Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sinai Doctor Authors New Book on Electrocardiography

Thanks to Sinai Hospital’s Director of Noninvasive Cardiology Romulo F. Baltazar, M.D., FACC, medical professionals and students now have a clear and comprehensive new tool in understanding and treating heart disease.

Electrocardiography (ECG) is one of the most important ways to determine the rate and regularity of heartbeats, the size and position of the heart's chambers, and whether damage exists. While there are textbooks outlining the basics of ECG interpretation and ones that explain how to treat a patient with specific coronary disease, Dr. Baltazar saw the need to have a book that combines both aspects. This led to the creation of Basic and Bedside Electrocardiography, published in April by Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

“Before, you could find a textbook that tells you how to diagnose atrial fibrillation, but then you have to turn to another one to figure out what you do for the patient,” he says. “This book gives you the information you need to do both.”

Each chapter begins with the basics and is designed for medical students, nurses and paramedical professionals. But then each section moves toward ways to treat diseases such as sinus node dysfunction, with that information targeted toward fellows, physician assistants, clinical cardiologists and others who need the latest practice guidelines.
Baltazar spent eight years writing, illustrating and editing the book.

“When I started, I didn’t even know how to scan,” he says. “I was the typist, author, and illustrator.”

Dr. Baltazar completed his residency at Sinai and became a member of the Division of Cardiology at Sinai in 1975. The Division of Cardiology is home to the Heart Center at Sinai. As Dr. Baltazar trained medical students and residents, he saw the need for a book with the “ABCs” of electrocardiography as well as the latest cardiology guidelines. He revised sections such as the one on acute coronary syndrome as new recommendations were published. So far, the response from residents and colleagues has been enthusiastic.

“This is my legacy for my career at Sinai,” Dr. Baltazar says.

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