Sections & Programs

Cardiac Surgery

The Section of Cardiac 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. While the most recent national data indicates that patients wait an average of four months for a transplant, 50 percent of our patients receive a transplant in approximately one month. Our program's physicians and surgeons were the first to successfully simultaneously perform a heart, liver, and kidney transplant. 

Our pediatric cardiac surgeons are at the forefront of surgical procedures. Our state-of-the-art Comer Children's Hospital 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 routinely perform minimally invasive valve surgeries, including complex redo valves. 

The Section of Cardiac Surgery has a robust clinical and research enterprise. 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 actively enrolls in a number of ongoing clinical trials and is part of 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.

The University of Chicago Medicine's Section of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery is dedicated to excellent patient care for the most complex medical conditions. We are recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best hospitals in the nation for heart surgery.

The section is also well known for its innovation and access to the some of the most advanced technology available. Our surgeons are constantly striving to maximize their use of minimally invasive surgery through both robotic-assisted and video-assisted procedures. Minimally invasive surgery represents the new standard of both technology and patient care. It allows for more precise procedures on the part of the doctors while also allowing patients to return to their normal lives more quickly and safely. The Section of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery was the first in Chicago to utilize the da Vinci machine in a coronary artery bypass surgery and continues to pioneer surgical techniques for newborns suffering from hypoplactic left heart syndrome. The section's wide array of procedures and treatments fall under four specialties: cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, pediatric surgery and transplantation.

The Section of Cardiac Surgery is actively involved in a wide range of basic science and clinical research on cardiac and thoracic diseases. Scientists within the section utilize bench, outcomes and translational techniques in an effort to improve patient outcomes and prevent disease progression. Some of our ongoing research includes: ischemia reperfusion, the molecular basis of heart failure, lung immunology and transplantation.

Aside from running two basic science laboratories, there are a number of active clinical trials being run within the section at any given time. Currently, faculty members are collaborating with industry counterparts to evaluate new heart valves, organ preservation devices, and ventricular assist devices. The clinical and outcomes research done within the section is performed in collaboration with a number of parties, including Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center, Department of Health Studies, and the Sections of Hematology/Oncology, Radiology, Cardiology and various industry leaders.

Without solid research in the areas of basic science, clinical and outcomes research would not be possible. We have an active basic science laboratories, led by Mahesh Gupta, PhD, that performs cutting-edge research on the disease etiology of heart failure.

The Sections of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery provide comprehensive, personalized training in cardiothoracic surgery through an ACGME-accredited Cardiothoracic Fellowship program.

The Section of Cardiac provides advanced training in cardiothoracic transplant surgery services, including both heart and lung transplantation through a non-ACGME accredited Cardiothoracic Transplantation Fellowship program. 

Cardiac Surgery Faculty