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Cardiac & Thoracic Surgery

The Section of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Chicago draws upon a tradition of innovative clinical practice and scientific research to provide the highest level of care to our patients. We continue to pioneer and develop new programs and techniques.

Our cardiac surgeons have established a renowned heart transplant program, which is the largest in Illinois and second largest in the Midwest. One key element to our success is our patients' wait time on the transplant list as compared to the national average. While the most recent national data indicates that patients wait an average of eight months for a transplant, 50 percent of our patients receive a transplant in approximately one month. Furthermore, our program's physicians and surgeons were the first to successfully simultaneously perform a heart, liver and kidney transplant and have extensive experience in multiple organ transplants. In February 2006, led by Wickii Vigneswaran, M.D., we expanded our thoracic surgery and transplantation programs to include both lung and lung/heart transplantation. These additions, along with our extensive thoracic surgery practice, will allow us to serve more patients who have lung disease.

Our pediatric cardiac surgeons are also at the forefront of surgical procedures. In February 2005, the Comer Children's Hospital opened on the University of Chicago Medical Center campus. This state-of-the-art facility allows our faculty to enhance and expand their innovative and pioneering work in hybrid surgery - a minimally invasive, off-pump approach for newborns suffering from hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This technique buys time, enables the infant to survive without a massive operation soon after birth and allows the child to grow for several months, which makes follow-up operations easier.

Complementing these complex surgical techniques is our faculty's vast experience in minimally invasive surgical techniques. We were the first to perform a DaVinci-assisted coronary artery bypass graft surgery in Chicago and have performed over 150 minimally invasive valve surgeries, including complex redo valves. Minimally invasive surgery produces less bleeding, less pain and better cosmetic results. It also allows patients to return to their normal daily activities more quickly.

The Section of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery has a robust clinical and research enterprise. Annually, the Section performs more than 550 and 500 major cardiac and thoracic cases, respectively, including approximately 50 thoracic organ transplants. Physician-scientists within the Section pursue a wide range of projects, including bench, translational, and outcomes research focused on cardiac and thoracic diseases. The Section has an active R01-funded laboratory led by Mahesh Gupta, PhD, who is studying the molecular basis of heart failure.

The Section also has ongoing clinical research projects intended to improve patient outcomes. This research is performed in collaboration with a number of partners, including the Department of Health Studies; Center for Health and the Social Sciences; Argonne National Laboratory; the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center; and the Sections of Hematology/Oncology, Radiology, Vascular Surgery, and Cardiology.

The Section active enrolls in a number of ongoing clinical trials and recently joined the prestigious NHLBI-sponsored Cardiothoracic Clinical Trials Network. In addition, the Section contributes to the Society of Thoracic Surgeon (STS) Database, International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection (IRAD), the Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (InterMACS), American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG), and Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB). Faculty members also work closely with industry partners to develop and evaluate devices for use in organ preservation and in the treatment of valvular disease and heart failure.

As Chief of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, I am extremely proud to work collaboratively with such a distinguished group of surgeons, physicians and researchers. One of our section's great strengths is the spirit of innovation that runs through our program. This spirit of innovation is coupled with a passion for delivering the best results for not only our patients, but for patients with cardiac and thoracic ailments throughout the world.


VJeevanandam portraitValluvan Jeevanandam, MD
Professor of Surgery
Chief of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery