We sat down with renowned interventional cardiologist Dr. Anuj R. Shah to learn more about his road to success. Dr. Shah is one of the youngest interventional cardiologists to perform 10,000 cases. The Founder of Apex Heart and Vascular also just completed 1,000 vein cases.
Dr. Anuj R. Shah is a renowned interventional Cardiovascular Disease Specialist and the Founder and director of Apex Heart and Vascular Care. Dr. Shah is recognized as one of the leading interventional cardiology experts in performing procedures such as Angiography, Angioplasty, Atherectomy, percutaneous LVAD, Peripheral Angiography, Laser venous ablation and foam sclerotherapy. He currently resides in Lower Manhattan.
We caught up with Dr. Shah to learn more about how he got started.
Dr. Shah worked as a vascular director at several institutes for 4-5 years after training, and he has completed more than 10K cases. “I am probably one of the few interventional cardiologists under the age of 40 to get to that number in the Northeast,” said Dr. Shah.
He began his career as the vascular director of a few prestigious institutes at the age of 29 and focused on helping people with cardiac and vascular ailments. “I trained at one of the top interventional cardiology institutes performing and fixing complex blockages in the heart and legs at high volume centers,” said Dr. Shah.
He has published over 50 abstracts in cardiology and got trained under the biggest names in interventional cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
We were eager to learn how this cardiology leader and Lower Manhattan resident paved the way to success on his medical journey helping patients.
How did your parents shape your career as an interventional cardiologist?
Dr. Shah: I grew up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Both of my parents were pediatricians and my Dad (Dr. Raju C. Shah) is a very successful academic. He is President of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, an organization of 2,800 plus pediatricians, and he has authored multiple papers, abstracts and book chapters. I was always inspired by my parent’s desire to help others. Growing up, I spent weekends rounding at the hospital with my Dad instead of typical childhoood activities. The word “no” didn’t exist in his vocabulary, so no matter who needed his help, whether it was a really poor farmer from a remote village whose child was dying or an ambitious junior attending who was looking for a mentor – my Dad was always there to help them!
How has heart disease impacted you personally?
Dr. Shah: My own personal tragedies with heart disease have had a tremendous impact on my career. My uncle passed away suddenly at the age of 55 from a heart attack, leaving my cousins and wife behind. Last year, one of my best friends from high school died at the age of 38 from a massive heart attack.
Heart disease and plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) is very common in Southeast Asians. I am passionate about researching what makes us vulnerable as Southeast Asians and what we can do to prevent it and detect heart disease earlier.
What made you decide to launch your own private practice?
Dr. Shah: After working for large healthcare organizations for years, I realized that the need for change in the healthcare system is necessary and inevitable, but it is very slow at large organizations. Often, large healthcare organizations (HCO’s) suffer from bureaucracy like any other corporation. Despite being in leadership roles at the hospitals I worked being in leadership roles at the hispitals I worked at, I felt like I was riding an elephant.
It is possible to steer the elephant with patience and persistence, but it would take time and the changes would be slow. For example, you would know that certain new technologies and innovations are needed for better and more comprehensive patient care, but bringing this technology to large HCO’s would require jumping through a lot of hoops, red tape and a stringent approval process.
What are some problems with the current healthcare system in America?
Dr. Shah: We live in a very challenging time when major healthcare decisions are determined based on some numbers on an Excel spreadsheet, rather than keeping the patient’s best interest in mind.
Additionally, many Americans do not realize that people in larger cities and more desirable places to live will end up receiving better healthcare facilities and a better talent pool of doctors. Underserved and urban areas with poorly insured patients are less likely to get talented doctors and state-of-the-art facilities.
Once I realized this, I decided to build a cardiology and vascular practice focused on patient care that could cater to these underserved populations. I wanted to bring world-class expertise to underserved areas in New Jersey. I take care of many patients with no insurance.
After 7 years of working in hospitals such as Good Samaritan Hospital, Mount Sinai and Hackensack, I started my own private practice, Apex Heart and Vascular Care in 2018. Apex is a cardiology and vascular practice in New Jersey that provides cutting edge cardiovascular care.
I also launched a vein restoration clinic in New Jersey for patients with painful or unsightly varicose veins. I help patients live without any symptoms and with confidence. Vein restoration clinic focuses on vascular care. This means getting detected for venous insufficiency, preventing venous insufficiency and varicose veins from health so that people feel less leg pain, swelling and other symptoms. Vein restoration clinic also performs cosmetic vein procedures to help with aesthetics.
We innovate and constantly change and adapt. For example, if someone has high blood pressure, and they come to our office, we not only treat them, but we also spend a lot of time explaining to them how they developed high blood pressure and what they can do differently. Our clinicians stay in touch with the patients to motivate them to take charge of their health and modify their lifestyle.
Dr. Shah currently teaches residents, medical students and fellows at various institutes and previously served an Assistant professor of medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in addition to running Apex Vascular. 10,000 cases later, Dr. Shah enjoys spending time in clinical care and building a state-of-the-art cardiovascular practice. He is currently researching the risde of Artificial Intelligence in the field of cardiology.
He holds seven board certifications in Cardiology and Interventional Cardiology. Dr. Shah graduated from one of the top universities in India, Gujarat University, in 2003 with six gold medals and honors. He completed a residency and fellowship at University of Connecticut and published mroe than 50 articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals. He was trained in complex cardiac and vascular cases at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Dr. Shah won The Young Investigator Award from American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and has spoken at several national cardiology conferences on cariogenic shock. Dr. Shah has held leadership positions including Director of Vascular Interventions at Good Samaritan Hospital and Bon Secours Hospital in NY. He also served as the Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Mounth Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Shah currently has hospital privileges and performs interventional procedures at the Hackensack University Medical Center, St. Mary’s Medical Center, St. Michael’s Medical Center, and Englewood Hospital. He specialized in the treatment of circulatory disease, varicose veins, swelling of the legs, and venous ulcers. Dr. Shah holds seven board certifications in Coronay and peripheral vascular interventions, Level II Echocardiography, Level II Nuclear Cardiology, Level II Vascular Ultrasound Interpretation, Leven II Coronary CT Angiography and ABI/PVR Analysis. Dr. Shah is the President of Bergen Indian Medical Association. Dr. Shah has been named a “Top Physician” in the 2015 edition of Leading Physician of the World and has been among the “Top Doctors of New Jersey” since 2015. He was recently featured on Healthline on Artificial Intelligence and AFIB.