Dr. Sikkel specializes in the management of cardiac arrhythmias including pharmacological and ablative therapy of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias including complex techniques such as epicardial VT ablation. He is also a high volume cryoballoon ablator for atrial fibrillation. He is expert in the implantation of cardiac devices including pacemakers, ICDs and cardiac resynchronization devices, particularly complex CRT including intervention techniques such as snaring and as such he is particularly keen to take on cases involving re-attempting unsuccessful LV lead implantations from other centers. He has also been an early adopter of conduction system pacing including his-bundle pacing and left bundle branch area pacing. While he has expertise in these areas, he prefers to avoid invasive therapies if possible and as such as a keen interest in lifestyle modification to produce corrective cardiac remodeling and treat arrhythmias without the need for interventional/invasive techniques in specific patients.
As part of the Wellcome Fellowship, he completed a Ph.D. on the role of calcium leak from the sarcoplasmic reticulum in promoting ventricular arrhythmias. In addition, he investigated novel mechanisms by which some drugs exert their anti-arrhythmic effects and assessed how the structure of myocytes in cardiac failure related to arrhythmia in this condition using novel imaging techniques. During this research, he was awarded several prizes for presentations related to his including the NHLI Thesis prize for best Ph.D. Thesis.
Dr. Sikkel completed his clinical academic training as a Walport Clinical Lecturer and Devices and Electrophysiology Fellow at Imperial College London in 2017. He attained the Heart Rhythm Society Young Investigator Award 2017 in Chicago for his work on the development of a novel hypoxia-activated antiarrhythmic drug of which he is a coinventor. Dr. Sikkel also invested in the role of high-density electroanatomical mapping in improving ablative therapies and investigated new ways to treat AF including ganglionated plexus ablation as well as novel technologies for mapping atrial tachycardias.
His current research interests include gaining a deeper understanding of the biology and physiology of required cardiac disease, using this understanding to design novel therapeutic methods to treat acquired cardiac disease more effectively than the standard current of care, and in understanding when expensive and invasive therapies are likely to be futile in cardiology. His most recent grant awarded by Island Health’s Catalyst program involves a collaboration with the Department of Engineering at the University of Victoria creating a converter enabling physicians to downgrade ICDs to pacemakers in elderly and frail patients when appropriate.
Markus Sikkel graduated from Imperial College School of Medicine in 2004 with a distinction in clinical practice and prizes in medicine, surgery, pharmacology, ophthalmology and public health. He attained 1st class honours in his intercalated BSc in Pharmacology and Toxicology.
His postgraduate medical training included comprehensive surgical and medical training with full MRCS qualifications achieved in 2006 and MRCP in 2008. He began cardiology-specific specialty registrar training in 2009 as an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow. This allowed him to attain a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship which he took up within the myocardial function section at Imperial College. He also completed an international electrophysiology fellowship in Victoria, Canada. He qualified as a consultant cardiologist in 2017 and moved to Victoria in 2017 to practice.
As well as the academic highlights noted above, Dr. Sikkel is particularly proud to have had the vision to collaborate with Stefan Fletcher and Rebalance and set up Pulse C3. This provides a cohesive group of cardiologists and allied specialists the opportunity to work collaboratively within a center of excellence to provide world-class cardiology care for cardiac patients within our community and further afield. He aspires to build on this and help make Pulse C3 an exemplar for outpatient cardiology care both across Canada and further afield.