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


2024 Stanford Pride Parade

The Stanford Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery is excited to co-sponsor the 4th Annual Pride Parade on Stanford campus! Pride flags and swag items will be passed out while quantities last. All are welcome.

April 16, 2024

Low-Dose CT Scans Can Save Countless Lives From Lung Cancer. So Why Aren't People Getting Them?

With far better accuracy rates than previously thought, this exam could be a real game-changer for high-risk groups. That’s a big deal, says Natalie Lui, MD, the surgical director of Stanford’s Lung Cancer Screening Program in California. 

April 12, 2024

Stanford Cardiothoracic Surgery Quarterly Newsletter 2024

The Department experienced exciting developments in the first few months of 2024.

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April 3, 2024

Podcast: Same Surgeon, Different Light with Dr. Lillian Tsai

Dr. David T. Cooke talks with Dr. Angelica Martin, UC Davis Health, and Dr. Lillian Tsai, Stanford Medicine, about their career journeys and the people who have been a positive influence on them. Lillian Tsai, MD is a PGY6, General Thoracic Surgery Fellow, in our current Traditional CT Surgery Fellowship

April 2, 2024

Central Valley Hospital provides critical cardiac care

Kaweah Health, the largest hospital in the Central Valley’s Tulare County, recently became affiliated with Stanford Medicine’s Cardiac Surgery Program. 

April 1, 2024

Kaweah Health and Stanford Health Care are working together to grow cardiac surgical care

Michael McLean, MD, is the first cardiothoracic surgeon recruited for the new affiliation between Stanford Medicine’s Cardiac Surgery Program and Kaweah Health.

April 1, 2024

Elevating Innovation in Cardiothoracic Surgery: Insights from Dr. Joon Bum Kim's Translational Surgeon Scientist Visiting Professor Lecture

The Stanford Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery was excited to host the 5th Translational Surgeon Scientist Visiting Professor Lecture by Joon Bum Kim, MD, PhD, Professor and Chief of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Director of the Aortic Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea.

April 1, 2024

Dr. Ngan F. Huang Inducted into the 2024 Class of the AIMBE College of Fellows

In a recent press release, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) announced the induction of Ngan F. Huang, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine to its College of Fellows.

March 28, 2024

Healthier, Happy Lives: A Heart Ready for Everything

Lifelong care from the Pulmonary Artery Reconstruction program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has helped Nicholas achieve more than anyone might ever have imagined. Nicholas, now 13, recently ran the fastest mile in his class and was a first pick for the flag football team at his school in South Carolina, where he was born.

March 27, 2024

Match Day 2024: Three new interns join cardiothoracic surgery residency program

Stanford Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery welcomed three new residents to the Integrated Cardiothoracic Surgical Training Program. Please join us in welcoming Ellelan Degife from Yale University School of Medicine, Sofia Hu from Harvard Medical School, and Benjamin Shou from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to the department! 

March 27, 2024

For Top-Performing Heart Transplant Program, Innovation Is Key to Success

The recently released biannual statistics from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients has once again ranked Stanford Health Care’s Heart Transplant Program as one of the best in the country. 

March 26, 2024

Black women surgeons break barriers and save lives

Two of Stanford Medicine’s boldest and brightest female cardiothoracic surgeons—Leah Backhus, MD, MPH, FACS, and Elan Burton, MD, MHA—came together recently to make history by completing a highly complex combined heart-lung tumor resection. 

March 25, 2024

Embracing Tomorrow's Surgeons: Stanford CT Surgery's Match Day Excitement

During the lead-up to Match Day, the department took the week to reflect on all the hard work, accomplishments, and day-to-day life of a few of our trainees. 

March 22, 2024

New DCD heart transplant technique could reduce risk of serious injury

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine recently published a study in JAMA Network Open about their use of the "beating heart" transplant procedure using DCD organs in 10 patients. They found it to be safe and associated with key benefits. 

March 19, 2024

The Surgeon’s Role in Managing Patients with Resectable NSCLC

In this video, Dr. Leah Backhus, thoracic surgeon and professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford Medicine, discusses the surgeon’s role in managing patients with resectable non-small cell lung cancer. 

