Almost every cardiology practice has a significant impact on patients’ lives, but that wasn’t enough for Hetal R. Bhakta.
He specializes in electrophysiology because it “allows us to do certain procedures that are definitive in their nature. You don’t get to do that very often in medicine,” he says.
Bhakta also loved the idea that the field, which focuses on the heart’s electrical system, was young and rapidly evolving with new technological developments.
He created Desert Regional’s dedicated electrophysiology lab in 2014 after moving to the Coachella Valley six years ago. It’s where he performs minimally invasive endovascular ablation on atrial fibrillation (Afib) patients.
“We can do more of those procedures since it’s a robotic procedure so it takes less time, but more importantly for patients, it’s a much safer procedure than you would get with a manual approach. The outcomes are now much better.”
Once seen as just a heart-rhythm problem that leaves people with shortness of breath, fatigue and an increased risk of stroke and heart problems, Afib now is known to cause debilitating strokes, and is linked with dementia and decreased cognitive function. “It’s also the arrhythmia that’s most common in the elderly population, so the impact is bigger in the valley,” he adds.
Bhakta, who serves as chair of Desert Regional’s board of governors, is excited that he and his team are working with engineers at Stereotaxis, the company that makes the magnetic navigation system the lab uses, testing new technologies and working with engineers to develop techniques to make the procedures faster and more efficient.
“Our lab,” Bhakta boasts, “now has the most cutting-edge technology for treating Afib in the world.”
VIDEO: Dr. Hetal R. Bhakta speaks to his inspiration to become a doctor.