Written by Diane Krieger
Shh. Don’t tell anyone, but
Dr. Matthew Ostrom is a smoker.
Not that kind of smoker. He’s a cardiologist, after all. His idea
of a “good smoke” is firing up the backyard Traeger, loading
it with brisket and kicking back for 12 hours.
“Low and slow is the key,” he shares with a lazy smile, then
adds self-consciously: “Don’t get me wrong—I’m
not eating red meat every day of the week!”
Dr. Ostrom is a cardiac electrophysiologist—an expert on the electrical
impulses in the heart. He spends about half his time in scrubs, usually
installing pacemakers and defibrillators or snaking catheters up leg veins
and arteries into patients’ hearts. When they’re awake again,
he drills them on good eating habits and regular exercise as the key to
“I’m also trying to set an example in my own life,” says
Dr. Ostrom, who is part of COR Healthcare Medical Associates and member
of Torrance Memorial’s Lundquist Lurie Cardiovascular Institute.
By example-setting, he means playing in two adult basketball leagues, riding
his Peloton bike, surfing, plus the occasional round of golf and ski trip
to Mammoth. If that isn’t enough, Dr. Ostrom gets additional exercise
“chasing after” Maisey, 12, Luke, 11, and Benjamin, 9. Last
year his wife, Dr. Kathleen Ostrom, scaled back her career as a pediatric
hospitalist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and now practices
outpatient pediatrics at a downtown CHLA clinic. Rounding out the Ostrom
household are Laney, the black-and-brown rescue pup who arrived last March,
and Russell Wilson, a leopard gecko named after the Seattle Seahawks star
Seattle is Dr. Ostrom’s hometown. The son of a dentist and dental
hygienist, he was exposed to the medical profession early. His mother
was diagnosed with cancer when he was just 14. She lived to see her son
graduate from medical school.
Dr. Ostrom and his wife met in a microbiology class as seniors at the University
of Washington. They had the extraordinarily good fortune of being admitted
to medical schools in the same city. He went to Loyola University of Chicago;
she graduated from Northwestern. Then they lucked out again, both matching
at residency programs in Los Angeles. She trained at Children’s
Hospital; he trained at Harbor-UCLA.
They were married in 2003 at American Martyrs in Manhattan Beach, where
their kids now go to school. They settled down in Hermosa Beach, Kathleen’s hometown.
Dr. Ostrom loves practicing in the South Bay. “Torrance Memorial
is truly unique,” he says. “It’s not just a great community
hospital but a world-class hospital. We do pretty much everything here.”
Dr. Ostrom loves being a cardiologist, and electrophysiology is especially
rewarding. “There are some life-threatening arrhythmias, like supraventricular
tachycardia or Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, where we can actually cure
the patient,” he says. Few medical subspecialties can make that boast.
When Dr. Ostrom isn’t curing arrhythmias or working up a sweat on
the basketball court, he “consumes“ audiobooks and long-form
podcasts, including what he calls “dorky doctor podcasts.”
And of course, he smokes. “I made some carnitas the other day from
a pork shoulder,” he says, grinning. He downed the delicious smoked
meat with a good craft beer.
Shh. Don’t tell anyone.
Name: Matthew Ostrom
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Favorite Coffee: “I’m a French roast guy, either drip or Americano. I drink
Favorite Brewery/Beer: Monkish Brewing Co. in Torrance; Foggy Window
Favorite Podcasts: The Tim Ferriss Show; Bloomberg’s Masters in Business; The Peter
Attia Drive “Dorky Doctor” Podcast: White Coat Investor (“Doctors
are generally terrible stewards of money,” Dr. Ostrom says.)
Recent Good Reads: Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A Offit, MD, and Sapiens:
A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari. (“I’m also a
huge fan of Nassim Taleb,” Dr. Ostrom says. Favorite titles include
Antifragile, Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan.)
Matthew Ostrom, MD, is an electrophysiology specialist at Torrance Memorial’s COR Healthcare
in Torrance. He can be reached at (310) 257-0508.