10-Minute Interview: Louis Janeira, MD

Interview by Jodie Elrod
Interview by Jodie Elrod
Dr. Louis Janeira is a practicing cardiac electrophysiologist with Community Heart and Vascular Physical in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is also a published author of two medical murder mysteries. In writing these books, Dr. Janeira hopes to teach the reader about the different cardiac and EP conditions with which Dr. Janeira deals daily. Learn more about Dr. Janeira and his writing career here. Tell us about your medical background and how you came to work in the field of electrophysiology. What interested you about this field? Arrhythmia interpretation and management always came easily to me. I started out as a paramedic. My team and I would respond to all kinds of emergencies. I felt the most comfortable with arrhythmia cases. I was the one my peers came to for help with interpretation of the unusual rhythm strips, the funny little beats. That was the case with my EMS peers as well as later with my medical student and resident counterparts. Describe your position as an electrophysiologist. What is a typical day like for you? I practice both general cardiology and electrophysiology. I see patients in the outpatient clinic and hospital. I provide EP consultations and perform ablations and implant devices. Tell us about your two published books, both medical murder mysteries. How did you get into writing? Part of my responsibilities is in-house call. While on call, there is, of course, down time as well. I read a lot of medical journals and, occasionally, have some time for pleasure reading. I particularly enjoy medical murder mysteries. My favorite authors are Robin Cook, MD, Michael Palmer, MD and Tess Gerritsen, MD, all doctors turned fiction writers. One day while on call, I thought I'd try it myself — to write a medical murder mystery. I just published my second book. The first book, First Do No Harm, tells the story of an electrophysiologist, Dr. Jack Norris, whose best friend was murdered in the hospital. The local police, then the FBI, ask Dr. Norris to help with the investigation. Together, they uncover a web of terrorism involving several agents. One is killed, another imprisoned for life, but the third one escapes. He returns in the second book, a stand-alone sequel, Seconds From Revenge, bent on retribution. Explain how you incorporate electrophysiology-related conditions and information into your books. Also, do you have another novel in the works? Dr. Jack Norris uses his medical knowledge to derive clues to help the authorities bring the bad guys to justice. In the background of the obviously fictional material of the book, there lie medical facts designed to teach the reader about cardiology and electrophysiology topics. I am now working on my third book. Writing fiction has become a relaxing activity for me, sure to unwind the worries of everyday stresses. What is one of the more unusual EP cases that you have worked on? I began my EP career with intra-operative mapping of arrhythmias. Before radiofrequency ablations, patients with accessory pathways (WPW syndrome) would be taken to the operating room (OR) and extensive mapping would be carried out to locate the area responsible for the arrhythmia in the hopes of curing the problem. Nowadays, I have returned to the OR to help cardiothoracic surgeons map the hearts of patients with atrial fibrillation for whom a Wolf MiniMaze minimally-invasive surgical ablation is chosen. Going back to intra-operative OR mapping has allowed me to re-think some of the “old days.” What aspects of your work do you find most rewarding? What motivates you to continue your work in EP? Arrhythmia management continues to be personally rewarding for me. I love to get to know the patients and their families as we discuss the management options. Unlike many other fields of medicine, in electrophysiology we can often offer the patient a cure, rather than a lifetime of medications designed to control the problem. This continues to provide me with positive endorphin stimulation and a strong desire to continue to come to work every day. What advancements do you hope to see in the field of cardiac electrophysiology in the next five years? What specific areas of EP and/or patient care need more attention? We have come a long way in electrophysiology. I hope to see further enhancement of our techniques to make them safer and more effective, so as to be able to cure more and more patients with diverse health problems and issues. What advice would you give to others in EP who are currently at the start of their career? My advice to those starting out in EP, or other medical fields, has more to do with family and personal non-professional goals than professional ones. It is very easy to get engulfed in the chase of professional dreams and goals, that we often neglect our growing children and supportive spouses. My now-retired partner asked me to ponder as to whether once on my death bed, will I wish to have done one extra device implantation or ablation or have taken the kids to Disney World or cruise one extra time? The question made me stop and think about what really is important to me. The right balance between career and family is difficult to define and sustain, but so incredibly important — perhaps the most important of all. Has anyone in particular been helpful to you in your growth as an electrophysiologist? In addition, what medical textbooks or online EP resources have you utilized that you can recommend? The important people in my career were my mentor, Dr. Anthony Damato, one of the pioneers in electrophysiology with his extensive work about the AV node physiology, and Dr. Dan Adams, my friend and ex-partner who dared me to ponder the above question about my probable wishes when on my death bed. That question helped me re-define my goals and, I believe, made me a better person. For more information, please visit: www.JanEiraBooks.com Interested in reading these books? The author would like to offer our readers a special discount of $5 off per book! Please type in the code “EP Lab Digest” in the “Add Special Instruction To Merchant” link on the website to get the discounted price. The book is also available at www.amazon.com, www.bn.com and others.