Justin S. Sadhu, MD, MPHS, is a Washington University cardiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital specializing in valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease, heart muscle disease and heart rhythm disorders.
So as a general cardiologist, I see patients with a wide range of conditions from coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy and heart failure to valvular disease and arrhythmias and I’m really privileged to also deal with patients across the age spectrum. I have patients in their 20s up to their mid-90s, so it’s really a fun opportunity to meet people from very diverse backgrounds.
One of the really exciting developments in cardiology over the last few years had been the development of less invasive ways to treat very serious conditions that previously could only be treated with open heart surgery and I think that our experience here is something that sets us apart and above our peers in the region. Moving forward I think an area that we really need to focus on in cardiology is prevention. Working with public health efforts to help prevent people from developing cardiovascular disease in the first place that goes back to the fundamentals on working on things like blood pressure, cholesterol, exercise, diabetes and I think as physicians, although we enjoy treating people, we prefer that people are healthy and don’t have to see us in the first place.
I was drawn to medicine actually from a young age, as I think is the case with many physicians. My parents were both in the sciences and so I was raised in an atmosphere that really encouraged a love of learning. Our faith was also very important to us as a family and my parents always emphasized giving back and so I think medicine was a perfect blend of being able to use my love of science and also participate in the healing of people often when they are in very great need and so I find that very gratifying.
So with each of my patients, I want to work together as a team to tackle their issues and so a big part of what I do with my patients is patient education. I want them to understand their condition as well as the different approaches that are available to treating it. And then we work together as a team to talk through the pros and cons of each approach and I help them decide on the best treatment for them. For many patients, their best advocates are their family members and so if patients are open to it, I really like to include family members, whether it’s spouses, children, parents, also in the decision because they are also the ones who see them at home, see how their doing and can often provide insights that we might otherwise miss in a clinic visit. I treasure the long term relationships I have with my patients and so I also like to get to know my patients as individuals – what’s important to them, what do they do between clinic visits and that’s really what I enjoy in medicine.