William O. Suddath, MD, Named Chairman of Cardiology

 Clinton, Maryland - MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is pleased to announce that William O. Suddath, MD, is the new Chairman of Cardiology and medical director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

Dr. Suddath is a highly experienced interventional cardiologist, having spent the last 22 years as an integral member of the renowned interventional cardiology team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He is the program director for the interventional cardiology fellowship program which trains physicians in advanced cardiac catheterization skills. Dr. Suddath was instrumental in the start-up and growth of CodeHeart, our regional program which expedites the transport and treatment of heart attacks. Dr. Suddath is a Maryland native, and he has worked closely with southern Maryland physicians and EMS for over two decades.

"Bill Suddath will be able to build on the outstanding work already underway by our MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center physicians, leadership, and staff," said Stuart F. Seides, MD, physician executive director, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. "His proven leadership skills and clinical expertise will be invaluable in his role as the new team leader for our cardiovascular colleagues practicing in this region."

Earlier this year, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center was invited to join the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute-Cleveland Clinic alliance, after meeting the high-quality standards required of all members. This alliance between two nationally-recognized cardiac programs has accelerated improvements in heart care and research and resulted in even better outcomes for the patients served by the participating healthcare organizations.

"We are very pleased that Dr. Suddath is taking the leadership role in cardiology at our hospital," said Dr. Chile Ahaghotu, Vice President for Medical Affairs, Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. "He has an impeccable track record as a top notch clinician and teacher. His leadership will complement our unrelenting commitment to provide best-in-class cardiovascular services for the Southern Maryland community."

Southern Maryland residents have local access to physicians who specialize in cardiology, interventional cardiology, cardiac electrophysiology (heart rhythm experts), vascular surgery and vascular access surgery at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center located in Clinton, Maryland and at MedStar clinical offices throughout the Southern Maryland peninsula.

About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, located in Clinton, Maryland, is a 182-bed acute care hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland area. The hospital is focused on caring for patients and their loved ones utilizing advanced technology under the guidance of expert clinicians. Quality, Safety, Wellness, and Patient Satisfaction are achieved through a spirit of patient-centered services that connect us to the community we serve.

About MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute
MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a national leader in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. A network of 10 hospitals and 150 cardiovascular physicians throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia and the Greater Washington, D.C., region, MedStar Heart also offers a clinical and research alliance with Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute, the nation's #1 heart program. Together, they have forged a relationship of shared expertise to enhance quality, improve safety and increase access to advanced services. MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute was founded at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, home to the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital. Opened in July 2016, the hospital ushered in a new era of coordinated, centralized specialty care for patients with even the most complex heart and vascular diagnoses.

William O. Suddath, MD

How Does Obesity Impact the Heart?

According to Interventional Cardiologist Mun K. Hong, MD, FACC, obesity has multiple harmful effects on the heart, including the heart muscle, the blood vessels, and heart rhythm. Having the extra weight is similar to carrying half of that weight in each hand every second of the day.

For example, if someone is 50 pounds overweight, he/she is carrying 25-pound weight in each hand every second of the day. As you can imagine, this extra weight would cause stress on the heart to result in the heart muscle being thickened, the heart blood vessels developing blockages, and the heart rhythm to be disturbed. In addition, obesity contributes to the development or worsening of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

On the other hand, weight loss can result in the reversal of these harmful effects. There was a recent study, where obese patients with irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation were divided into two groups, with one group not helped to lose weight and the second group coached and supported to lose weight. The group that lost weight also had resolution of their irregular heart rhythm.    

It is not easy to lose weight, especially if one has been overweight for a long time. However, it is important to change lifestyles, including adding more physical activities, reducing calorie consumption, especially from animal fats, and maintaining a regular sleep pattern. It is thus especially important to help young children and teenagers to adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid becoming obese.

There is some controversy regarding the use of weight loss prescription medications. It is essential to have close follow-up with physicians. It is not a good idea to use over-the-counter weight loss “medications,” as their safety is not guaranteed.

