Fostering a relationship with patients

With specialty training in heart imaging, cardiologist Farhana Kazi, M.D., F.A.C.C, sees a full spectrum of heart disease patients, including those with pregnancy-related heart conditions, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, preventive cardiac care and heart valve disorders.

Most patients with heart ailments need heart imaging as part of the diagnostic process, but Dr. Kazi knows that high-level patient care calls for more than performing routine procedures. Fostering a relationship with her patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas is equally important, she notes.

“I spend a lot of time in the clinic talking to my patients,” Dr. Kazi says. “I believe it’s important to get to know my patients and to take a holistic approach to their health – not just to treat the heart problem.”

Dr. Kazi spends some of that time together educating her patients. “Patient education is extremely important as their understanding of disease will help us make a shared decision about their disease management,” she says.

She has a particular interest in working with women, who often have psychological or stress-related issues that make their heart disease symptoms more elusive or that keep them from seeking help. “These issues need to be addressed to keep women healthy, whether they have heart disease or not,” Dr. Kazi says.

She often collaborates with colleagues who specialize in nutrition, weight loss, sleep disorders, diabetes, psychology, and other areas that contribute to heart problems.

Being a wife and working mother of three helps her relate to her patients. “I’m blessed that I have the opportunity to work and take care of my kids, and that’s a big component of what I do: balancing life and work.”

A supportive environment is key for dealing with heart disease, she says. “I can provide all the medical advice in the world, but for most people heart health doesn’t improve until they’re ready to make a lifestyle change. And people need support in order to make change.”

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