- Medical School - Tufts University, Medicine
Mark Link, M.D.
- Laurence and Susan Hirsch/Centex Distinguished Chair in Heart Disease
- Internal Medicine - Cardiology
- Cardiac Ablation Procedures
- Genetic Disorders - Familial Arrhythmias
Mark S. Link, M.D., is a Professor of Medicine and the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology in the UT Southwestern Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Cardiology.
After growing up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and going to college in Iowa, Dr. Link earned his medical degree at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Link then completed a residency in internal medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. Following residency, he served as an internist for the United States Air Force at Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey and Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
After an Honorable Discharge, he then performed fellowships in cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology at Tufts University/New England Medical Center in Boston.
He joined the staff there in 1997 and became a full Professor in 2008. He served as Director of Evaluation of Athletes and Co-Director of the university’s Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, and Heart Station.
He received Commendation and Meritorious Service Medals from the USAF and was named by Boston magazine as one of the Best Doctors in Boston in eight of the past 10 years. In 2016 Dr. Link was recruited by UT Southwestern to be Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology.
Dr. Link’s clinical interests include atrial fibrillation, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, management of syncope, sudden cardiac death, and cardioverter defibrillator implantation. He has been a principal investigator or collaborating author of more than 135 articles and more than 140 abstracts published in numerous peer-reviewed medical journals. He has also contributed 100 chapters and invited reviews to journals and medical textbooks.
Dr. Link has served on the editorial boards of publications including the American Journal of Sports & Medicine, Critical Pathways in Cardiology, EP Lab Digest, Heart Rhythm, Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Journal of Innovations in Cardiac Rhythm Management, and Journal Watch Cardiology. He currently serves as an Associate Editor of Circulation, and Deputy Editor of Journal Watch Cardiology.
He has lectured or presented at conferences, grand rounds, or symposia of organizations including the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, Heart Rhythm Society, American Society of Medicine and Sports, Heart Failure Society of America, New England Regional Trauma Conference, and North American Trainers Association.
Meet Dr. Link
Heart and Arrhythmia Specialist in Dallas
Mark Link, M.D., is a nationally recognized expert in electrophysiology, and is considered one of the top cardiac specialists in Dallas. He treats patients who have problems in their heart’s electrical system, causing cardiac rhythm disorders known as arrhythmias.
Heart rhythm disorders are complex, comprising many distinct conditions, but there are now better treatment options than ever before.
“Over the past few decades,” says Dr. Link, the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at UT Southwestern, “the care of arrhythmias has been revolutionized.”
Dr. Link has been at the forefront of that revolution – as a critical member of Heart Rhythm Society and American Heart Association’s task forces and guideline committees on arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, and other cardiovascular abnormalities.
Creating a Center of Excellence for Treating Arrhythmias
In arrhythmias, the heart may beat too fast, too slow, or erratically. When the heart’s rhythm is off, it can’t pump blood effectively.
Ventricular arrhythmias (VAs), which originate in the heart’s lower chambers, are the most dangerous type of cardiac arrhythmias and can lead to sudden death. VAs are most commonly secondary to cardiac disease caused by coronary artery disease. However, other cardiac diseases caused by genetic abnormalities, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and long QT Syndrome, can also put a person at risk of life threatening arrhythmias. Determining whether life-threatening arrhythmias are possible in a patient is a role of an electrophysiologist.
Arrhythmias may also be present in the upper chambers of the heart (the atria). In contrast to ventricular arrhythmias, atrial arrhythmias do not increase the risk of sudden cardiac death. In atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common arrhythmia, the heart’s upper chambers beat out of synch with its lower chambers. AFib raises a patient’s risk for stroke, chronic heart failure, and other serious conditions.
Dr. Link is leading a consolidation of UT Southwestern’s already outstanding AFib resources into a center of excellence for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of AFib. The center provides collaborative care and coordinated access to advanced technologies and clinical trials, while also helping patients address risk factors such as sleep apnea, diabetes, and hypertension.
Developments in HCM
Dr. Link is also an expert in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle.
In some people, HCM causes arrhythmias that can lead to stroke or sudden death.
“UT Southwestern has a longstanding tradition of excellence in the diagnosis and treatment of HCM,” Dr. Link says. “We are focused on discovering who has the disease, then proactively identifying and reducing their risk for sudden cardiac death. For example, many athletes who die suddenly are found to have HCM, but the hearts of athletes also may enlarge as a physiologic adaptation to exercise. So there is a lot of gray area to explore.”
For HCM patients at risk for sudden death, the recent development of subcutaneous or “sub-q” implantable cardiac defibrillators (S-ICDs), which pose fewer risks and complications than previous generations of ICDs, opens up new treatment possibilities. Dr. Link notes that the potential impact of the new technology is especially significant for young people, who may be living with a defibrillator for many years.
Amid the variety of arrhythmias and the individual differences of the people they affect, all patients have basically the same concerns, fears, and issues.
“I always find it very rewarding to sit down with patients and families to discuss treatment options. This is a specialty in which shared decision-making is essential,” Dr. Link says.