Q & A with Cardiologist Sung W. Lee, MD

How does being overweight or obese affect your heart?  How does a healthy heart function when compared to the heart of a patient who is overweight?

  • Almost all cardiovascular diseases increase in frequency in the setting of obesity, including hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), heart failure (HF), and atrial fibrillation (AF).
  • Excessive body fat increases blood volume which eventually leads to abnormal enlargement and thickening of the heart.  This can lead to heart failure.
  • Overweight patients also tend to develop sleep apnea which causes inadequate breathing and raise blood pressure in the lung. 
  • Body fat also increases inflammation and releases hormones that can cause scars in the heart.   

Is there a link between obesity and atrial fibrillation (the most common heart rhythm problem)?

  • Around 40 percent of the US population is obese, based on body mass index, and almost 10% are severely obese.  The estimated prevalence in the United States is approximately 5.2 million and is expected to increase to 12.1 million by the year 2030.  The obesity epidemic is partly responsible for a marked increase the prevalence of atrial fibrillation.

How have you seen these problems manifest themselves in your patients?

  • Patients with atrial fibrillation most often feel heart beating fast and “flip-flopping."  They feel short of breath and tired.  However, symptoms can be often subtle. 

If you are overweight and begin to diet and exercise, can this help reverse the damage to your heart?

  • Lifestyle modifications, including weight loss, have a favorable impact on atrial fibrillation, by lowering the incidence and frequency of atrial fibrillation. 
  • Physical activity and cardio-respiratory fitness seem to have a positive impact on atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation

MedStar Southern Maryland Named in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals, 2017

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center has been recognized in the most recent Best Hospitals issue of U.S. News & World Report. The hospital was ranked as high performing in the areas of urology, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) procedures, and heart failure procedures. 

“We’re so proud of our mention in the 2017 Best Hospitals Edition of U.S. News & World Report,” said MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center President Christine Wray.  “We appreciate the special recognition of urology, COPD procedures, and heart failure procedures, as we have worked hard to develop these programs in Southern Maryland.”

Several MedStar hospitals earned recognition on the 2017 list. 

In the Washington, D.C. region, three facilities were recognized:

  • MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
  • MedStar Washington Hospital Center
  • MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

In Maryland, five facilities were recognized: 

  • MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
  • MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
  • MedStar Harbor Hospital
  • MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
  • MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

Throughout the years, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center has been recognized nationally and regionally for its clinical and operational excellence many times. Read more about some of the hospital's most recent awards.



Cheryl Richardson
Director of Marketing & Community Relations
[email protected]

About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, a 182-bed full-service hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland areas, was founded in 1977 and joined MedStar Health in December 2012.  Throughout the hospital’s history, it has remained a community leader, a strong supporter of health care education and a dedicated advocate for quality health care services.

What Is Atrial Fibrillation and Can It Be Prevented?

By: Sung W. Lee, MD, Department of Cardiology

Atrial Fibrillation is the technical term for irregular heartbeat caused by malfunctioning electrical impulses in the heart. It is the most common heart rhythm problem, affecting more than three million Americans, and is on the rise in the United States and in this area.

Controlling high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight and treating sleep apnea are all ways to help prevent Atrial Fibrillation. If a patient does develop this chronic condition, Dr. Lee identifies the following three treatment pillars for Atrial Fibrillation:

Stroke Prevention

Using anticoagulants, or blood-thinning drugs, can prevent strokes. In more serious cases, implanting a device called a Watchman Closure prevents blood clots from entering the bloodstream and causing a stroke.

Heart Rate Control

Medications and/or implanted pacemakers can regulate heartbeats and keep hearts functioning effectively. Many pacemaker implantations occur here at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, as a part of the MedStar system and the MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute’s shared commitment to bring top-of-the-line care to the residents of southern Maryland.

