Robert Lager, MD, is an interventional cardiologist at Medstar Washington Hospital Center and President of MedStar Cardiology Associates, a 38-physician cardiology group at MedStar. He is Director of MedStar Ambulatory Services for the Southern region of the Medstar system, which includes the District and Southern Maryland. Dr. Lager has served as a national proctor for Abbott and Medtronic, training physicians from around the nation how to perform the transradial wrist approach for catheterization. In addition, he teaches physicians in the interventional cardiology fellowship program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Dr. Lager specializes in conditions related to coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, structural heart disease, and the use of minimally invasive catheter procedures for unstable angina, stable angina, and heart attack. He also sees patients for hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and high cholesterol as well as to discuss preventive medicine. His clinical interests include complex coronary artery disease procedures with a special interest in left atrial appendage closure procedures for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. His research interests include new catheter devices and innovation of the transradial approach.
Dr. Lager received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania before completing his internship training and residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He then completed a general cardiology and interventional cardiology fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as well as a fellowship in vascular medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital of Boston. Throughout his fellowship training, Dr. Lager served as Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School.
MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute is the first facility in the region to offer the WATCHMAN device, an implantable device used to reduce the risk of stroke in patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Dr. Lager has partnered with his electrophysiology colleagues to implant the WATCHMAN device at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the leading center for WATCHMAN device implantation.
Dr. Lager appreciates referrals from physicians and hospital centers for patients who may qualify for the WATCHMAN left atrial appendage occluder device as well as for patients who desire cardiac catheterization procedures performed via the transradial approach. In addition to being an interventional cardiologist, Dr. Lager places a strong emphasis on prevention and trying to avoid initial problems by looking at the latest data in terms of where preventative therapies can be implemented as early as possible. When not advocating the WATCHMAN device or transradial techniques, Dr. Lager practices regular exercise and pursues his passion for travel.
Philosophy of Care
“I live by the golden rule that I treat patients like I would treat my family members or treat myself. I have found that this simple rule has guided me along my journey to develop an empathetic and patient-centered practice.
“Patients have better outcomes when they are informed and educated. For this reason, I’m very much about communication and transparency. An educated patient is generally a healthy patient. I also ask patients to take ownership of their care and urge them to live a healthy lifestyle.
“Empathy and taking the time to listen are a big part of my practice. The history and the story that one gets by listening to the patient are as valuable as any objective testing that we do. Above all, I want each of my patients to feel that they are my only patient.”
Dr. Lager is one of seven physicians that helped save the life of Steven Jones, the husband of Dr. Sandra Swain.