Bradley Knight, MD
- Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology with a goal of maintaining the EP Program as the premier program in the region.
- Inspired by Calvin Coolidge’s quote from Press On: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence”.
What are your research interests?
The Heart Rhythm Program at Northwestern is actively investigating several areas in the field from a basic, translational, and clinical perspective. The group is interested in catheter ablation for AF, intracardiac imaging, epicardial ablation, and noninvasive methods to predict sudden cardiac arrest. We have started to tackle AF with catheter ablation over the past ten years. However, we still use many of the same tools and approaches that were developed in the late 1980s to ablate small targets such as accessory pathways for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. In the near future, customized ablation tools for complex arrhythmias like AF and ventricular tachycardia will be developed. We are a high-volume center that can serve as a proving ground for new technologies in the EP laboratory.
You went to school in Ohio and Michigan. What made you come to Northwestern?
I went to the Ohio State University for Medical School and to the University of Michigan from Residency and Fellowship. Joining Northwestern was attractive because of its focus on patient care and the clinical delivery system in general. Specifically, I was attracted to Northwestern’s support for Cardiovascular Medicine with a well-developed cardiovascular service line in the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. I live in Evanston and I am a fan of the Big Ten and its outstanding institutions.
Please elaborate on your interest in heart rhythm disorders:
- When did you become interested in arrhythmias?
I found heart rhythm disorders fascinating very early in my medical training. Taking care of patients with arrhythmias continues to be highly rewarding because we have therapies that are curative and can markedly improve quality of life.
- What advances have we seen over the last couple of years?
In the past decade the field of heart rhythm disorders has focused primarily on atrial fibrillation, pacing for heart failure, and prevention of sudden cardiac death. In the last couple of years technologic advances in mapping systems, remote catheter navigation, implantable devices, and intracardiac imaging have helped us tackle arrhythmias more effectively and more efficiently.
- Where do you think the field is going?
Atrial fibrillation is an epidemic. Five percent of patients over age 65 years have AF, and the prevalence is rising as patients live longer and risk factors such as obesity become more common.
What was the hardest part of your fellowship training? What helped you get through it?
The practice of electrophysiology is heavily based on minimally invasive surgical procedures including pacemaker and defibrillator implantation, and catheter-based ablation procedures. The hardest part of fellowship training was developing the procedural skills needed to perform these procedures safely and effectively after a mostly cognitively-based internal medicine residency. Internal medicine training must continue to teach procedural and surgical skills so that those who choose invasive specialties have a solid skill set before fellowship. As physicians who come up through internal medicine programs, rather than surgical programs, adopt increasingly invasive and complex procedures, it is important that simple skills such as suturing and central line placement be part of the curriculum for all medical doctors.
I grew up in Columbus Ohio and attended Ohio State for Medical School, so I have been an Ohio State fan for some time. Ohio State football is like a religion in Columbus. I was also lucky enough to attend the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill for college when Michael Jordan was playing and continue to follow UNC basketball. My kids and I have become Bears and Blackhawks fans since moving to Chicago seven years ago.