Rhythm Control

Medications and/or minimally-invasive catheter ablations, which are procedures to burn or freeze the tissue that causes Atrial Fibrillation, have good success rates with a low occurrence of complications. MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is one of the highest volume arrhythmia treatment centers in the country, offering the most sophisticated diagnostic tools and advanced treatment options. Our experts include board-certified, nationally recognized arrhythmia specialists who offer a team-based approach, collaborating with over 140 other cardiac specialists throughout our system to ensure that we provide a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan that’s right for you.

Varicose Veins and Your Legs


By: Arshad A Khan, MD Director Interventional Radiology, Medstar Washington Hospital Center

Arshad A. Khan, MD Director, Interventional Radiology MedStar Washington Hospital Center

Varicose veins are prominent & bulging leg veins that are direct result of valve malfunction. Without treatment there is increased pressure in these superficial veins resulting in their dilatation which manifests as unsightly  dilated and bulging structures just under the skin. Not only they are unsightly, but can result is further medical problems if left untreated. Varicose veins affect millions of Americans. Usually females are more affected and older age is also risk factor. Other risk factors for varicose veins are family history, pregnancy and excessive weight.

Usual presentation of varicose veins is aching pain in legs, heaviness, itching and sometimes skin ulcers. Usually the symptoms are worse as the day progresses and are at peak in the evening. Relief is found by sitting down and elevating your legs.

If you think that you may have varicose veins, please consult your doctor for evaluation. Your doctor may order and ultrasound of your leg veins to see the valvular function. If needed you could be referred to vascular specialist for evaluation and treatment.

Usually treatments for varicose veins are compression stockings , vein ablation ( closing the vein with heat either with laser or radiofrequency), phlebectomy (removal of tiny pieces of veins thru needle tracks) and sclerotherapy (injection of medication into varicose veins to destroy the vein wall and make spider veins disappear). All these treatments are performed as outpatient and take 1-2 hours and you can return to work on the same day.

If you need an evaluation for varicose veins, you can have a consult with one of the interventional radiologists who are minimally invasive vascular physicians and are now available at Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital for consultation.

Interventional Radiologist Arshad A. Khan, MD, Offers Relief for Dialysis Patients


Dialysis takes over some of the kidneys’ work, removing waste products and extra water from the blood and keeping the body’s electrolytes in balance, when a person’s own kidneys no longer function. Each dialysis session takes about four hours and is needed three times a week. Blood is cycled out of an artery, cleaned using a special machine, and returned to a vein.

To establish safe, regular access to the patient’s blood stream, Arshad A. Khan, MD, director of interventional radiology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and his partners now provide dialysis support – and other interventional radiology procedures – at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

What is interventional radiology?

Not to be confused with radiation therapy, interventional radiology is more like minimally invasive surgery. It offers treatment options that can be performed as outpatient procedures without general anesthesia. “We use image guidance – CT, MR, ultrasound, and x-ray – to see inside the patient,” said Dr. Khan. “Many procedures that used to be done surgically can now be done with a needle stick.”

Vascular access specialists

Dr. Khan inserts thin, flexible tubes called catheters into veins in the patient’s neck, chest, or other veins to provide access for dialysis. “We use high-speed images to guide the catheter in, so we know it’s placed correctly and is working right away” without needing further adjustment, he said.

The group also specializes in catheter, graft, and fistula maintenance procedures, removing blockages and ensuring that the entire line is clear and working properly. “We are specialists in vascular access, and dialysis support is a continuation of that,” Dr. Khan said.

Close to home

Dr. Khan and his interventional radiology colleagues, who are all based at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, began seeing patients at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in 2015. The hospital has upgraded its interventional radiology suites with the same high-end technology used at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Patients in Southern Maryland get the best of all worlds – decades of experience, top-level technology, and the convenience of having consultation, treatment, and follow-up nearby.

For more information about the interventional radiology program at MedStar Star Southern Maryland Hospital Center, please call 855-546-1018