Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship

J. Marcus Wharton, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology

About the Program

The Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is a rigorous two-year training program committed to developing electrophysiologists with superb technical, clinical, and academic ability.

Trainees will develop a broad set of sub-specialty clinical skills and graduate with expertise in all facets of arrhythmia evaluation and management – inpatient and outpatient consultation; surgical implantation of pacemakers, defibrillators, and biventricular devices; performance of the full range of non-invasive and invasive electrophysiologic tests and procedures, including catheter ablation and implantation, with a particular emphasis placed on learning complex diagnostic and interventional procedures. Our fellows are offered ample research opportunities and are expected to have produced at least one manuscript or national meeting research presentation by the end of their training.

Our program allows for four fellows in each academic year. Applicants must have completed an accredited ACGME Cardiovascular Disease fellowship.

The clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will be given the opportunity of acquire the full range of basic and clinical knowledge and clinical skills beyond the introductory level necessary to independently assume the responsibilities of an academic or practicing electrophysiologist. Particular emphasis will be placed on developing the residents for academic positions. The specific objectives are as follows:

  • To learn the normal electrophysiology of the human heart. Specifically, this includes obtaining an understanding of the electrophysiology of the atrial and ventricular myocardium, sinus node, AV node and His-Purkinje system under normal and diseased conditions and learning how to apply this knowledge to clinical situations and research.

  • To understand the basic pharmacological properties and actions of antiarrhythmic drugs and how to perform clinical trials of pharmacological efficacy.

  • To understand how the autonomic nervous system, ischemia, electrolyte disturbances, cardiac disease, and other conditions affect cardiac electrophysiology and the alter pharmacological properties of antiarrhythmic drugs and how to study the autonomic nervous system in the electrophysiology laboratory.

  • To learn the pathogenesis of the full gamut of arrhythmias, related symptom complexes and syndromes, and neurocardiac diseases and to understand the technique, application, indications, limitation, sensitivity and specificity of the various non-invasive and invasive diagnostic tests. These arrhythmias and clinical syndromes include sinus node dysfunction, heart block due to AV node and His-Purkinje dysfunction, supraventricular tachycardias, ventricular tachycardias, resuscitated sudden cardiac death, patient population at risk of sudden cardiac death, syncope, palpitations, long QT and other hereditary arrhythmia syndromes, proarrhythmic complications, and neurocardiogenic syncope syndromes.

  • To learn the indication, limitations, and risks of available and experimental pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for the above disorders.  Specific non-pharmacological approaches include catheter ablation, pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, surgical ablation, and implantable pharmacological devices.

  • Specific emphasis will be placed on developing the resident’s skill in ablation of complex arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, focal, macroreentrant atrial tachycardias, and ventricular tachycardia.

  • To further develop the resident’s understanding of the indications, limitation, and risks of electrophysiological studies and to become facile in their performance and interpretation, particular of complex or rare conditions. This also involves development of a thorough understanding of the appropriate use and risks of fluoroscopic imaging equipment and the management of acute complications such as cardiac tamponade related to the performance of electrophysiologic studies.

  • To develop a thorough understanding of the indications, limitation, and risks of pacemaker and defibrillator implantation, to improve their techniques of device implantation, troubleshooting implantable device related problems, and to managing pacemaker and defibrillator patients. Particular emphasis will be placed on indications and implantation techniques for biventricular pacemakers for management of congestive heart failure and prophylaxis for sudden cardiac death.  To gain an advanced understanding of electrocardiography as well as other non-invasive risk stratifying studies such as signal-averaged electrocardiography, T wave alternans testing, heart rate variability analysis, and autonomic testing.

  • To further the resident’s management, patient management and consultation skills for patients with all types of arrhythmias or arrhythmia-related problems in a variety of settings including outpatient clinics, inpatient wards, CCU, ACU, MICU, SICU’s, and ER.

The educational objectives will be obtained by involvement in the various components of the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Service during the care of patients referred for evaluation and management of arrhythmia-related problems. The various components include outpatient and inpatient consultations, pacemaker clinic, ICD clinic, care of patients before, during, and after, electrophysiologic studies, catheter ablation, pacemaker implantation, defibrillator implantation, arrhythmia surgery, teaching rounds, and educational conferences. The advanced level clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will be expected to already be familiar with most aspects of clinical cardiac electrophysiology. The goal of training for the advanced-level clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will be to further develop their skills to allow them to be fully independent to perform and analyze the full range of diagnostic and therapeutic electrophysiologic procedures.

To insure procedural competency, each clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will have performed each category of electrophysiologic procedure in excess of minimum stated requirements. For the advanced level resident, emphasis will be placed on developing their skills with complex or unusual cases, as would be referred to tertiary care centers. All procedures will be performed directly with one of the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology faculty to maximize training and safety. The advanced level clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will be expected to develop and complete at least two clinical research projects and to actively participate in other on-going research endeavors in conjunction with one or more of the faculty. The goal is to develop the resident’s capability to assume independent research upon completion of their training.

The advanced level clinical cardiac electrophysiology residents will spend a minimum of 12 months on the Electrophysiology Service at MUSC. This time will be distributed among well-defined experiences in a number of specific settings listed below, which are designed to assure that all the educational objectives are met:

  • Electrophysiology Laboratory
    The electrophysiology laboratory experience will result in extensive exposure to the accepted indications for invasive EP procedures, techniques, and pre- and post-operative management of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for patients with the full range of cardiac arrhythmias. The advanced resident is expected to master the techniques of venous and arterial catheterization, interpretation of intracardiac electrograms, characterization and diagnosis of various arrhythmias, transeptal catheterization, conventional mapping, contact and non-contact three-dimensional mapping, stereotactic catheter manipulation and ablation, and ablation with radiofrequency current as well as newer energy sources.

