Robert Battle, MD: Treating Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy as a Sports Cardiologist


Robert Battle, MD, is a professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Virginia Health Systems and serves as a heart specialist for the University of Virginia, James Madison University, and different schools. He is also co-director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center of Excellence and director of sports cardiology there.

He started his career operating with adults with a congenital heart ailment. However, he has elevated to paintings in pediatric cardiology, sports cardiology, and cardiovascular structural genetics.

Do you have got a private history in sports and athletics?

There aren’t many sports activities I haven’t completed. I changed into the most valuable player on my university lacrosse team; I played soccer, baseball, and soccer in high school. I’m now a bike owner, snowboarder, move USA skier, and swimmer. I swim three miles a day usually. Staying healthy for me has been what’s saved me in the sport. It’s stored me happy in lifestyles and balanced in lifestyles so that when I was given to my health facility, and I’m running late, I’m okay and feel properly.

It’s splendid what can manifest in remedy whilst humans lose that stability, you don’t get sufficient daylight, you’re sitting below an incandescent light all day lengthy, you’re sitting around analyzing x-rays, and it can lead to a bad way of life. So, I practice what I pontificate, and having performed all those sports, and I can query athletes proper down to the nitty-gritty.

What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most commonplace genetic cardiovascular disease affecting more than 1 in 500, so there are literally 750,000 to 1 million Americans affected by this. It’s an abnormality that’s a touch bit specific, the coronary heart muscle is thicker than every day, and it’s genetic, so the genetics of it is such that when you have a child, and you have the gene, you give your child a 50% hazard of having that. The heart muscle is strangely hypertrophied and thickened, and it usually capabilities thoroughly; however, it can result in heart failure and unexpected loss of life.

I have a genetics counselor, and we’re very lively in that region, and we cope with families. So, I actually have a joint appointment in pediatric and personal remedy to sincerely bridge the gap and notice families.

Do you spot sufferers with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy long-time period?
Absolutely. It’s longitudinal care, so that’s what I do essentially. So, the younger patients—I’ll see many of them for years and continue to see them so long as I exercise. So, you’re speaking about many years of care, and one of the matters that’s exciting is you notice a teenager become a grownup, become an expert, have an own family, and get married. It’s sincerely interesting to see people transition as they grow older because, in fashionable adult cardiology, you’ll see older sufferers with a coronary disorder. To me, this is far extra thrilling, a long way more fluid, some distance extra dynamic, and there are a whole lot of troubles I have to deal with. I must deal with being pregnant; we do fetal echocardiography to ensure the child’s now not affected; you need to cope with dental hygiene because those hearts can get infected. We go disciplines because many of them have liver disease and problems with employability or insurability, and we try to assist with the one’s problems.

Communicating with sufferers is essential for any issuer. As someone who, on occasion, works with sufferers from early life through to adulthood, how do you control that dating?
As they say in a medicinal drug, ninety% of the time, the solution lies in a completely cautious history, and I keep in mind that communication with the affected person. Let them articulate what they want to say. Say, for instance, you have a young patient with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy like a fundamental school kid. What occurs with the ones kids as they grow old? In many instances, their parents have performed all of the speakings, and commonly, the providers are used to speaking to the mother and father and no longer talking to the children. And so, as they become older, if you retain that sample, you make a big mistake.

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I had a younger adolescent a few years ago who turned into very volatile, very reactive, very tough to manipulate. He had something known as coarctation of the aorta, and he wouldn’t go to medical doctor’s appointments, and his mother brought him in once, and they just checked me out, and she said, “you recognize Dr. Battle you’re the most effective doctor he’ll see.” And I requested why is that, and they stated I’m the only person who talks to him, and that was a, without a doubt, thrilling lesson for me. It’s thrilling due to the fact parents that have been placed via the ringer with a younger baby with virtually complicated congenital coronary heart disorder—in equity to them, they’ve been via hell and excessive water for years to get that infant into maturity, so it’s herbal that they would go to medical doctor’s appointments and try to figure out what’s going on and speak about what their toddler is experiencing and all that kind of stuff. So, there’s an everyday dynamic there; however, the mother and father can permit their youngsters to grow and enter the discussion—they’re generally those you get the great effects for.

What is the value of experience with regards to being concerned for sufferers with an extraordinary genetic circumstance?
Medical doctors might see patients with these situations in the old days—perhaps 2 or three a 12 months and perhaps even fewer than that. They had little, or no enjoy the situations. People now want to look at companies that might be skilled and notice a huge volume of those conditions to get the quality feasible care as opposed to simply going to any medical doctor that perspectives it as precise and one of a kind; however, might not have very a whole lot enjoy in it.

I’m 62 years old now, and the single maximum vital trainer in the medicinal drug is enjoyed, and it’s no longer even near. I don’t care how much you read and look at or how plenty of literature you peruse; in case you don’t see patients and you’re now not uncovered, you’re not going to realize what to do under certain conditions. So, to me, matters are changing now. With scientific schooling, there are masses of limitations. Your access can be constrained via the quantity of time you’re allowed to paintings or this kind of form of matter, and that’s why I trust in being truly busy clinically. It’s sincerely important for physicians to have those at-bats. As I appearance lower back on my profession, you didn’t understand as lots as you notion you did whilst you were younger, there’s no question about that. It’s like that old-line shape Ron Stewart, “I wish I knew what I understand now after I turned into more youthful.”