Top Doctors: Hudson Valley’s Best-Rated Doctors in 2012

Solid credentials, proven skill, and a compassionate bedside manner — these qualities are the hallmarks of a top-flight physician. Here are 145 local doctors in 38 specialties who — according to their peers — make the grade


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dr. sankar n. varanasi

Dr. Sankar N. Varanasi

Cardiac Electrophysiology, Poughkeepsie

The world of cardiac care is constantly changing as new technologies continue to evolve. Cardiac electrophysiology, which deals with the study and treatments involving the heart’s electrical activity, is no exception.

“This is a young field — only about 20 years old — and it’s expanding by leaps and bounds,” says Dr. Sankar N. Varanasi of the Hudson Valley Heart Center in Poughkeepsie, who specializes in clinical cardiac electrophysiology.

“Among the emerging technologies is remote navigation system, which we utilize in cardiac treatment. It uses a magnetic field to help navigate a tiny catheter that has electrodes mounted on the tip. This gives you an opportunity to navigate through portions of the heart you couldn’t reach during standard surgery. It’s less traumatic, and more precise,” says Varanasi. The technology is often used, he explains, in procedures that treat abnormal heart rhythms. “It increases our ability to perform the procedure more safely.”

» Click here to meet all of our 2012 Top Doctors (PDF opens in new window)

Varanasi, who grew up in India, went to Osmania Medical College there, and completed his internship at Mount Vernon Hospital when he came to the U.S. He did his internal medicine residency at Yale University’s Norwalk Hospital, and had fellowships at General Hospital Center at Passaic, New Jersey, Norwalk Hospital, and the University of Wisconsin.

“My father died of cardiac arrest in India, back in 1971,” says Varanasi. “He couldn’t afford medical care, and he would say that no patient should ever feel they can’t go to a doctor because they can’t afford it. In those days, even if he’d been in the U.S., the cardiac treatments weren’t nearly as good as they are now. But his situation was enough for me to want to go into medicine — to want to change that.”

A wide range of services fall under the umbrella of cardiac electrophysiology. “It involves cardiac pacemakers, automatic implantable cardiac defibrillators, ablations, and various other heart-monitoring devices and procedures.”

The newest type of high-tech pacemakers, Varanasi explains, are helping some patients with congestive heart failure by resynchronizing the heartbeat with more precision than ever before. “At one time, the only option for these patients might be a heart transplant; they would just die suddenly. This treatment has given back many patients’ quality of life, taken them off a heart-transplant list, and offers them lifesaving protection.”

Varanasi, who lives in the Poughkeepsie area with his family, adds that regardless of which treatment a heart patient receives, it can make a huge difference in their life. “Several patients have come back and told me, ‘I never realized how good I could feel, thanks to this procedure.’

“One 84-year-old patient had loved to travel but said he couldn’t anymore because of his health. He underwent a cardiac procedure, and now he’s traveling again; he sends me postcards saying how much the procedure has changed his life and how much he’s enjoying everything again. He’s doing more enjoyable things in life now then just spending time in doctors’ offices.”


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