Meet Rahul Doshi, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine

Meet Rahul Doshi, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine and director of cardiac electrophysiology in the Department of Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Dr. Doshi is an electrophysiologist at the USC CardioVascular Thoracic Institute with primary focus in atrial fibrillation and device therapy for heart failure. Here’s what you won’t find on his resume:

His interest in science drew him to medicine.

“I liked biology in high school and thought medical school was a natural fit. The big decision I had to make was between pursuing a PhD in biochemistry or going to medical school. I ultimately chose medical school because I like the patient care aspect. I enjoy being hands-on, so I pursued a procedure-oriented specialty.”

He followed his heart to electrophysiology.

“I always leaned toward cardiology. The physiology of the heart is very elegant compared to other areas of the body. It’s very simple and well understood. Electrophysiology essentially stems from our understanding and interpretation of electrocardiograms (EKGs). EKGs fascinated me during my residency because it is a simple tool from which you can glean so much information.”

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He starts his day in the gym.

“Exercise is tremendously necessary to me. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. everyday and drive up from Orange County to Los Angeles. I hit the gym at 6 a.m. when it opens. The drive up and my workout time is my protected time where I’m just doing something for me and then, of course, the day starts.”

He enjoys exploratory travel.

“I’m not a sit-at-the-beach, do-nothing kind of guy. I like touring the sites when I travel. When my daughters were in high school, we used to make them look up facts for a particular destination and teach us as we traveled through a major city such as London or Paris.”

He’s “cursed” to speaking only one language.

“I didn’t start speaking until really late. At the time, the pediatricians told my parents — who were legitimately concerned I would never speak — not to talk to me in their native language Gujarati, so I would not get confused. I’m hence cursed to only speak English. Now we know, of course, that it’s better to expose kids to as many different languages as possible early on.”

The USC electrophysiology program is comprehensive.

“We see and do it all. We have a fully comprehensive program, and we can offer every type of intervention for every type of disease entity within electrophysiology. I think that makes us unique and I think our section is diverse enough in physician interests where we have physicians covering a multitude of subspecialties within our field.”

He’s seen advances in the field translate into better outcomes for patients.

“When I first started in electrophysiology, defibrillators were very large. They were inserted into the stomach and very often required open-heart surgery. The mortality for these procedures was about 50 percent. The technology and procedure has evolved to the point where defibrillators are much smaller. The leads are inserted through a vein, which can be done under local anesthesia in virtually minutes.

The original pacemakers were huge. Electrodes were sewn onto the heart during open-heart surgery. Those evolved into transvenous leads, which may have problems with infection. Now we’ve evolved to a leadless pacemaker, which is inserted via a catheter that has no leads, no wires and no risk of causing damage to the veins if you have to take it out.

In it’s infancy, catheter ablation began approaching only the simplest of arrhythmias. Today, we can tackle arrhythmias that are extremely complex, such as atrial fibrillation and offer an actual cure for the arrhythmia. Electrophysiology, more than almost any other field in medicine, has been fueled by innovation and new technology.”

Dr. Doshi is the director of the electrophysiology program at the USC Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute. Click here to view Dr. Doshi’s full biography.