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.
Areas of expertise
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.
Off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB)
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 & 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.
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.
Consultations & locations
- Adults: 314-362-7260
- Children: 314-454-6165
Our Cardiac Surgeons
- Ralph J. Damiano, Jr., MD, Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
- Akinobu Itoh, MD, PhD
- Puja Kachroo, MD
- Kunal Kotkar, MD
- Muhammad Faraz Masood, MD
- Spencer J. Melby, MD
- Nabil Munfakh, MD (Christian Hospital)
- Michael K. Pasque, MD