2019 Top Doctor: Maulik Shah

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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

Cardiovascular Disease

Med School/Year Graduated: University of California at San Francisco, 2001
Years in Practice: 10

What inspired you to pursue a cardiovascular specialty?

When I was 8 years old, I was flown from Arizona to Boston Children’s Hospital for surgical treatment of a rare disease. I decided at that time that I wanted to become a doctor [who] could save critically ill people. As a cardiologist, it’s exciting and satisfying to treat patients with procedures that can save lives.

You’re board-certified in nuclear cardiology. What does that mean?

A nuclear stress test is a noninvasive test that can identify whether a person has a severe coronary narrowing. Being board-certified means that a cardiologist has been educated and tested on all the key information related to a nuclear stress test.

Can you explain, in layman’s terms, the difference between a “cardiovascular disease” specialty and “interventional cardiology”?

A cardiologist diagnoses and treats heart disease, usually without invasive procedures. A cardiologist can then go on to further become an interventional cardiologist by pursuing advanced training in invasive cardiac procedures. An interventional cardiologist like myself specializes in procedures such as opening up clogged arteries with stents and replacing heart valves.

Have you noticed an upward tick in any particular cardiologic condition since beginning your career? Are you performing one test or procedure more than most lately?

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in patients treated for aortic stenosis, which is when the aortic valve cannot open properly, and blood cannot leave the heart. Traditionally, the only way to treat aortic stenosis was with open-heart surgery. Now there’s a procedure that I perform called transcatheter aortic valve replacement that is less invasive, allows for faster recovery, and has excellent results.

You went to UC San Francisco and Stanford. What do you miss about the Bay Area?

I mostly miss the vibrance of being around Stanford, the entrepreneurial culture and the high-tech startup scene. I also definitely miss my Bay Area friends and the Palo Alto weather in the summer!

What are your favorite heart-healthy dishes at local restaurants? Any artery-clogging splurges?

My favorite heart-healthy dishes are the teriyaki quinoa with tofu at True Food Kitchen and the avocado toast at Original ChopShop. My artery-clogging weaknesses are the occasional deep-dish pizza at Oregano’s and the decadent S’mores in a Jar dessert at Ocean 44.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

The best part of my life is spending time with my family. I’m a big sports fan, particularly of the Suns and Cardinals. I also love to read The Wall Street Journal and watch CNBC.

What are you watching on Netflix these days?

The truth is that I usually don’t get to decide what to watch on Netflix as my wife is always making me watch The Crown and my kids are always demanding Llama Llama.

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