Silver Cross cardiologist shares her own heart experience, expertise

Dr. Reema Sheth is skilled in transradial cardiac catheterization

Dr. Reema Sheth, who is in practice with the Heart Care Centers of Illinois and on staff at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, is among the 4% of interventional cardiologists who are women.

Only 4% of interventional cardiologists are women, and one is part of the staff at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.

Dr. Reema Sheth, who is in practice with the Heart Care Centers of Illinois and works at Silver Cross, has been both a provider and patient.

Sheth was born with a congenital heart defect that required open-heart surgery and follow-up with a cardiologist.

Patients, especially those facing bypass surgery, relax when they realize their cardiologist has “a large scar down my chest,” Sheth said.

“I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of cardiac care,” she said.

Sheth will discuss “Preventing Heart Disease” from 5 to 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Silver Cross Conference Center. The event is free, but registration is required.

Heart attacks are not a 9-to-5 thing. They are not scheduled. They come at any time of the day, and you just have to be ready and prepared to help treat your patient at any time, and be accepting of that and flexible in doing so.”

—  Dr. Reema Sheth, interventional cardiologist, Silver Cross Hospital and Heart Care Centers of Illinois

According to the American College of Cardiology website, only 18% of cardiology fellows, 10% to 15% of practicing cardiologists and 4% of interventional cardiologists are women.

Sheth practices general cardiology and performs procedures on patients who need stents to open up blockages. She is skilled in the transradial approach for cardiac catheterizations.

With the transradial approach, the surgeon inserts the catheter “through the wrist, up the arm and then down the heart,” Sheth said.

The femoral approach goes through the femoral artery and straight up to the heart, she said.

“Sometimes we have to go femoral anyway,” Sheth said. “I just try to go for radial as much for the patient as I can. It’s better for the patient.”

Sheth said the risk for bleeding is reduced with the transradial approach than the femoral approach. It’s a good procedure for smaller, older woman, since they have the highest risk for bleeding, Sheth said. The transradial approach also is more comfortable for patients and “more technically challenging for the surgeon,” she said.

Sheth said she never seriously considered health care as a career until college.

Why interventional cardiology

“I followed up with cardiologist regularly, and that always piqued some interest,” Sheth said. “I have family in medicine, so that was always a nice exposure to the field. Once I got to college, I really gravitated toward sciences.”

Sheth graduated from Michigan State University and earned her medical degree from the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, according to the Silver Cross website.

“I researched under other physicians in the lab at Michigan State,” she said. “I majored in physiology and then applied to medical school.

“I loved cardiology. I loved doing procedures. It was a no-brainer to go into interventional cardiology. You’re not only preventing the disease, you’re finding the disease and treating the disease.”

Sheth said she initially studied internal medicine, where she loved the medical aspects of the human body and exposure to different medical fields. But her own “heart” was rooted in cardiology, and she spent an additional year with interventional training, she said.

Even though women still are underrepresented in cardiology, Sheth said, she was never treated any differently from her male peers. Good mentoring plays a role in diversifying the field, according to the American College of Cardiology.

“As cheesy as it sounds, I really do wake up excited to go to work every day,” Sheth said. “I love working with my hands. I love doing procedures.”

Dr. Reema Sheth, who is in practice with the Heart Care Centers of Illinois and on staff at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, is among the 4% of interventional cardiologists who are women.

She completed her internal medicine residency at McLaren Greater Lansing and her cardiology and interventional cardiology fellowship at Michigan State University/Sparrow Hospital, where Sheth was elected chief cardiology fellow, according to the Silver Cross website.

Sheth also is board certified in echocardiography and cardiac nuclear medicine, according to the Silver Cross website. She is skilled in intravascular lithotripsy, intravascular ultrasound and atherectomy, according to a news release from Silver Cross Hospital.

She said cardiology is a great field for “instant gratification” and for seeing patients “from beginning to end.”

“You really get to them to have better medical care and quality of life,” Sheth said.

Sheth said the role comes with “a lot of adrenaline” and a time crunch to ensure patents get optimal care as quickly as possible. The faster the care, the higher chance of recovery, she said.

“Heart attacks are not a 9-to-5 thing,” Sheth said. “They are not scheduled. They come at any time of the day, and you just have to be ready and prepared to treat your patient at any time, and be accepting of that and flexible in doing so.”

In her free time, Sheth likes to read (especially murder mysteries, science fiction and romantic comedies), cook (everything from Italian to Mexican to Indian), and travel with her husband.

She encouraged all genders to attend the Feb. 28 discussion about preventing heart disease. She said it’s important for everyone to understand the gender-specific risk factors and symptoms and then be prepared to act if they experience them.

“Don’t hesitate,” Sheth said. “We’re always available and here to help, even if it’s just preventative care. There’s no too simple of a question. See you in the office.”

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Preventing Heart Disease

WHEN: 5 to 6 p.m. Feb. 28

WHERE: Silver Cross Conference Center, Silver Cross Hospital – Pavilion A

1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox

REGISTER: Visit silvercross.org.