at Cedars-Sinai, or by using most virtual meeting formats, including Zoom, FaceTime and Skype.