Personal tragedy gave Dr. Anuj R. Shah a passion educate society on the dangers of diabetes and related illnesses.
What’s your story?
I am an interventional cardiologist and founder of Apex Heart and Vascular. I am committed to educating patients on diabetes management and uncontrolled sugar levels. I teach the public why it is important to keep sugar in check and how diabetes can lead to peripheral arterial disease and amputation. My ultimate goal is to educate the public both locally and nationally about diabetes and amputation prevention. I also started being a guest on other people’s podcasts and doing webinars.My goal is to share the dangers of unchecked sugar levels and why it is so important to get tested for PAD.
What excites you most about your industry?
AI & High-Tech Cardiology Advancements. What excites me most about my industry is AI and the speed of innovation in technology and cardiology.
Artificial Intelligence in cardiology is rapidly expanding and we are already preparing ourselves to be immersed with the new technology when it becomes commercially available.
Some of our high-tech cardiology solutions include:
• Digital stethoscopes that can do EKG’s
• Machines that offer remote monitoring
• Imaging technology to share a patient’s ultrasound
• Angiogram images on a seamless cloud-based platform so patients can look at their heart and vasculature on their mobile devices
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
Heart Disease has impacted me personally.
My 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. A few years ago, 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 have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Business is a spiritual practice. Most businesses fail not because they were bad businesses, but because the leaders didn’t have the right mindset to begin with. You can’t grow a business unless you first grow as a person. If you want to lead others, you have to lead yourself first.
Stress Management. Stress is a known factor for poor cardiac health. People with higher stress end up having a wide variety of cardiac problems including hypertension, arrhythmia’s and congestive heart failure. Entrepreneurs in constant stress can end up making lifestyle decisions that can impact their cardiac health.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Legs are the window to the heart.” -Dr. Anuj R. Shah
One thing I always tell my patients is that legs are the window to the heart. This advice can help save someone’s life, but also their limbs, too. My focus is on saving limbs and saving lives. Most people only focus on blockages in the heart, and many blockages in the legs are overlooked, which can lead to dire consequences in diabetic patients, including amputation. I have started writing extensively on peripheral artery disease and peripheral vascular disease to educate the public on vascular disease and diabetes.
Who inspires you?
Both of my parents were pediatricians and my Dad is a very successful academic. 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 childhood 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.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
Always innovate and look for new ways to help people. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted private practices around the country; many reporting dramatic declines in revenue, even forcing some offices to unfortunately close due to inability to pay overheads. Like many other private practices, telemedicine has helped my team and I to continue to render care to our patients. Although the concept of telemedicine is nothing new, it did take us time to adjust and find ways to make our patients feel comfortable using this technology. Telemedicine is a valuable tool for rendering comprehensive patient care in our practice’s future.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Document everything from the start so that the people around you can learn your surgical techniques. I have recently started documenting procedures via video so that other medical students can watch the case and learn from the surgical techniques.
I enjoy educating other providers including doctors, PA’s and NP’s as well as medical residents and fellows about top advances in the field of cardiology and vascular disease. Social audio has made it possible to reach more people in a very targeted manner. It is a very exciting time to be a cardiologist. These mediums will help doctors reach more people.
How do you unwind?
Meditation and Mindfulness. We know that there are definite advantages of calming the mind for blood pressure, cholesterol, arrhythmias and overall cardiovascular health.
Gratitude. As an interventional cardiologist, I work on some of the most challenging clinical cases including amputations resulting from peripheral arterial disease (PAD). When you are running a business in private practice, it puts things into perspective. An attitude of gratitude is critical to get through the day when dealing with such extreme cases of cardiovascular disease. Business issues pale in comparison to the life or death moments people are faced with daily.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
To achieve your goals of educating the public, you need to be amenable to utilizing new vehicles to reach your audience. Many doctors like to do the same traditional ways of reaching people-but Covid changed that for me, so I was forced to innovate and adapt. To educate people about the dangers of diabetes complications and amputation, I turned to new channels like social audio to host conversations with other practitioners and wound care specialists.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Diabetic Foot: Preventing Loss and Amputation by Michael J Marcus and David G Armstrong
My educational articles on PAD/ PVD/ Amputation:
Diabetes Complications: https://www.apexheartandvascular.com/diabetes-complications
Peripheral Vascular Disease: https://www.apexheartandvascular.com/peripheral-vascular-disease
Peripheral Arterial Disease & Amputation Prevention:
Shameless plug for your business:
I hold multiple Board certifications and I am experienced in complex procedures. I specialize in placing Impella catheters and percutaneous left ventricular assist devices (artificial heart pumps). I use percutaneous artificial heart devices to support patients during severe cardiogenic shock and during complex procedures and coronary intervention. This enables me to help open blockages for people who are considered too high risk for open heart surgery (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft). I had one of the highest volumes of Impella in the state of New Jersey.
How can people connect with you?
DR. ANUJ R. SHAH MD
FOUNDER, APEX HEART AND VASCULAR
PRACTICE LOCATION: PASSAIC, NEW JERSEY
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.