graduated with an MBBCh from the University of Witwatersrand in 1989. He is a Member of the Royal Colleges of Physicians (MRCP (UK) 1994 and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa (FCP (SA) 1996. He registered as a specialist cardiologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) in 2000 after completing his specialist training at the University of Cape Town after returning to South Africa from the UK in 1995. He is a member of the South African Heart Association (SAHA), the South African Society of Cardiovascular Intervention (SASCI), and the American College of Cardiology.


Diagnosis and management of heart conditions

Dr Abelson diagnoses and manages the following conditions
to improve cardiovascular health:

  • Chest pain (Angina, Heart Attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • Valvular heart disease (Leaking or blocked heart valves)
  • Heart failure (Weak heart function)
  • Heart arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms)
  • Carotid artery stenosis (narrowing of the carotid artery to the brain)
  • Acute stroke intervention (Open blocked artery causing the stroke)
  • Stroke prevention in Atrial Fibrillation (Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion)
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Echocardiography (transthoracic and trans-oesophageal)


Echocardiography is a diagnostic test that, through sound waves, captures live images of your heart to assess the heart muscle’s functional status and look for valvular disorders. READ MORE

ECG and stress ECG


A stress ECG, an exercise electrocardiogram, introduces physical activity to test your heart’s health. As you jog on the treadmill or cycle on a stationary bike, an electrocardiogram measures your heart rate and ECG throughout the activity, looking for any signs of blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.

Coronary angiography and coronary interventions


Coronary angiography and coronary interventions diagnose and treat coronary artery disease progression that happens when the coronary arteries, which transfer blood to the heart, constrict due to the accumulation of sticky plaque within its walls. This procedure is done via the radial or femoral artery in theatre under local anaesthetic, and the patient is mostly able to go home the same day.

Trans-femoral aortic valve replacement (TAVR))


Trans-femoral aortic valve replacement, also known as TAVI, is an alternative to open-heart surgery to insert a new Aortic Valve in patients deemed to be at higher risk for surgery. The procedure is done via the femoral artery in the groin under local anaesthetic. A new valve expands into the diseased valve, pushing its edges away to control and maintain a healthy blood flow. The procedure takes approximately 1 hour, and most patients are discharged home within 48 hours of the procedure.

Carotid artery stenting

Carotid artery stenting is a procedure to dilate severely narrowed carotid arteries that run alongside the neck and supply blood to the brain, mostly in patients who have suffered a TIA (or mini-stroke) or a small stroke. This is done via the femoral artery under local anaesthetic and is an alternative to surgical endarterectomy, which is done by a vascular surgeon. The procedure requires an overnight stay in hospital.

Acute large vessel occlusion stroke mechanical embolectomy

Mechanical embolectomy is a procedure that is done to treat acute strokes due to large artery occlusions from a blood clot (embolism to the brain) and uses a small stent-like device and image guidance to access and remove the offending blood clot. This is done via the femoral artery. This method has been proven to be the most effective way to treat large strokes and was first done in South Africa by Dr Abelson in 2007. Unfortunately, this life-saving procedure is still only available in very few hospitals in South Africa.

Left atrial appendage occlusion for atrial fibrillation

Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion is a permanent procedure that closes the left atrial appendage to minimise the risk of stroke without the need to take blood thinners for patients with atrial fibrillation. It is mostly done in patients who are unable to tolerate blood thinners such as warfarin, Pradaxa or Xarelto but is also an option in those who are at high risk of bleeding or refuse such drugs. The procedure is done via the femoral vein with a light anaesthetic.

Pacemaker implantation

A pacemaker is an electronic medical device that’s implanted underneath your collarbone, in your chest. It is used to treat patients with very slow heartbeats and for certain heart failure conditions.