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Satyam (Tom) Sarma, M.D.
Satyam (Tom) Sarma, M.D.

Satyam (Tom) Sarma, M.D.

  • Internal Medicine - Cardiology
  • Sports Cardiology
  • General Cardiology

Biography

Satyam Sarma, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Sarma became interested in cardiovascular diseases during his undergraduate studies in engineering. He pursued medical training at Boston University, where he also served as Chief Medical Resident. 

Interested in molecular biology research, he worked at Baylor Medical College as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biophysics and Molecular Physiology, focusing on abnormalities in cardiac ryanodine receptor function. After two years of research fellowship, he went on to complete a clinical cardiology fellowship at Northwestern University, where he was selected as Chief Cardiology Fellow during his second year.

Dr. Sarma is interested in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), a type of heart failure common in seniors, and came to UT Southwestern in 2012 to study new treatment options for patients with this common but difficult-to-treat condition.

He also specializes in metabolic disorders, specifically diabetes and insulin resistance, and his clinical practice focuses on exercise training programs to improve patient symptoms and quality of life.

Personal Note

Dr. Sarma is an avid runner and enjoys working with his hands. A violinist since childhood, he also enjoys origami – which, like playing the violin, is all about combining artistic inspiration with precision. “The fold that you make at the first or second step, if you don't do it right it's going to come back to haunt you 15 steps down the line. Those little imperfections add up.”

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Meet Dr. Sarma

Diastolic Heart Failure Specialist in Dallas 

Satyam (Tom) Sarma, M.D., is a cardiologist by title, but he describes his work as integrated physiology – studying and treating the human body as a unified system.

Dr. Sarma draws on his experience in a variety of fields, including biomedical engineering, cardiology, and exercise physiology, to understand how the heart, lungs, muscles, and blood vessels work together.

A clinical scholar at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Sarma splits his time between patient care and research. Much of his work centers on understanding, diagnosing, and treating unexplained shortness of breath. In addition to caring for patients with heart failure and other serious illnesses, Dr. Sarma often works with athletes to examine and improve their performance.

“From the framework of integrated physiology, you can really address a variety of different patients, from the elite athlete to the person with heart failure who can't even walk across the room.”

Research Aligned with Patient Care

With his holistic focus on the human body, Dr. Sarma is often able to see things in a unique way.

“Many patients who come to see me have been told they have pulmonary hypertension, a disorder in which lung pressure is elevated,” Dr. Sarma says. “But often it turns out they actually have a particular type of heart failure.”

This type of heart failure, called HFpEF, or heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, creates an elevated pressure in the heart and lungs and can cause significant shortness of breath.

“There's no gold standard of diagnosis for HFpEF, so it can be very challenging for a lot of patients, who often have already seen other physicians but have been unable to get a conclusive diagnosis.”

The exact mechanisms that underlie both HFpEF and shortness of breath aren’t well understood, so Dr. Sarma’s research focuses on unpacking the enigmas of these disorders. One of his great satisfactions is how closely his clinical research aligns with his clinical practice.

“We see our research as a partnership with patients,” he says. “Ultimately we're here to help people, but at the same time, patients can help us. We've learned so much from our patients, and our patients enjoy participating in research because it helps them understand their body and their disease better. It’s mutually beneficial.” 

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - Northwestern University (2009-2012), Cardiology
  • Research Fellowship - Baylor College of Medicine (2007-2009), Cardiology
  • Residency - Boston University Med. Ctr. (2003-2006), Internal Medicine
  • Medical School - Jefferson Medical College (1999-2003)
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • American Heart Association (2008), Member
  • American College of Cardiology (2008), Member
Honors & Awards
  • Alpha Omega Alpha 2007, Medical Honor Society
  • 2nd Place 2008, Northwestern University Young Investigators Forum
  • Robert O. Bonow, M.D. Award for Excellence in Research 2010, Northwestern University
  • Medical Student Clinical Teaching Award 2012, Northwestern University
Books & Publications
Research
  • Heart Failure
  • Exercise Training
  • Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing
  • Cardiac Steatosis

Clinical Focus

  • Sports Cardiology
  • General Cardiology
  • Diabetes & Heart Disease
  • Cancer & Heart Disease

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