Li Zhang, MD

Photo of Li Zhang


Phone: 484.476.2694

Office: R129-A

Department: Faculty

Association: Resident Faculty

Clinical Department: Cardiology

Other Appointment:Director, Cardiovascular Outcomes Research, Main Line Health


1977–82 Doctor of Medicine, Xi’an Medical University, Xi’an, China

Current Appointments

2008–Present: Director, Cardiovascular Outcomes Research, Main Line Health Heart Center, Lankenau Medical Center

2010–Present: Associate Professor, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

2013–Present: Chair, Subcommittee for Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology, Chinese American Heart Association 

Research Interests

  • cardiology
  • sudden cardiac death
  • inherited arrhythmia
  •  channelopathy

About her work

Dr. Zhang’s primary research focus is to achieve accurate diagnoses of lethal heart rhythm disorders in a timely and cost-effective manner for the prevention of sudden cardiac death. Her expertise in genotype prediction inherited long QT syndrome (LQTS) is well recognized by cardiologists worldwide. Zhang is the author and co-author of more than 180 cardiology research publications including peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters and abstracts.

Google Scholar page

Research Summary

Dr. Zhang was part of a team that developed the largest inherited long QT syndrome (LQTS) pedigree in North America. From this family, the first LQTS-causing gene was discovered. Subsequently, LQTS investigations abounded as research publications of gene mutation identifications and genotype-phenotype correlation studies in LQTS were published. Dr. Zhang was a coauthor in a series of high-impact publications with International LQTS Registry Investigators. Having the genotype information of LQTS available, she identified 10 gene-specific T wave patterns, including four in LQT1, four in LQT2 and two in LQT3.

In 2000, Dr. Zhang and her collaborators published a ground-breaking research article in the journal Circulation, in which they claimed that ECG patterns can predict LQTS genotype. The discovery implies that the diagnosis of LQTS can be much simplified if a gene-specific T wave pattern is present on a patient’s ECG. Taking this approach Dr. Zhang hypothesized intronic mutations could be LQTS-causing. Her hypothesis was proven true in 2004.

The following year she published another article in Circulation that demonstrated gene-specific T-U wave patterns could predict Andersen-Tawil syndrome (LQT7). In the past 16 years, she highlighted the ECG-guided targeted genotyping, especially in developing countries, because it is fast, accurate and highly cost-effective.

In 2005, Dr. Zhang set out to simplify the clinical diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD). By collaborating with Drs. Guy H Fontaine, Frank Marcus, Wojciech Zareba and Tink Long from ARVD family support group, she developed a simple approach that can help recognize ARVD from a standard 12-lead ECG after carefully studying ECG manifestations in more than 300 patients. Her mission is to achieve accurate diagnosis of inherited arrhythmias with the least cost possible for the prevention of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young people.

Since acquired long QT syndrome (ALQTS) is much more common than the inherited form, and ALQTS has long been overlooked in clinical management, Dr. Zhang started a series of investigations toward early identification of high-risk ALQTS individuals for the purpose of SCD prevention.

Over the years her cardiovascular research has been supported by the American Heart Association and several private foundations.

2016 Select Publications

Does Anemia Cause QT Prolongation in Patients with Hematologic Disorders? Fei YD, Li YG, Surkis W, Zhang L. Chinese Med J. 2016 (Accepted)

2015 Select Publications

Common Genotypes of Long QT Syndrome in China and the Role of ECG Prediction. Gao YF, Liu WL, Li CL, Qiu XL, Qin XG, Guo BJ, Liu XQ, Li JF, Yuan Y, Li XM, Liang L, LI L, Hong K, Pu JL, Liu JQ; Wang Q, Zhang L, Hu DY. Cardiology. 2016;133:73–78.

Right Ventricular Outflow Tract Tachycardia with Structural Abnormalities of the Right Ventricle and Left Ventricular Diverticulum. Martini B, Trevisi N, Martiniaf N, Zhang L. Case Reports in Cardiology 2015. Article ID 708687,

2014 Select Publications

Is the phenotype-genotype relationship necessary to understand cardiomyopathies? Fontaine GH, Zhang L. Corc Cardopvasc Genet. 7(4):405-6, 2014.

Identification of Kv11.1 Isoform Switch as a Novel Pathogenic Mechanism of Long QT Syndrome. Gong Q, Stump M, Deng V, Zhang L, Zhou Z. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 7:482-490, 2014.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Can the Noninvasive Diagnostic Testing Identify High Risk Patients? Zhang L, Mmagu O, Liu LW, Li DY, Fan YX, Baranchuk A, Kowey PR. World J Cardiol. 6(8):764-70, 2014.

2013 Select Publications

The Phenotype Characteristics of Type-13 Long QT Syndrome. Wang F, Liu JQ, Hong L, Liang L, Graff C, Yang YZ, Christiansen M, Olesen SP, Zhang L, Kanters JK. Heart Rhythm. 10(10):1500-6, 2013.

Mega-Epsilon Waves on 12-Lead ECG — Just Another Case of Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy? Khaji A, Zhang L, Kowey PR, Martinez-Lage M, Kocovic D. J Electrocardiol. 46(6):524-7, 2013.

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