Medicine Across the Globe: CHD Surgeon Dr. Prasad Krishnan
In a career that has spanned nearly four decades, Mayo Clinic cardiovascular surgeon Prasad Krishnan, M.D. has practiced medicine across the globe.
Originally from India, Dr. Krishnan finished medical school in 1984 and after completing a fellowship in New Delhi, India in 1991, he served advanced fellowships in New Zealand, at Mayo Clinic Rochester and Cleveland Clinic, before returning to India in 1997 as a cardiac surgeon in Chennai. While at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, Dr. Krishnan had a chance to perform pediatric cardiac surgery both locally and in another county.
“Recognizing, my expertise in pediatric cardiac surgery, the Government of Mauritius – a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean near Africa- invited me to perform pediatric cardiac surgeries there four times in 2 years. I performed over 100 pediatric cardiac surgeries, while working with the local team and helped develop a pediatric cardiac surgical program” Krishnan said.
He then served in leadership positions at hospitals in Sri Lanka and Bangalore, before returning to Mayo Clinic in 2010.
Dr. Krishnan became interested in congenital heart disease due to the complexity of congenital heart diseases and how it affects all different parts of the heart.
“I am fascinated by the marvel of nature’s creation and enjoy the challenges of correcting the full spectrum of congenital heart defects, trying to recreate normal structure and function in an abnormally formed heart.”
Treating these patients and attempting to bring their heart function back to where it should be, also provides the greatest challenge in his work as a surgeon, which gives him great perspective on his work and life in general, “It is only then we realize the marvel of nature’s creation. While trying to repair congenital heart defects, the surgeon needs to strategize in order to minimize the number of operations and procedures required during the life of the patient and obtain the best results both in terms of survival and quality of life.”
Dr. Krishnan is particularly interested in helping infants born with congenital heart defects find success after birth and throughout their lives.
“Words cannot describe the sense of satisfaction from being able to help a baby, facing a risk to its life, and the joy from seeing that same child grow and develop normally, following cardiac surgery.” He added, “one surgery can make the difference between almost certain early death and an entire full human life span. There are few such examples in the entire field of medicine. The opportunity to do this, gives me a greater purpose in life.”
Dr. Krishnan’s research largely focuses on improving procedures for infants, as well as minimizing the need for re-operation in patients with: Tetralogy of Fallot, Transposition of Great Arteries, or Functionally Single ventricles. This comes while he strives to help make Mayo Clinic the number one Pediatric Cardiac surgical program in the Midwest.
Dr. Krishnan is driven by that original desire to become a doctor to help his patients.
“As a surgeon, I like to identify and fix a problem, rather than review a long list of differential diagnoses, and potential medical treatment options. I like to see dramatic results after an operation, like a baby who is sick and blue from lack of oxygen turning pink and healthy after an operation.”