Departmental Highlights & News

Drs. Norman Shumway, left, and Donald C. Harrison meet the press after they perform the first adult human transplant in the United States in January 1968.

Stanford is able to leverage a series of "firsts," including the first heart transplant in the US, the first heart-lung transplant in the world, and one of the first left ventricular assist device (LVAD) procedures in the world. Stanford dominates the market in programs involving a high percentage of complex procedures. Several of Stanford's most successful cardiac programs have a broad geographical base, with over 20% of the volume for heart transplants, aorta and valve procedures coming from outside the Bay Area. Stanford also has a strong international cardiac market with cardiac patients representing more than 50% of overall international business. 

Dr. Bruce Reitz and his surgical team perform the world’s first successful combined adult human heart-lung transplant in 1981

Department research and clinical expertise showcased at the 2021 Society of Thoracic Surgeons Annual Meeting

The STS Annual Meeting was an immersive digital experience that combined a tradition of excellence with the innovation of tomorrow. STS 2021 was a fully virtual annual meeting that was designed for all members of the cardiothoracic surgery team. Whether you’re an experienced surgeon, just starting your career, still in training, or an allied health professional, there was an immense amount of content designed to keep you up to date in the rapidly evolving field of cardiothoracic surgery.  

More, better, faster: A standout year for Stanford Health Care’s heart transplant program

While the COVID-19 pandemic forced some transplant centers to temporarily slow or even shut down, Stanford Medicine’s program continued apace, as the medical center maintained enough beds for patients, who were housed in an isolated unit, and established a rigorous testing program to ensure patient safety.

Leah Backhus and CT Surgery "Cardinal Chest Cutters" win Team Spirit Award at TSF Virtual Fun Run & Walk

Participants ran or walked this virtual 5K during the week of January 22-31, 2021. All proceeds benefitted TSF cardiothoracic surgery research programs.  

Stanford Hospital Receives Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award

Stanford Hospital is pleased to announce that its application for recognition as a Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center has been approved. In partnership with the American Heart Association and Mitral Foundation, the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award was created to recognize centers in the United States that have a demonstrated record of superior clinical outcomes in degenerative mitral valve repair resulting from evidence-based guideline treatment. This award recognizes Stanford Hospital's contribution to advancing best practice in the surgical treatment of mitral valve disease.

Dr. Leah Backhus interviewed on STS podcast, "Same Surgeon, Different Light"

In this episode, Dr. David Tom Cooke interviews STS Director-at-Large Dr. Leah Backhus from Stanford Health Care. Listeners will learn how positive labels “slapped on” Dr. Backhus at a young age help buoy her throughout her journey, but she cautions that such labels can be good and bad and explains why. Dr. Backhus also shares that after an “unwelcoming reception” into neurosurgery, she chose a career in cardiothoracic surgery. This experience helped her realize that mentors “do not have to look like you, they just need to get you.” “Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a program from the Society designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks.