Dr Ali Khavandi, Consultant Cardiologist, and Dr Jonathan Rodrigues, Consultant Radiologist, are leading an RUH Cardiovascular research team in collaboration with researchers at the University of Bath, whose aim is to save lives by transforming treatment options.

Dr Khavandi specialises in cardiac prevention, coronary intervention [stenting] and device implantation [pacemakers]. He is recognised nationally for his novel approach to patient diet education and this has resulted in appearances on BBC Horizon programme, writing for the Observer and being awarded a national innovation award through The Health Foundation for creating the Cardiologist’s Kitchen.

Dr Ali Khavandi joined the RUH in 2013, after being born and bred in Bath and a pupil at King Edwards School.

Inspired by work experience at both the RUH and the Royal Mineral Water Hospital, Ali was drawn to following in the footsteps of doctors making a difference to other peoples’ lives.

“The heart had always been my favourite subject. It has such an elegant anatomical and physiological design. I was always drawn to surgery and procedural treatments. In my second year as a junior doctor I made the decision to commit to Cardiology which blurs the lines between traditional medical roles as a physician, surgeon and radiologist. I’ve never looked back.

As cardiovascular diseases become increasingly common, they have also been the greatest focus of medical research. The research that we’d like to develop is a potential gamechanger for the NHS and that’s extremely exciting.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, healthcare has been in the spotlight for the first time in generations.

I myself had covid19 on my birthday in March 2020. It was the worst illness I have experienced as an adult. At day 10, I was not getting better and a friend and colleague, Becs, a Respiratory Consultant, insisted that I go to the RUH for tests. It is enlightening for doctors to be on the other side. The team were amazing from the nurses that received me and did my obs/ bloods to the radiographers that came and did my X-ray and the junior doctors that examined me and did the ‘clerking.’ Fortunately, I had no high risk signs and was discharged but it was a true reflection of the family atmosphere at the RUH. At day 12, I was still quite unwell and Becs’ husband (a local GP) cycled over with some medication for me and left it on my doorstep. My wife, Heidi, is a nurse and we have a little girl, aged five and a baby boy. Thankfully, Heidi only had mild symptoms.

We’ve all started to reflect much more on the priorities in life. Cardiologists are well known for being ‘type A’ personalities. Uber ambitious and committed to work. Ultimately this experience has made us all think more about the balance of health, family and work.

My children make me feel very proud. Ara, my daughter, now goes to the same school in Bath that I went to and it was very special to see her wearing her uniform and my old school colours on her first day.

If I could go back in time to change one thing, I don’t think I’d go that far back – I’d have to go back to Wuhan 2019 and see if we could find a way to prevent the covid pandemic. My preferred superpower is Wolverine’s power to heal although I also admire Tony Stark / Iron Man’s ability to solve any problem through science.

Find out more about the Cardiovascular Research project.

For further information about the Cardiovascular Research or our current priorities please get in touch on 01225 825691 or forever.friends@nhs.net