Meet the Doctor: Ola Khraisha, MD
Ola Khraisha, MD, is a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. She sees patients at Einstein Electrophysiology offices on Tabor Road and on Frankford Avenue. Dr. Khraisha is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology and clinical cardiac electrophysiology.
We spoke recently with Dr. Khraisha about her career, her interests, and electrophysiology care at Einstein.
Q: Why did you decide to become a doctor?
A: My older sister always knew she wanted to be a doctor. She’s four years older than me and she was my hero, so I followed in her footsteps. In high school, my best subjects were math and physics, and I think that’s part of why I like electrophysiology. My job is to fix people’s heart rhythms, which is all about electricity.
Q: Tell us about your medical education.
A: My husband [Einstein cardiologist Mohammad Al madani, MD] and I both attended medical school at the University of Jordan. Then we came to the United States together and we matched in Tennessee at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine. We were both there for six years. We did internal medicine residencies and did our fellowships in general cardiology. My husband then studied interventional cardiology in New Jersey. I did electrophysiology training, a two-year fellowship, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington
Q: Why did you choose your specialty of electrophysiology?
A: I chose this specialty because I really love math and physics, and in electrophysiology, what I do is to go in, find any abnormal electrical waves and electrical circuits, and fix them. I’d never seen an electrophysiologist in Jordan, so when I went into internal medicine in the United States, this was new to me, and I was so excited about it and realized that’s what I wanted to do.
In electrophysiology, you go into the heart and you find where the abnormal electrical connection is, and you ablate [remove] it by burning the right bit of tissue, and the problem goes away completely. The patients used to be on medicines, but after we take care of the abnormal electrical connection, they come off them. It’s really fixing things that I like. It makes me happy when I see someone post-operatively and they say, “Oh, I feel so much better.”
Q: Tell us a little more about what an electrophysiologist does.
A: Our heart functions on organized electrical activity. When the electrical propagation becomes abnormal, causing heart rhythm problems, it’s our job to go find where this abnormality is coming from and ablate, or burn, it. The upper chambers are the left atrium and right atrium, and the lower chambers are the left ventricle and the right ventricle, and we do ablation procedures in all of them. The success rates are 90% to 95%.
Q: What drew you to Einstein?
A: When interviewed, I just fell in love with Einstein. The thing I love the most about it that is it’s an educational environment so I can work with cardiology fellows and internal medicine residents, and sometimes we have medical students come around with us. I love to teach. It makes me happy. In my last job, I didn’t teach, and I missed it.
Q: Why should people choose Einstein for their arrhythmia care?
A: Patients should come here because this is an environment for success. We are the only program in Philadelphia recognized as a Program of Excellence by the American College of Cardiology. We do all kinds of ablations, and we also implant pacemakers, defibrillators and other cardiac devices.
I am very, very proud of our electrophysiology team: the lab and the nurses and techs inside the operating room where we work. I think they are the best, many of our staff are very experienced, and they are so invested in doing an excellent job.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: Spending time with my babies, I think that’s what I want to do the most. My older daughter has been like my best friend because I had her in my third year of residency, and then she moved all over with me throughout my training. And then I just had a baby girl in May 2020. My husband works with me in the same department, so when we’re done here we just want to go home and play with our daughters. We like to go walking on Kelly Drive. Our plan for the summer is to have my 10-year-old learn how to ride a bicycle.
Q: Did you have an early role model?
A: I think that all the females in my family are role models. My grandma was widowed in her 30s – this was like in the 1950s – and it was a very hard time for a female. She had seven kids to raise on her own, and all of them became college-educated physicians and engineers. My mother is a schoolteacher, and she’s a role model, too, because she’s such a strong woman.
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: I love the Dr. Seuss books. I read them to the baby and they make me smile.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: I watch all the James Bond movies, and every time there’s a new one I have to see it. I think Sean Connery is the best James Bond.
Q: How about a favorite vacation spot?
A: I love Hawaii. It’s just beautiful, and the water is so blue and it’s just serene and very calming.
Q: Do you have a favorite restaurant?
A: Yes, there’s a restaurant downtown called Manakeesh. It’s Middle Eastern food, and it’s really yummy.
Q: Is there a person that you would particularly love to meet if you could? It doesn’t have to be a living person.
A: Jordan’s King Hussein, because he was very smart as a leader, and think to lead a country is probably the hardest job on earth. I grew up watching King Hussein. I think he died in his 60s, but he did a lot in his lifetime, so I would have loved to meet him.
Q: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
A: I once really wanted to be a clothes designer. I love clothing, I love dresses, and making clothes; it makes me happy. And I can paint; I used to paint a lot.
Find out more about electrophysiology at Einstein.