When Robert Whitehill, MD, was in medical school, he intended to go into his third-year rotations, where physicians typically choose their specialties, with a totally open mind. However, his first rotation was in pediatric cardiac service, and on his very first day, he watched a doctor close an ASD.
It was a routine for procedure for him, but it made a massive difference in the life of a little girl who was not able to keep up with her friends before that surgery,” Dr. Whitehill said. “I fell in love with the specialty right out of the gate, and that rotation became the standard against what I judged everything else. So much for staying open minded!”
Dr. Whitehill is now an electrophysiologist in the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Arrhythmia Program. Electrophysiology is a highly specialized field of study within cardiology that deals with pediatric heart rhythm disorders and the electric system of the heart. He focuses on inherited heart disease and device implantation.
“During my fellowship, I had a couple of patients who were previously healthy and experienced cardiac arrest due to certain arrhythmias,” Dr. Whitehill said. “We were able to fix the problems, and they went on to live healthy lives. It was wildly satisfying and exciting to me that you could make that kind of a difference with electrophysiology. I love the complexity of the medicine, and all the different things you get to do every day.”
Dr. Whitehill completed his training in pediatrics and cardiology in Boston, and he joined Sibley Heart Center Cardiology in 2018. He and his wife, retired professional soccer player Catherine Whitehill, met in college at the University of North Carolina, and they enjoy living close to family in Atlanta.
Being able to come down and work with a such a collaborative group of people has been great,” Dr. Whitehill said. “The best asset of Children’s is the people who work here. Everyone is willing to go the extra mile, take ownership and figure out the best way to help each other and our patients. People are collegial, approachable and willing to accept expertise from each other.”
The Arrhythmia Program doctors implant pacemakers and defibrillators that can address pediatric arrythmias that manifest in children before birth or show up later in life. Some arrythmias can develop after heart surgery or aresecondary to other heart disease. Dr. Whitehill’s team includes genetic counselors who work diligently to identify any heart issues that may be present in the family members of children who have experienced a cardiac event.
“I’m amazed by how much clinical expertise everyone has,” Dr. Whitehill said. “They’re always willing to spend time with patient families to be sure they’re comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment plan. Even when adding an EP case late in the day means a long night for everyone, the team is ready to roll up their sleeves and get it done. That kind of commitment is critical for excellent patient care.”
Robert Dean Whitehill, MD
- Medical school: University of North Carolina School of Medicine
- Residency: Boston Children’s Hospital
- Electrophysiology Fellowship: Boston Children’s Hospital
- Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship: Boston Children’s Hospital
Robert Whitehill completed his MD degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011. Dr. Whitehill completed his residency in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2014, fellowship in Cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2016 with a senior fellowship in electrophysiology completed also at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2018. He received advanced training in caring for patients with pacemaker’s and ICD’s at Boston Children’s Hospital
Dr. Whitehill’s primary clinical/scholarly focus is heart rhythm disorders with invasive electrophysiology studies and device implantation.
Clinic locations: Egleston
Areas of focus
- Heart rhythm disorders with invasive electrophysiology studies and device implantation.
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2011- Present)
- Heart Rhythm Society (2015- Present)
- Pediatric and Congenital EP Society (2016- Present)
- American College of Cardiology (2014- Present)
For more information about Sibley Heart Center Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.