- American College of Cardiology (1993), Member
- Heart Rhythm Society (1995), Member
- American Heart Association (1995), Member
- D Magazine Best Doctor 2020
- Best Doctors in Boston 2006-2015
- Hall of Fame Award 2012, Lincoln High School
- Distinguished Alumni Award 2012, Dordt College
- Finalist - Young Investigator's Award - Commotio Cordis 1998, 47th Annual American College of Cardiology Sessions
- Meritorious Service Medal 1993, U.S. Air Force
Sudden Cardiac Deaths in Athletes, Including Commotio Cordis in Clinical Electrophysiology
Link MS, Ester NAM (2014)
Implantable defibrillators in Long QT Syndrome, Brugada Syndrome, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, and Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy in Cardiology Clinics - Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators
Dohadwala M, Link MS (2014)
Pathophysiology, Prevention, and Treatment of Commotio Cordis in Current Cardiology Reports
Link MS (2014)
Atrial and Ventricular Arrhythmias in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Arrhythmias in Cardiomyopathies
Kumar KR, Mandleywala SN, Link MS (2015)
- Sudden Cardiac Deaths in Athletes, Including Commotio Cordis in Clinical Electrophysiology
2012 ACCF/AHA/HRS Focused Update of the 2008 Guidelines for Device-Based Therapy of Cardiac Rhythm Abnormalities: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines.
Tracy CM, Epstein AE, Darbar D, Dimarco JP, Dunbar SB, Estes NA, Ferguson TB, Hammill SC, Karasik PE, Link MS, Marine JE, Schoenfeld MH, Shanker AJ, Silka MJ, Stevenson LW, Stevenson WG, Varosy PD Heart rhythm : the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society 2012 Oct 9 10 1737-53
Clinical practice. Evaluation and initial treatment of supraventricular tachycardia.
Link MS The New England journal of medicine 2012 Oct 367 15 1438-48
Prevention of sudden cardiac death with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators in children and adolescents with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Maron BJ, Spirito P, Ackerman MJ, Casey SA, Semsarian C, Estes NA, Shannon KM, Ashley EA, Day SM, Pacileo G, Formisano F, Devoto E, Anastasakis A, Bos JM, Woo A, Autore C, Pass RH, Boriani G, Garberich RF, Almquist AK, Russell MW, Boni L, Berger S, Maron MS, Link MS Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2013 Apr 61 14 1527-35
Acute exposure to air pollution triggers atrial fibrillation.
Link MS, Luttmann-Gibson H, Schwartz J, Mittleman MA, Wessler B, Gold DR, Dockery DW, Laden F Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2013 Aug 62 9 816-25
Safety of sports for athletes with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators: results of a prospective, multinational registry.
Lampert R, Olshansky B, Heidbuchel H, Lawless C, Saarel E, Ackerman M, Calkins H, Estes NA, Link MS, Maron BJ, Marcus F, Scheinman M, Wilkoff BL, Zipes DP, Berul CI, Cheng A, Law I, Loomis M, Barth C, Brandt C, Dziura J, Li F, Cannom D Circulation 2013 May 127 20 2021-30
Treatment of Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy/Dysplasia: An International Task Force Consensus Statement.
Corrado D, Wichter T, Link MS, Hauer RN, Marchlinski FE, Anastasakis A, Bauce B, Basso C, Brunckhorst C, Tsatsopoulou A, Tandri H, Paul M, Schmied C, Pelliccia A, Duru F, Protonotarios N, Estes NM, McKenna WJ, Thiene G, Marcus FI, Calkins H Circulation 2015 Aug 132 5 441-53
Eligibility and Disqualification Recommendations for Competitive Athletes With Cardiovascular Abnormalities: Task Force 3: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy and Other Cardiomyopathies, and Myocarditis: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology.
Maron BJ, Udelson JE, Bonow RO, Nishimura RA, Ackerman MJ, Estes NA, Cooper LT, Link MS, Maron MS Circulation 2015 Dec 132 22 e273-80
Part 7: Adult Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support: 2015 American Heart Association Guidelines Update for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care.
Link MS, Berkow LC, Kudenchuk PJ, Halperin HR, Hess EP, Moitra VK, Neumar RW, O'Neil BJ, Paxton JH, Silvers SM, White RD, Yannopoulos D, Donnino MW Circulation 2015 Nov 132 18 Suppl 2 S444-64
Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator in Patients With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: An Initial Experience.
Weinstock J, Bader YH, Maron MS, Rowin EJ, Link MS Journal of the American Heart Association 2016 Feb 5 2
Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Patient Selection, Periprocedural Anticoagulation, Techniques, and Preventive Measures After Ablation.
Link MS, Haïssaguerre M, Natale A Circulation 2016 Jul 134 4 339-52
- 2012 ACCF/AHA/HRS Focused Update of the 2008 Guidelines for Device-Based Therapy of Cardiac Rhythm Abnormalities: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines.
- Sudden Cardiac Death
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Air Pollution and Arrhythmias
- Cardiac Ablation Procedures
- Genetic Disorders - Familial Arrhythmias
- Heart Rhythm Treatment/Electrophysiology