Fellow Spotlight: Shadi Kalantarian, MD

Shadi Kalantarian, MD
Photo credit: Josh Edelson

Dr. Shadi Kalantarian knew she wanted to become a cardiologist at age 13, when her mother needed a pacemaker – which at that time was difficult to obtain in their home country of Iran.

She earned her medical degree from Shahid Beheshti University School of Medicine in Tehran, then earned her master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. She served as an electrophysiology research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston before completing her internal medicine residency at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

In her research, she has investigated links between atrial fibrillation – the most common abnormal heart rhythm – and cognitive impairment. There may be factors, such as high inflammatory markers, which predispose patients to develop both atrial fibrillation and dementia. However, another hypothesis is that small blood clots originating in the heart travel to the brain, causing “silent” strokes. “If we find that atrial fibrillation contributes to dementia, maybe we should think about giving blood thinners to lower-risk patients to help prevent dementia,” said Dr. Kalantarian. “There are still so many questions that need to be answered.”

Thus far in her cardiology fellowship, Dr. Kalantarian has appreciated the collegial and welcoming atmosphere. “We have a wonderful group of fellows, and I have the most amazing preceptor,” she said. Dr. Kalantarian has enjoyed all her fellowship rotations so far, but has a particular interest in electrophysiology. Aside from medicine, she enjoys hiking, biking, and playing the Hang, a steel drum.