Heart Surgery

Washington University heart surgeons have a long history of performing cardiac surgical procedures and of providing exceptional postoperative care. These specialists, as part of the only heart program in Missouri ranked in the top 13 nationally by U.S. News and World Report, are widely recognized as leaders in heart surgery.

These heart surgeons – working with cardiologists, vascular surgeons and a highly qualified, experienced nursing staff – offer the latest advances in technology and innovative therapies. They also employ practices supported by scientific evidence as they strive to achieve the best possible outcomes in patients undergoing heart surgery. Their areas of expertise include:

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery: Washington University heart surgeons use evidence-supported practices to reduce major complications such as wound infections, arrhythmias, hemorrhage and stroke during or shortly after a CABG operation. They also take other proven steps to optimize CABG outcomes in the areas of medication usage, physical rehabilitation and discharge planning.

In addition to traditional CABG surgery, heart surgeons perform off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB), which may help patients avoid some neurological deficits, shorten recovery time and reduce the risk of pulmonary complications. For patients who need only a single bypass (one artery to repair), endoscopic CABG also may be an option. Benefits of this less invasive technique include less postoperative pain, a shorter hospital stay and a shorter recovery period.

Heart valve surgery: Heart surgeons perform aortic and mitral valve repairs and regularly effect valve replacement (valvuloplasty), using minimally invasive approaches when appropriate.

Heart failure and transplantation: An integrated program manages both heart transplant patients and heart failure patients who are not candidates for transplantation. Patients benefit from the expertise of cardiac surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine, who are among the leaders in clinical research on ventricular assist devices. The integrated team approach and expertise of team members also help patients referred in the early stages of their heart disease. They receive care that may postpone – or even eliminate – the need for a transplant.

Maze procedure: Developed at Washington University School of Medicine, the Maze (often called Cox Maze) procedure is a surgical intervention that has a high success rate in curing atrial fibrillation, the most common form of irregular heart rhythm. More recently, Washington University cardiac surgeons have developed a minimally invasive Maze procedure that takes less operative time and has proven just as successful as the traditional approach.

Thoracic aortic disease: The Center for Diseases of the Thoracic Aorta is dedicated to performing specialized evaluation and treatment for patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms, acute and chronic aortic dissections, and Marfan syndrome. The Center provides initial assessment and evaluation, surgical intervention (if necessary) and long-term surveillance in partnership with the primary care physician.

For a consultation regarding a heart condition, call:

(888) 800-9484 (toll free)
Adults (314) 362-7260
Children (314) 454-6165


Heart and Vascular Center (Center for Advanced Medicine)
Christian Hospital (learn more about Heart Program at Christian Hospital)

Learn About Our Surgeons

Ralph J. Damiano, Jr., MD, Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Keki Balsara, MD

Akinobu Itoh, MD, PhD

Hersh S. Maniar, MD

Puja Kachroo, MD

Spencer J. Melby, MD

Muhammad Faraz Masood, MD

Marc R. Moon, MD, Chief, Cardiac Surgery

Nabil Munfakh, MD (Christian Hospital)

Michael K. Pasque, MD