10-Minute Interview:
Renzo M. Cataldo, MD
Arizona Arrhythmia Consultants
Phoenix, Arizona

Interviewed by Jodie Miller
Interviewed by Jodie Miller
Dr. Cataldo has been at Arizona Heart Institute (AHI) since 2001. AHI is known for many of its milestones, including being the first hospital in the world to offer the Powerheart fully automatic external cardioverter defibrillators and also the first in Arizona to implant the Frontier 3x2 heart failure pacemaker used in ventricular resynchronization therapy. Dr. Cataldo is a frequent author of numerous abstracts and manuscripts. He previously served as Director of Electrophysiology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Please describe your medical background and education. Why did you choose to work in the field of electrophysiology? After having grown up in New York City, my family moved to Italy, where I attended medical school at the Universita' di Trieste. After graduating, I moved back to New York City where I completed internship at St Vincent's Medical Center on Staten Island and residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. I then moved to Salt Lake City and completed my Cardiology and EP fellowship at the University of Utah. After training, my first job was at Loyola University Medical Center just outside of Chicago, but the cold drove me away. My wife and I then moved to Albuquerque, where I was on faculty at the University of New Mexico, and was later in private practice with Southwest Cardiology Associates. Finally, I moved to Phoenix, where there was an opportunity with a great EP-only single specialty group later to be called Arizona Arrhythmia Associates. I chose electrophysiology in medical school because it just made sense to me. At that time, there was no such thing as ablations, but as I continued in my training, I realized that not only can I work in an area that was fascinating, but I could actually CURE something! I'm also saving people from suddenly dying, which is the main reason why we all chose medicine, isn't it? What are your areas of specialty in EP? I guess I could consider myself as a General Electrophysiologist, if there were ever such a thing. I suppose I most enjoy the challenge of figuring out complex arrhythmias and ablating them forever. What has been your most rewarding experience in practicing medicine as of yet? Saving someone's life is always the most rewarding experience. The first time I successfully resuscitated someone as an intern was probably the most rewarding of all. It still keeps me going. What kind of improvements or changes have been made in your facility? Of course, technical and technological advances happen all the time and are very important. However, the most important improvement in our hospitals has been the understanding on the part of all involved (other physicians, nurses and hospital staff, administrators and patients) that EP has come of age and is here to stay. Without that, our specialty would still be regarded as small, obscure and voodoo-like. Is your lab involved in any clinical trials? Our group is involved in multiple clinical trials (conceptual as well as technological). Without these trials, I would feel much less stimulated to continuously improve the way we treat our patients. What is your best piece of advice to give to others in the field of electrophysiology? The best advice to give to others in EP probably applies to all in medicine. Never forget that it's all about the patient. The moment that I start think about my patients as cases and not real people is the moment that I'll hang it up and go fishing. What technology and/or procedures in EP do you find most promising? I think the most promising technology is ablation of atrial fibrillation. It's the most common arrhythmia and can be devastating. There is a whole lot of people with atrial fibrillation, and now we have a cure with success rates approaching what is considered excellent.