March 8, 2024

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Recognizing women in cardiothoracic surgery

In celebration of Women's History Month in March and International Women's Day on March 8th, we are spotlighting some of the remarkable women faculty members within the Stanford Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. We aim to showcase their impactful contributions, from the operating room to their research labs to global health initiatives.

March 7, 2024

Aravind Krishnan, MD Awarded Prestigious TSMA Trainee Teaching Award

Each year, the Thoracic Surgery Medical Student Association selects two outstanding residents or fellows in cardiothoracic surgery to receive the TSMA Trainee Teaching Award. This year’s pick is one of our own, Aravind Krishnan, MD who in his 4th year of CT surgery residency and currently completing his mentored post-doctoral research fellowship.

March 7, 2024

Spotlight: Dr. Lye-Yeng Wong

Lye-Yeng Wong is a general surgery resident from Oregon Health Sciences University currently in her professional development years working in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. She has been involved in prior global surgery activities and joined the ENTRUST team about 18 months ago under Drs. Cara Liebert and Dana Lin.

March 6, 2024

Stanford Medicine researchers receive funding from Wellcome Leap Initiative

Wellcome Leap has selected three Stanford Medicine investigators, including Dr. Billie-Jean Martin from the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, to receive funding through its Surgery, Assess, Validate, Expand Program.

March 6, 2024

Dr. Leah Backhus named Thelma and Henry Doelger Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery

Dr. Backhus serves as Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Palo Alto VA Health Care System, Co-Director of the Thoracic Surgery Clinical Research Program, and Associate Program Director, Thoracic Track, CT Surgery Residency Training Program. Her surgical practice consists of general thoracic surgery with special emphasis on thoracic oncology and minimally invasive surgical techniques. She joined the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University in 2015.

March 5, 2024

Parents seek help in their fight to save 'Gideon the Brave'

Once the Scheutzows knew what was going on with their baby, the entire family went to Palo Alto, California, in December 2019 to meet Dr. Frank Hanley, a physician with Stanford Medicine who has pioneered a surgery to save children like Gideon. 

March 4, 2024

Newsweek: World's Best Hospitals 2024 (Stanford Health Care)

Each hospital's score is based on an online survey of more than 85,000 medical experts and public data from post-hospitalization patient surveys on their general satisfaction. The score also considers metrics on things like hygiene and patient/doctor ratio as well as a Statista survey on whether hospitals use Patient Reported Outcome Measures, which are standardized questionnaires completed by patients to assess their experience and results.

March 4, 2024

Dr. Anson Lee nominated into prestigious American Association for Thoracic Surgery

We are thrilled to announce that Anson Lee, MD, Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery with Stanford Medicine is now a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Members are nominated by current members who complete a lengthy application process, including three sponsors.

March 4, 2024

Stanford designated a Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association Center of Excellence

The Stanford Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, recognized as a Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association Center of Excellence, offers specialized care for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Leveraging Stanford's extensive expertise and experience in managing a substantial volume of HCM cases, the center provides patients with access to resources and knowledge specific to their conditions.

March 1, 2024

Gift of Life Celebrated at Warriors’ African American Heritage Night

During African American Heritage Night at Chase Center, seven Stanford Medicine Children’s Health transplant patients had the honor to stand next to their favorite Golden State Warriors’ players during the National Anthem. The “Anthem Buddies” were being celebrated as they all went through or are going through a transplant journey.

February 19, 2024

Hot Topics Mini-Series - Beating Heart Transplant

Featuring Dr. Brandon Guenthart, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford Medicine. Dr. Guenthart explores the conditions requiring heart transplantation, addresses the scarcity of donor hearts, and discusses its impact on patients awaiting transplants.

February 19, 2024

CT Surgery Faculty Featured in CVI Winter Quarterly

The latest CVI newsletter is filled with numerous updates and commendable achievements from the Stanford Health Care and Stanford School of Medicine team. 

February 13, 2024

Boy Tames His Single Ventricle Condition With His Lion Heart

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health provides specialized heart care to give Judah the best possible outcome

February 12, 2024

Advancing Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering: Recent Grants Propel Research of Ngan F. Huang

Dr. Huang is a Principal Investigator at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and has recently been awarded multiple prestigious grants for her groundbreaking work in Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering. 

