Rhea C. Pimentel, MD, is an electrophysiologist for the Richard and Annette Bloch Heart Rhythm Center at The University of Kansas Hospital. She is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Dr. Pimentel's clinical focus includes cardiac electrophysiology, cardiac device implantation, arrhythmia treatment with radiofrequency ablation, sudden cardiac death screening and device/pacemaker/ICD lead extraction. She is at the forefront of new technology, which offers patients more options for a safer and more successful procedure.
Dr. Pimentel is a longtime participant in the hospital's heart program for women. She was the inaugural speaker at the first-annual Girls' Night In event to benefit women's heart health at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She has also actively supported the hospital's celebration of the American Heart Association®'s annual Go Red for Women campaign, a national movement that celebrates the energy, passion and power women have to wipe out heart disease by taking charge of their heart health. Dr. Pimentel has also lectured locally and nationally to physicians and the general public about this subject. She is passionate about spreading the message that women's heart health is important.
Education and training
Dr. Pimentel completed her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.,, after she was selected to the highly competitive seven-year honors program in medical education, earning a bachelor's degree in political science. She was elected to the Academic Honor Society Order of Omega.
While an undergraduate, Dr. Pimentel served as chairperson of New Student Week activities and was a member of the Panhellenic Scholarship Committee. She also served as the Panhellenic representative and committee chair for her social fraternity, Chi Omega.
Dr. Pimentel earned her medical degree at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where she was Chicago campus council representative and treasurer for orientation week. She completed a residency in internal medicine at University Hospitals of Cleveland. Dr. Pimentel went on to complete additional fellowship training in cardiovascular diseases and clinical cardiac electrophysiology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, a partner institution of Washington University School of Medicine.
Dr. Pimentel has been a member of the medical staff at Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, Missouri. She has been a member of the medical staffs at other area hospitals and currently serves at Newman Regional Health in Emporia, Kansas.
Professional affiliations and certifications
Dr. Pimentel has been elected as a fellow to the American College of Cardiology. She is also a fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society and member of the American Heart Association. Dr. Pimentel has served as fellowship program director for the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology program at the medical center for the last six years. Under her leadership, the program has successfully trained and graduated numerous physicians across the country. Her commitment to education is also evident in her work as a member of the Hospital Accreditation Committee for residency training programs.
Dr. Pimentel is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in cardiovascular diseases and clinical cardiac electrophysiology. She is licensed by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts and the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts.
Leadership and research
An avid researcher, Dr. Pimentel has been principal investigator of several medical device studies, including a study of automatic vs. manual pacing thresholds, a study of managed ventricular pacing (the MVP Trial) and registries of market-approved implantable heart failure devices that provide pacing to help coordinate the heart's pumping action and improve blood flow. She has been involved in several large multicenter trials comparing radiofrequency ablation to laser energy ablation, and the utility of implantable loop recorders in diagnosing atrial fibrillation and preventing stroke.
Dr. Pimentel has been principal investigator of several other research studies, including a study of optimal defibrillation settings for right-sided defibrillators. She has participated in various investigator-initiated studies that examine the safety and efficacy of ablation procedures. She has worked extensively with other departments within the medical center to complete some of these projects.
As a result, Dr. Pimentel has published numerous articles in scientific journals, including the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Heart Rhythm, Circulation and Circulation Research.
Dr. Pimentel has made numerous national presentations, including several for the Heart Rhythm Society annual sessions. She has also presented at the 2010 American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Sessions in Atlanta, the 2009 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Orlando and the 14th World Congress on Heart Disease - International Academy of Cardiology Annual Scientific Sessions 2008 in Toronto.
Dr. Pimentel has been the invited keynote speaker for the regional northeast Texas Electrophysiology Society meetings, as well as the Chicagoland Women's Healthcare Symposium. Locally, she has been an invited guest speaker to the 2011 Winter Scientific Seminar, Missouri Society of American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians in Independence and the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses meeting in Kansas City, among others.
Dr. Pimentel's focus on patient education is evident in her many presentations to the public on a variety of cardiovascular subjects, including "The Racing Heart: New Strategies for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation" and "What It Really Means When Your Heart Skips a Beat."