General Cardiology | Luis Dlouhy, MD


1. Please describe your educational and training background:

Medical School: Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, MD
Residency: Baylor College of Medicine, Internal Medicine - Pediatrics
Fellowship(s): Baylor College of Medicine, Adult Cardiovascular Disease

I was interested in medicine since high school. I also liked math, physics, and science so I decided to first pursue an engineering degree for my undergrad. I then got into biomechanics and this eventually led me into cardiac and vascular biomechanics: how impulses propagate and lead to myocardial and vascular contraction, strain. I decided attend Texas A&M for medical school and kept an open mind while deciding which specialty to pursue. I decided to go for Med-Peds since I liked the continuity of a PCP, the hospitalist environment, having a pathway for cardiology and the opportunity to practice pediatrics. During Internal Medicine residency, it was in the CCU that everything came together. Using the data of real time monitoring with hemodynamics, telemetry, history, and physical examination to find the right intervention and stabilize your patient was extremely fulfilling. I also realized that Cardiology had the opportunity for long term continuity with your clinic patients, keeping them safe and out of the hospital, which hit that soft spot in my heart I always had for primary care. Cardiology is such a beautiful field, in which you get real time diagnostics and were many treatment responses happen at the bedside where you can immediately experience them. This was always very satisfying.

2. What are your future career plans and/or goals?

I came into Adult Cardiology thinking I was likely going to pursue Adult Congenital Heart Disease, but I have really enjoyed all aspects of my fellowship so far including our cath months and imaging months. Now I am looking forward to my future rotations in advanced imaging, future cath lab months, and of course Adult Congenital Heart Disease. I am very open minded now and still deciding which field I will be focusing on in my future career. I will stay in academics which is one of the reasons I chose Baylor, given the constant interactions and teaching opportunities we have with residents and medical students.

3. Please describe a typical day in your cardiology subspecialty.

A typical day varies according to the rotation. For example, Cardiology consults involves coming in early and start taking consults from multiple teams, reviewing the plan and teaching the residents and then discussing with the attending a variety of cases; with intermittent downtime. CCU is a faster pace, with higher acuity, admitting patients with cardiogenic shock, unstable arrhythmias. Echocardiography we spend most of the day in the reading room reviewing and discussing the echocardiograms.

4. What is the most challenging aspect of your career path?

I think the hardest point was getting into medical school, you need to get well rounded in a lot of areas, with a lot of studying and putting effort into building your application, but you have very structured guidance when putting the CV together from your undergrad institution. Second hardest point was choosing a fellowship and then preparing the application. It is difficult putting the fellowship app together, as it is very applicant driven. You do not have the same guidance you had when applying to medical school and it's your responsibility to make sure the application speaks for itself.

5. How did you identify your mentor(s) and develop a successful mentor/mentee relationship?

It is important having someone that is passionate about the field, who can pass that passion to you. I had various mentors like this, such as Dr. Lakkis and Paniagua for example. Working with then was eye opening, showing you just how beautiful Cardiology is as a field and being this amazing doctor while at it. This motivates you. You say to yourself: "This could be me 20 or 30 years from now!". Looking back, the best way to identify mentors was to find those who spent the time to know you as a person and were interested in helping you get where you need to go.

6. What advice would you give residents interested in pursuing cardiology?

A good cardiologist is a good internist. Knowing general medicine is very important and it can become a major problem if you neglect that part of your training. Keeping your mind open to multiple experiences is also very important. Take up those available opportunities, write up that case report or that review.

7. What advice do you have for women or underrepresented minorities in medicine who are interested in pursuing cardiology?

I would say look for a place that has people who you would be proud to take care of. Like me with Ben Taub [Houston's County hospital], it feels like I am taking care of my own family. Finding a place with mentors who value this [patient diversity] and share that passion and finding someone who you can identify with at least at a cultural level also helps. Many places say they value diversity, but in here [Ben Taub], it feels like the United Nations with patients from everywhere.