Few physicians are able to pinpoint the exact moment when they knew they wanted to become a doctor, much less the type of medicine they wanted to practice, but, for Dr. Murtuza J. Ali, a cardiologist at LSU Health Sciences Center, that moment occurred during a science class when he was 13 years old.
“We dissected an [animal] heart in a grade school science class, and I remember thinking how amazing it was to look at all the intricacies,” Dr. Ali says. “The science of the way the heart works just has always made sense to me. It came to me more intuitively than other sciences.”
Though Dr. Ali says he did his due diligence and studied other types of medicine, while attending Louisiana State University School of Medicine in his hometown of New Orleans, cardiology was a field that always excited him. His extensive training, including a residency at Stanford University and two fellowships at Boston University, further validated that cardiology was a field he truly enjoyed.
Dr. Ali is a general and interventional cardiologist, and he regularly treats patients who have heart disease or those who have risk factors — such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes or a history of stroke — and who wish to lower their chances of having cardiac events in the future. He says that the preventive aspect of his practice is particularly important, and, although the good health best practices that he recommends may be self-evident, Dr. Ali says many patients still need to be reminded of their importance.
“Smoking cessation, and not being around second-hand smoke, is extremely important — as is exercise,” Dr. Ali says. “I recommend my patients do some cardiovascular activity that gets their heart rate up for 20 to 30 minutes per day at least a few times per week. Of course, I also do some diet counseling. Food is important to our local culture but not always so good for our heart. I try to help my patients find that balance in a way that maintains their quality of life.”
Though some of his practice is devoted to preventive measures and managing patient risk factors, Dr. Ali and his multi-disciplinary team of fellow cardiologists and specialists also have experience addressing acute problems, such as heart attacks.
“I appreciate the high intensity of the field,” Dr. Ali says. “It is high risk/high reward, and I am able to have a meaningful impact on patients’ lives, either by assisting with preventative measures or treating the acute illness if cardiac issues do arise.”
When patients are suffering from acute cardiac events, such as angina or a heart attack, Dr. Ali performs coronary angioplasties and stenting procedures. He says he is excited about the advancements being made in interventional cardiology as treatment technologies have become smaller and deliverable through smaller incisions, which offer more minimally invasive cardiac surgery options.
In addition to these technological advancements, Dr. Ali says that a major point of difference for LSU’s cardiac department is that it is a multi-disciplinary unit where an entire heart team of physicians and specialists can collaborate to determine the most effective treatment methods, delivering the full spectrum of care.
“It is particularly rewarding to treat someone having a major life-threatening cardiac event and then see that patient through recovery,” Dr. Ali says. “After we fix a patient’s acute problem, the next step is to prevent subsequent events by lowering blood pressure, controlling their blood sugar, managing their clotting risk with an aspirin regimen and fixing abnormal heart rhythms. It becomes a lifetime of management, and I appreciate that type of continuity of care with my patients.”
Dr. Ali is a peer-recognized and awarded LSU School of Medicine faculty member, serving as associate professor of Clinical Medicine and program director for the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program in the LSU Department of Medicine, as well as the co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at the University Medical Center.
Medical School: Louisiana State University School of Medicine
Residency: Internal medicine, Stanford University Hospital, Stanford, CA
Fellowship: Cardiovascular Disease and Interventional Cardiology, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Board Certifications: ABIM Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases and Interventional Cardiology
3700 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70115