The research interest of M. Rizwan Sohail, M.D., is in cardiovascular infections, including cardiovascular implantable electronic devices (pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) infection, ventricular assist device infections, vascular graft infections and infective endocarditis. Developing innovative approaches for the diagnosis and management of cardiac infections has been a major theme of Dr. Sohail's research activities. His previous work includes identifying risk factors for permanent pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator infections, medical versus surgical management of Staphylococcus aureus endocarditis, and developing prediction models for cardiac device-related infective endocarditis and associated mortality.
Dr. Sohail has established a strong partnership with the Cardiac Electrophysiology Department and holds a joint appointment with the divisions of Infectious Diseases and Cardiovascular Diseases. He is involved in a number of collaborative projects with investigators from the divisions of Infectious Diseases and Cardiovascular Diseases, the Department of Cardiac Surgery, and the Transplant Center at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. He is currently mentoring several infectious diseases fellows on research projects pertaining to left ventricular assist device (LVAD)-related infections, appropriate use of echocardiography in diagnosing infective endocarditis and sonication of cardiac devices to enhance microbial detection.
- Role of echocardiography in management of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. Dr. Sohail is the principal investigator in this multicenter study, funded by the American Heart Association, to develop novel prediction models for appropriate use of transesophageal echocardiography in the management of S. aureus bacteremia.
- Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)-related infections. Dr. Sohail is the principal investigator for a collaborative study assessing the epidemiology, risk factors, diagnostic methods, management interventions and outcomes of patients with heart transplant and LVAD-related infections. This project, which integrates data across the Mayo system, is the largest study to date to address outcomes and impact of LVAD-related infection.
- Multicenter Center Electrophysiologic Device Infection Collaboration (MEDIC). Dr. Sohail serves as a principal investigator for Mayo Clinic in MEDIC, a multicenter, international study with more than 10 centers in three continents, including Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota as well as UCLA — David Geffen School of Medicine, University of Washington and Harvard Medical School.
- Sonication of devices to enhance microbial detection. Dr. Sohail has served as the principal investigator of a project related to sonication of infected cardiac devices to enhance microbial detection. In this sonication process, high frequency ultrasound waves are applied to explanted cardiac devices to disrupt microbial biofilm, allowing isolation of causative pathogens in cultures that otherwise may be negative.
- Using artificial intelligence to predict infection. Dr. Sohail has a special interest in developing novel prediction tools for risk stratification. He has done groundbreaking work with artificial neural networks (artificial intelligence) in predicting endocarditis among patients with cardiac device infection. This work has been featured on Discovery Channel and Scientific American.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Sohail's work addresses important clinical questions related to the epidemiology, risk factors, clinical presentation, diagnosis, management, complications, outcomes and cost associated with cardiovascular infections.
- Member, Council on Clinical Cardiology and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research, American Heart Association, 2010-present
- Recognized as top educator, Internal Medicine Residency, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 2012, 2013
- Physician of the Year Award for outstanding leadership in implementation of electronic medical records at Tawam Hospital in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine, United Arab Emirates, 2007
- Reviewer, The New England Journal of Medicine, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, The American Journal of Cardiology, Journal of Infection, JAMA and others