Eric J. Velazquez, MD, is chief of cardiovascular medicine for Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital, physician-in-chief of the Yale New Haven Health System Heart and Vascular Center. He leads more than 150 specialists who focus on every area of cardiac medicine, tapping into a broad array of tools, technologies, and expertise.
A practicing cardiologist himself, Dr. Velazquez is an internationally recognized authority in heart failure, cardiovascular clinical trials, and cardiac imaging, and he has a passion for treating patients with coronary disease. He says the earlier a patient seeks help for fatigue, shortness of breath, and other key symptoms, the more a cardiologist can help.
“We are fortunate today that medical and device therapies, as well as surgical approaches that were only being tested a couple of decades ago, are now available to patients routinely,” says Dr. Velazquez, who was inspired to become a cardiologist, in part, by his own family history of the disease. “I tell patients, ‘Don’t dismiss your symptoms. If we diagnose your disease before it becomes advanced, there's so much more we can apply to your care that might make your future life much better.’”
The Robert W. Berliner Professor of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Velazquez has been involved in such areas as population health, community care, genetics, discovery science, and translational and clinical research—all of which he says feed into better care for heart disease. “For example, in population health, we track patients who have had heart attacks and other heart-related problems, and this has given us information that we can use to better evaluate health and mitigate the progression of disease,” he says.
Dr. Velazquez has made major contributions as a clinical investigator in the design, development, and implementation of landmark clinical trials that have altered international guidelines and the treatment of patients with chronic heart failure. He sees this type of work thriving at Yale. “I’m very fortunate to be at the helm of a group of doctors who wake up every day and think about the patients they're going to see—and at the same time, pay attention to what it is about each encounter that they can look at critically, improve upon, and maybe apply in a research setting with the goal of bringing it back to a future patient,” he says.