Roderick Tung, MD, named director of cardiac electrophysiology program at the University of Chicago Medicine

Roderick Tung, MD, named director of cardiac electrophysiology program at the University of Chicago Medicine

March 17, 2016

Roderick Tung, MD, an authority on the management of heart rhythm disorders, with a particular focus on advanced therapies for atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmias, has been appointed associate professor of medicine and medical director of the cardiac electrophysiology program at the Center for Arrhythmia Care at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Tung specializes in catheter ablation -- a minimally invasive and often life-saving procedure to eliminate abnormal electrical signals that disrupt the heartbeat. Tung chose this specialty after undergoing an ablation procedure himself, in his early 20s, to correct an innocent arrhythmia.

He is a pioneer in the use of epicardial mapping and ablation, a new and underutilized approach that enables electrophysiologists to enter the chest through a small needle-assisted puncture to reach the heart's outer surface. This enables him and his team to eliminate abnormal electrical signals on the outside of the heart, under the pericardium, in an area that was not previously accessible without surgery.

The 39-year-old Tung came to the University of Chicago from the Cardiac Arrhythmia Center at the University of California Los Angeles, where he was an assistant professor of medicine and director of UCLA's program for ventricular tachycardia.

"Dr. Tung is a rising star in the field of arrhythmia management and catheter ablation," said James Liao, MD, professor of medicine and section chief of cardiology at the University of Chicago. "Prior to his arrival, he had built the largest complex VT ablation program on the West Coast. He brings a large set of skills to a well-established program with a reputation for innovation, rigorous research and excellent patient care."

The author or co-author of more than 70 research publications in leading journals, multiple book chapters and author of a case-based textbook on electrophysiology and pacing, Tung studies minimally invasive treatment of arrhythmias, novel systems for anatomic mapping of electrical currents and the development and testing of new ways to eradicate difficult-to-reach arrhythmias. He is also principal investigator on two ongoing international ventricular tachycardia ablation trials.

"His methods and his precise, personalized approach to treating heart rhythm abnormalities have helped improved patients' lives," Liao said.

Tung was born in Hinsdale, Ill., and spent his early years in Naperville before moving to Cleveland as a child. He returned to the Chicago area in 1994 to attend Northwestern University, graduating cum laude in 1997. He went on to graduate from the Honors Program in Medical Education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where was elected to the medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha, in 2001.

Tung completed his residency in internal medicine at Harvard's Massachusetts General Hospital in 2004, followed by a cardiology fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 2007. He completed a second fellowship in electrophysiology at Harvard's Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2008. He joined the cardiology staff at UCLA that year and was promoted to assistant professor and director of the Specialized Program for Ventricular Tachycardia at UCLA in 2009.

Tung also lectures around the world, especially in South and East Asia, where he discusses new developments in the treatment of complex arrhythmias.

"Being at the University of Chicago is both a homecoming as well as a great new opportunity for me," he said. "The University of Chicago has a highly respected electrophysiology program, and the medical center has complementary strengths in cardiac imaging, interventional cardiology, heart disease prevention, transplantation and cardiovascular surgery. I look forward to the chance to help make this renowned program even stronger as a global leader."