2022 Top Doctor: Matthew E. Abrams, M.D.

Editorial StaffMarch 3, 2022
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft


Med School/Year Graduated: Tel Aviv University/1997

Years in Practice: 17

Neonatology is a new Top Docs category, but many readers are familiar with the specialty as a lifeline for premature babies. Do you also typically treat healthy, full-term babies? 

Yes, healthy term babies with retained lung fluid are some of the most common babies admitted to the NICU.

What are the most common issues you see with newborn patients?

There are 4 million births per year in the United States [and] about 10 percent of babies are born premature. The most common issues are retained lung fluid with breathing issues, need for oxygen and feeding tubes due to prematurity. We mainly deal with breathing issues and nutrition for the majority of the hospital stay.

Are premature births on the rise, decreasing or holding steady? 

Changes in preterm birth rates vary quite a bit by [region]. Although, reportedly, they declined during COVID, we did not see that in [the Valley].

What are the biggest factors contributing to premature births? 

Premature onset of labor and premature rupture of membranes [is the most common], then preeclampsia, which is when the mother has high blood pressure. Fetal growth restriction [is also a] common reason.

What other medical fields contribute to neonatology, besides self-evident ones like critical care and pediatrics? 

Pediatric cardiologists, pediatric surgeons, pediatric neurology, to name a few.

Can you think of a particularly gratifying experience with a patient?  

I’ve had many gratifying experiences throughout my career, but I had one patient that was born at term in the middle of the night and the umbilical cord was compressed. The baby did not have a heart rate at delivery and needed resuscitation and replacement of blood rapidly. She almost died but is now almost 10 and totally normal. The family calls and sends me pics every June.

What are your hobbies and interests outside medicine? 

I have five kids, and that keeps me pretty busy. But I’m in a band and play guitar and drums. I enjoy lifting weights and exercise as well.

What are you watching on Netflix these days? 

I’ve been watching Servant on Apple TV, the new season of Ozark on Netflix, and finished The Expanse on Amazon. In general, I like sci-fi shows.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…” 

A poor musician who probably wished he’d become a doctor.


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