  • Inpatient and Outpatient Consultants
    The advanced clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will attain facility with arrhythmia consultation on patients with the entire spectrum of arrhythmia disorders. The settings in which consultations will be performed include the cardiac, medical and surgical intensive care units, inpatient wards, outpatient clinics, and emergency room.

  • Intensive Care Units
    The advanced clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will acquire additional skills of arrhythmia management in the ICU setting by assisting in the care of critically ill patients having recurrent arrhythmias. This will include the proper use of antiarrhythmic agents, pacing, defibrillation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, evaluation for ischemia, and arrhythmia ablation.

  • ICD and Pacemaker Implantation
    The advanced clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will obtain complete competency in the evaluation of patients for pacemaker and ICD implantation, implantation of single and dual chamber and bi-ventricular systems, implantable diagnostic recording devices, atrial defibrillators, intra-operative device testing, defibrillation threshold testing, anti-tachycardia pacing testing, and low energy cardioversion testing. The resident will learn the indications for device placement and will become familiar with device interpretation, programming, and post-operative management. A particular emphasis will be placed on gaining skills for implantation of biventricular ICD’s and pacemakers.

  • ICD and Pacemaker Clinic
    The advanced clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will further develop their skills for outpatient management of patients with implanted arrhythmia devices including device interrogation, evaluation, and reprogramming, interpretation of delivered therapies, interpretation of stored intracardiac electrograms, and determination of the indications for device replacement.

  • Clinical Research
    The advanced clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will be expected to develop skills in clinical and, if desired, basic electrophysiology research. The resident will be expected to design and implement at least two clinical research studies, to present their research at national or international meetings, and to publish their results in peer-reviewed journals. Protected time will be provided to insure completion of their research responsibilities. Appropriate mentoring will be provided by one or more of the clinical electrophysiology faculty.

The advanced clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will be supervised every day directly by a faculty member in each of the above settings. It is the faculty member’s responsibility to ensure that the procedure or patient evaluation is being performed appropriately and to educate the resident in proper techniques and procedures. This includes assessing the resident’s knowledge of the etiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentation, and natural history of the diseases involved and the decision-making process in designing a course of treatment. Feedback will be given to the resident continuously in all areas of clinical care during these supervised activities. These daily interactions between faculty and advanced clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident during patient care provide continuous practice-based learning opportunities for the resident.

The Advanced Clinic Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellow will attend conferences to complement their patient care educational activities. These include the electrophysiology teaching conference, the electrophysiology research conferences, electrophysiology journal club, clinical case conferences, ECG conferences, and Cardiology Grand Rounds. In addition to the EP specific conferences, it is encouraged to participate in general cardiology conferences, especially Cardiology Grand Rounds, ECG conferences, cardiac catheterization conferences, and M&M Conferences.
List of Conferences:

  • Imaging Conference – Weekly on Monday
  • Cath Conference – Weekly on Tuesday
  • M&M Conference – Monthly on Thursday
  • Cardiology Grand Rounds – Weekly on Thursday
  • Electrophysiology Teaching Conference – Twice monthly on Friday
  • Electrophysiology Journal Club – Weekly (day varies)

Note: Due to the COVID19 pandemic, all education conferences are provided with the option of virtual participation.

One of the major goals for your training is to develop the skills necessary to establish yourself as a clinical investigator. The clinical cardiac electrophysiology resident will be expected to participate in clinical and/or basic electrophysiology research. Each resident is expected to design, implement, and analyze at least two research protocols during their training in conjunction with one or more of the faculty members. Data from this research experience will be formally presented during the electrophysiology research meetings and also during national meetings. The resident will be strongly encouraged to write manuscripts describing their results for publication in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, during the year there will be opportunities to write reviews about electrophysiologic topics in conjunction with one of the faculty members for further development of writing skills.

Since clinical research always takes more time than one anticipates, you should start designing your projects at the onset of your EP fellowship (or preferably a couple of months before). As mentioned above, your schedule has been arranged so that you have one fifth of your time protected for performing EP research. This time should be used wisely to ensure that you can completely finish and write-up your research projects before you complete your EP training.

The EP fellows are encouraged to present their research at scientific meetings. These meetings include but are not limited to the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Heart Rhythm Society.
Please direct any questions or concerns to Program Coordinator, Anna Lee Adams.

How to Apply:

The Program participates in the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS) and NMRP for the screening and selection of qualified candidates. All candidates must pass USMLE Step 3 Exam (or COMLEX step 3) before entering program and provide documentation. Candidates are screened based upon variety of criteria including:

  • Clinical experience
  • Academic record and productivity
  • Personal Statement
  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • Interview

All specialty and subspecialty residents must have passed the USMLE Step 3 Exam (or the equivalent COMLEX Step 3 exam) before entering any MUSC GME program. We accept candidates who are United States citizens, permanent residents (Green card holders), or with J1 visas.


Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellows: Second Year

Dr. Fergie Ramos 

Fergie Ramos, M.D.

Fellowship: University of Miami, Chief Resident
Residency: University of Miami
Medical School: Ross University
Undergraduate: Florida Atlantic University

Dr. George Waits 

George Waits, M.D.

Fellowship: Houston Methodist
Residency: Wake Forest, Chief Resident
Medical School: UAB
Undergraduate: UAB

Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellows: First Year

Dr. Zain Gowani 

Zain Gowani, M.D.

Internal Medicine Residency: Johns Hopkins Bayview, Chief Resident
Medical School: Vanderbilt University
Undergraduate: University of Chicago

Dr. Matthew Long 

Matthew Long, M.D.

Medicine Residency: Johns Hopkins
Medical School: Indiana
Undergraduate: Wheaton


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