This November, we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Padegimas to our team. Dr. Padegimas has exceptional training and brings her unique clinical expertise in the areas of cardio-oncology and general cardiovascular disease in women.
Below is an interview where she introduces herself and shares why she enjoys the field of cardiology.
I grew up in Woodbury, Connecticut, and attended Yale University where I majored in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. I attended medical school in St. Louis at Washington University School of Medicine. I then returned to the east coast to complete an Internal Medicine residency at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. I remained there to do my Cardiovascular fellowship, serve as chief fellow, and complete additional fellowships in Cardio-Oncology and Advanced Echocardiography.
I have always been driven to find a career in helping people and, to me, health is the most important thing. With good health, you can be happy with little else and with poor health, it is hard to be happy even if you have everything else. Medicine is a wonderful field in that we doctors get the privilege to spend our days meeting interesting people, have the opportunity to make people better, and tackle the challenges of new breakthroughs on the horizon. In the end, nothing is more important than accomplishing something for the good of others, and medicine is that vehicle for me.
Medical school and residency afford the opportunity to step into many different specialties, and I realized that long-term patient relationships was a privilege and honor that I wanted in my eventual career. I enjoy cardiology because it is a field that provides varied approaches to improving patient symptoms and survival. The heart is vitally important not only to ensuring that people feel their best and most energetic selves, but also that they are around to enjoy life’s precious moments with their families. Heart disease also affects everyone – all races, ages, incomes, and genders, and I enjoy getting to work with a diverse patient population.
I am specifically interested in cardio-oncology and general cardiovascular disease in women. Many women in my life have gone through treatment for breast cancer and are my strong role models – they represent to me a growing population of cancer survivors that is continually expanding as oncologic treatments rapidly advance. We know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in long-term breast cancer survivors and represents a significant disease burden in survivors of other types of cancers too. Cardio-oncology is a growing field that allows us to protect patients’ cardiovascular health so that they are able to complete aggressive chemotherapy without having their cancer treatments limited by cardiac toxicities, and also helps cancer survivors remain healthy long into their follow-up.
Additionally, while there are some similarities between women’s and men’s general cardiovascular disease processes, there are also some very marked differences. I am interested in these differences and in advancing the care of female cardiovascular patients.
Understanding my patients’ priorities is extremely important in my approach to their care. Knowing what is most important in a patient’s life allows me to ensure that we are working toward the same goal and on the same team as we make treatment decisions.
My husband is a shoulder and elbow surgeon and we have two young boys and a rescue border collie. I grew up in Woodbridge, CT, and moved around the country to train, so I’m excited to be back home in Connecticut to raise our family. I enjoy watching football (and was captain of girl’s flag football in high school!), listening to rock and roll, and hiking.