Meet the Expert: Dr. Daniel Yip

Sep 7, 2021 | Kristin Eggebraaten | @keggebraaten

Dr. Daniel Yip is a Cardiologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. We sat down with Dr. Yip recently to get to know the real man behind the amazing medical care he provides to our patients.

Why did you choose this area of expertise? How did you get into cardiac medicine?

When I was a medical student, I had a bad learning experience and I thought cardiology was too hard and complicated. During my fourth month of residency, I was assigned to the cardiology floor service. As I was caring for cardiology patients, I began to understand the field better, and the subject became less daunting. I enjoyed talking to patients and finding out what their concerns were, order the appropriate investigative testing, discussing the results with the patient, and formulating a plan of care. One of the patients I was assigned to was gentleman in his mid-20s who was admitted to the hospital to be evaluated for heart transplant. In those days, patients were admitted to the hospital for transplant evaluations (that doesn’t happen very often nowadays).  During that month, I got to know the patient and his wife. I was able to see the ups and downs they went through during the evaluation process, waiting for transplant, undergoing transplant, and recovering from transplant. I was fortunate that we were able to cross paths occasionally during his journey to see what impact the transplant process had on him and his family, as well as the impact that he and his family had on all of us. When I saw how this group of highly functioning physicians, surgeons, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, therapists, and other allied health personnel all working together as a team to help the patient and family, I knew that I wanted to be a part of that team.

Describe your specialty and areas of expertise/primary interest.

I am a cardiologist that specializes in the subspecialty of heart failure and transplantation. Heart failure is a condition where the heart has difficulty pumping blood to meet the needs of the body.  This results in symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue. There are many reasons why an individual can be short of breath or fatigued, so part of what we do is being a detective and try to find out whether the heart is responsible for these symptoms. Fortunately, most patients with heart failure are treated very successfully with medical therapy.  For those individuals where medical therapy is inadequate, other therapies such as mechanical assist devices and transplantation may be considered. Patients that a heart failure/transplant cardiologist sees are those individuals who continue to have symptoms despite medical therapy.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?

I don’t know if I would be actually doing this, but I would love to be a pilot. When I was growing up, we lived near several Navy bases, and we would go to the air shows every opportunity we could. I loved watching the different types of aircraft and would have loved to fly for the Navy. Unfortunately, I started wearing glasses in the fourth-grade and, as they say, the rest is history.

What are some things you wish patients would ask you?

It’s not what I wish patients would ask me, but it gives me great joy when, at the end of our visit, patients and family members have a sense of relief after spending time with our staff.  I never tire when someone who says to us “No one has ever taken the time to explain my condition, answer my questions, and given me hope the way you have”.  When they say “you” they really mean the team working together on their behalf.

Describe one of your favorite or most rewarding clinical experiences.

Giving hope to those who do not have hope.  Often patients are referred to us after being told by their cardiologist that all has been done for them and the only treatment option is a mechanical assist device or transplant.  Furthermore, they are told that if they do not receive this treatment in a short period of time, they would die.  Fortunately, that is not always the case.  It is very rewarding when I can spend 60 minutes with a patient to explain their current condition, what the next steps are, and what the outlook may be. I may not have all the answers the first time we meet, but as we carry out the plan of care, we are working together to improve their symptoms, make a determination as to what their prognosis is, and what is their best treatment option.

What research have you been involved in?

Most of the research I have been involved with in the past has revolved around clinical trials. That is, seeing if a medication or mechanical assist device can improve the lives of patients with heart failure or transplant. More recently, we have been looking to see how the change in how we care for patients may be influencing their outcomes. That includes using different technologies and treatments to expand the donor pool. I have a special interest in the patient experience.  From how the patient and families interact with health care, not only as a patient, but also as a consumer; to how remote and face-to-face interactions influences the patient experience.

What do you think are some of the most influential trends or findings in cardiac transplantation and research?

There have always been more patients who need transplant compared to organs available for transplant. This holds true for all types of solid organ transplants.  Advances over the years have been made to successfully treat heart failure medically so that transplant may not be needed. For those who need advanced heart failure therapies, surgical techniques and knowledge about how to care for patients with mechanical assist devices long-term have advanced. For those individuals where transplant is the most appropriate treatment, work towards expanding the donor pool is vital to increasing the number of available donor organs. We are successfully using organs that in the past would not be considered, due to advances in treatment and organ preservation methods.

In your opinion, what sets Mayo Clinic care apart from other transplant centers? What will patients find at Mayo Clinic that they may not be able to get elsewhere?

The Mayo Clinic Model of Care impacts all aspects of how we care for patients and their families.  At Mayo Clinic, there is a multidisciplinary group of highly functioning individuals who work together to help determine the best course of action for each patient as a unique individual.  There are often many different investigative and treatment options that an individual could undergo, but each person has different needs, and we will partner with each patient and family to come up with the optimal treatment plan for them.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Finding ways to meet the needs of our patients and families, so that they have the optimal experience, regardless of outcome.

What are your interests or passions outside of work?

For the longest time, I have not had time to establish hobbies. Between building the heart transplant program and doing activities with my family, it didn’t leave much time to develop hobbies. Now that the heart failure/transplant section is established and my children have grown, I suddenly find myself with a little more time. I am certainly on the look-out to find new things to do. I have been collecting ideas from our patients and families. Eventually, I will find something that fits.

What are a few things you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

I am not a very good model to try to emulate. I can definitely do better, and often learn from our patients and families. I try to eat a balanced diet. I don’t snack in-between meals. I try to take the stairs as often as a I can. I try to take long walks when I have time to do that.



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