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Mark Link, M.D.
Mark Link, M.D.

Mark Link, M.D.

  • Laurence and Susan Hirsch/Centex Distinguished Chair in Heart Disease
  • Internal Medicine - Cardiology
  • Heart Rhythm Treatment/Electrophysiology
  • Cardiac Ablation Procedures

Biography

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.

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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. 

Shared Decision-Making

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.

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Education & Training
  • Medical School - Tufts University, Medicine
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • American College of Cardiology (1993), Member
  • Heart Rhythm Society (1995), Member
  • American Heart Association (1995), Member
Honors & Awards
  • Meritorious Service Medal 1993, U.S. Air Force
  • Finalist - Young Investigator's Award - Commotio Cordis 1998, 47th Annual American College of Cardiology Sessions
  • Best Doctors in Boston 2006-2015
  • Hall of Fame Award 2012, Lincoln High School
  • Distinguished Alumni Award 2012, Dordt College
Books & Publications
Research
  • Sudden Cardiac Death
  • Resuscitation
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Air Pollution and Arrhythmias

Clinical Focus

  • Heart Rhythm Treatment/Electrophysiology
  • Cardiac Ablation Procedures
  • Genetic Disorders - Familial Arrhythmias

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Q&A by Dr. Link

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