Aug. 18, 2023

Bridging the gap between cardiology and critical care

Dr. Michael Chiu passionate about strengthening emergency care for patients
Dr. Michael Chiu, a cardiologist and critical care specialist, poses in the HRIC Atrium at the University of Calgary.
By Dawn Smith

Calgary’s Dr. Michael Chiu, MD, has returned to the city, bringing his expertise in critical care medicine, cardiovascular intensive care, cardiology, echocardiography and research.

Chiu completed the leaders in medicine program at the University of Calgary, earning an MD and a masters in Biophysical Chemistry. He pursued fellowships in internal medicine, cardiology, and critical care, serving as chief resident.

He also completed an advanced echocardiography fellowship at the University of British Columbia. Following that, he dedicated a year to the clinical scholar program in mechanical heart support, cardiac transplant, extracorporeal life support, and post-cardiac surgery care in collaboration between the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia.

Now a clinical assistant professor, Chiu is caring for some of the sickest patients in the city working in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CCU) and the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU), where advanced life support is used.

As the only dual appointed cardiologist and intensivist in Calgary, his work bridges the gap between cardiology and critical care and provides opportunity to strengthen emergency care for patients.

Chiu is excited to be back in Calgary, and he is passionate about the opportunities that exist to collaborate between Cardiology and Critical Care.

“Increasing collaboration between the CCU, ICU and CVICU will improve the management of patients who are very unwell, and it’s an exciting opportunity,” he says. “Calgary has an innovative group of cardiac surgeons, anesthetists, cardiologists and intensivists, and I happy to be part of the team.”

Working in these units calls on Chiu’s carefully honed skills in critical care and advanced life support measures. He has a special interest in mechanical heart support, extracorporeal membrane life support’ cardiogenic shock (a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to vital organs) and in cardiovascular imaging.

Chiu’s research interests mirror his clinical interests, and he plans to continue his research in cardiogenic shock and cardiovascular intensive care.

As healthcare advances, patients are now dealing with more complex health conditions that involve various parts of the body. This has made the care of cardiac patients more intricate too, calling for a team of highly skilled healthcare providers who are experts in different areas of the body.

Chiu’s research aims to improve management for these complex patients by better understanding how these conditions impact one another and how therapies work together.  

“I am very interested in advanced life support and really understanding the physiology behind heart and lung failure and how we can support people through it,” says Chiu. “My goal is to offer the right treatment to the right patient.”

The Libin Cardiovascular Institute hosts an annual Calgary Shock Symposium. Learn more about this learning opportunity.