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A Message From the Chief

Dr. Pranav Patel
UC Irvine Health Affairs Communications
Dr. Pranav Patel, Chief Division of Cardiology, UC Irvine School of Medicine

It is our mission in the Division of Cardiology at UC Irvine's School of Medicine to be the primary provider of specialized and advanced patient care in the diagnosis, management and prevention of cardiovascular diseases in Orange County and Southern California.

We also are committed to bringing our leading-edge research to the bedside and to offering an outstanding educational environment.

Our nationally and internationally acclaimed faculty members work in collaboration with UC Irvine’s cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, each year treating thousands of patients, many of whom have been referred by community physicians for their complex conditions.

These highly skilled cardiologists offer expert care in complex coronary, peripheral and vascular interventions; valvular disease and structural interventions; heart failure and complex cardiac rhythm disorders.

They also provide specialized care for adults with congenital heart disease, women with heart disease and cancer survivors with heart disease. In addition, our physicians provide advanced cardiac imaging and preventive cardiology care.

As cardiologists at one of the top 50 U.S. medical schools for research, we place a premium on scientific study and discovery. With grants from the National Institutes of Health and other prestigious institutions, our investigators are engaged in a broad spectrum of advanced research which includes:

  • Identifying subjects at high risk of developing heart attacks
  • Strategies aimed at reversing heart failure
  • Interventional cardiology and electrophysiology
  • Health policy research

The division is intimately involved with UC Irvine's Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology. This academic-based research and training center, housed within the university's Henry Samueli School of Engineering, is aimed at fostering an interdisciplinary approach to advance our understanding of cardiovascular disease. The goal is to create an academic focal point for cardiovascular research and training within the dynamic biomedical device sector of Orange County.

Our cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology labs are the most technologically advanced in the area. We started Orange County’s first primary transradial cardiac catheterization laboratory in 2009. Approximately 80-90 percent of our cases are performed via the radial artery in the wrist. This has reduced vascular complications and improved patient comfort.

In addition, UC Irvine Douglas Hospital has two hybrid operating suites that can be used by cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and vascular surgeons alike. All the labs are equipped with digital and biplane technology. With these facilities, our cardiologists are able to provide the most advanced care to our patients and the most sophisticated clinical training to our cardiology fellows.

The division's Heart Disease Prevention Program has been involved in many clinical trials and also longitudinal studies of heart disease. The program strives not only for excellence in scholarly research, but also for community education and outreach aimed at the early detection and prevention of heart attacks.

Through our Preventive Cardiology Program, registered dietitians and exercise physiologists work with cardiologists to create a personalized action plan for each patient. The plan includes a nutritional assessment and prescription for physical activity, as well as additional behavioral and clinical steps to lower the risk of a life-threatening cardiac event. Smoking cessation classes, stress reduction and weight-management counseling are available if needed.

Our Heart Failure Program, the only one of its kind in Orange County, is the first heart program in Southern California to be certified by The Joint Commission, and has now earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association's Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification in Heart Failure.

This certification is in place for two years and is only available to heart failure programs in Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. Obtaining the certification requires success in three main areas: compliance with consensus-based standards that apply to clinical care; demonstrating an organized approach to performance management and improvement activities in the clinical arena; and effective use of evidence-based guidelines, including requirements set by The Joint Commission. 

Faculty members in the Division of Cardiology also specialize in women’s heart disease, as well as in treating adults with structural and congenital heart disease. Working together with cardiologists from UCI Pediatric Cardiology and UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Disease specialists, we have developed the only specialized academic medical clinic in region which is dedicated to the shared cared of adults with congenital heart disease.

We also work with the Heart and Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and the VA Long Beach Healthcare System, which enables us to develop larger clinical trials that serve the broader community.

This consortium also allows us to provide the physicians in our ACGME accredited fellowship program with the best cardiology training. This is one of the most vital components of our mission. Five to six fellows graduate every year from UC Irvine's Cardiology Fellowship Programs and most of them continue to serve patients in Orange County. The fellowship clinical training at UC Irvine Medical Center, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and the VA Long Beach Healthcare System offer our fellows, residents and medical students valuable experience in treating patients with a broad range of cardiac diseases. Our fellows receive extensive experience in clinical nephrology, including one-on-one mentoring in clinical skill development during procedural rotations, inpatient CCU/consultation services and ambulatory rotations. Our training program provides extensive didactic core lectures, grand rounds, seminars and journal clubs. Research during fellowship is highly encouraged and we try to match fellows with research mentors/faculty that provides them with the most optimal experience.

Promoting cardiovascular health is our passion. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality patient care in this region.