February 9, 2024

Stanford's Cardiothoracic Surgeons and Residents Shine at 60th Annual STS Conference

The 60th Annual Society for Thoracic Surgery (STS) conference held in San Antonio, TX, from January 27th to 29th, 2024, brought together a plethora of distinguished professionals in the field of cardiothoracic surgery.

February 9, 2024

Women Build Bonds and Break Ceilings to Redefine Leadership in Cardiothoracic Surgery

As with many aspects of career development, gender plays a significant role both inwardly and outwardly. It shapes how we relate to others and how they relate to us. It also is a social construct that is deeply rooted in history.

February 7, 2024

Dr. Elisabeth Martin Named Surgical Director of Pediatric Pulmonary Artery Reconstruction

Leaders within the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Stanford Medicine selected Dr. Martin for her international reputation of being an exceptionally-skilled heart surgeon, and her deep knowledge of the PAR program at Stanford Children’s Health. 

February 7, 2024

Dr. Michael Ma Named Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery

This announcement reflects Dr. Ma’s deep commitment and appreciation for the culture of the Moore Children’s Heart Center, which unifies the cardiothoracic surgery team around improving the lives of children with groundbreaking, advanced cardiothoracic surgeries.

February 7, 2024

Faculty Spotlight: Regenerative Bioengineer, Ngan Huang

Ngan Huang, PhD is Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering. Her research investigates the interactions between stem cells and extracellular matrix microenvironment for engineering cardiovascular tissues to treat cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases.

February 6, 2024

Stanford Cardiothoracic Transplantation Summit A Success

Cardiothoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, cardiologists, nurse specialists, transplant coordinators, pharmacists, and dieticians congregated from around the world in Vail, Colorado from January 20 - 23, 2024.

February 6, 2024

World Cancer Day: Stanford Cancer Researchers Drive Progress in Closing the Care Gap

In honor of the 2024 World Cancer Day theme “Close the Care Gap,” we are highlighting a few Stanford cancer researchers—including the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery's Dr. Natalie Lui—working to close the care gap in diverse populations through screening, clinical trials, prevention, and community engagement.

February 2024

Celebrating Black Excellence in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford Medicine

In the spirit of Black History Month 2024, Stanford Medicine and Stanford Cardiothoracic Surgery Department pays tribute to the immeasurable contributions of Black Americans, emphasizing their pivotal role in advancing the institution's mission and enriching its cultural fabric.

February 5, 2024

Heart Health Month 2024

We express our gratitude to all departments at Stanford for their support of Heart Month, and all that it represents. Here is a snapshot of the ongoing efforts to improve heart care at Stanford, and Heart Month events across campus.

February 5, 2024

Girl Faces Open-Heart Surgery With Strength, Humor, and Grace

Los Gatos family has nothing but gratitude for daughter’s heart care at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health

February 1, 2024

Dr. Michael Fischbein named Thelma and Henry Doelger Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery

The Stanford Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery is pleased to share the news of the appointment of Michael Fischbein, MD, PhD, Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, as the Thelma and Henry Doelger Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery.

January 29, 2024

Unveiling Visual Excellence: Stanford's Adult Chest Wall Surgery Program - New Patient Education and Patience Experience Videos

The Thoracic Surgery team at the Stanford Cardiothoracic Surgery Department is proud to announce the release of new patient experience and education videos focused on the comprehensive care provided by their Adult Chest Wall Surgery Program. This program, led by Dr. Leah Backhus, encompasses a multidisciplinary approach to chest wall reconstruction, ensuring that patients with chest wall tumors receive holistic and specialized care.

January 26, 2024

Dr. Yihan Lin receives funding to study maternal and fetal outcomes in Rwandan women with mechanical heart valves

Yihan Lin, MD, MPH, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford School of Medicine, has been awarded a Clinician Educator Award from the Stanford Maternal and Child Health Research Institute to support her project on maternal and fetal health outcomes in low-income countries.

January 25, 2024

Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Michael Ma, Leads Humanitarian Mission to Vietnam

Michael Ma, MD, Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon with the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford Medicine, completed his first-ever humanitarian mission as the lead, solo surgeon and co-leader of a prominent North American team. The mission took place near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and included 20 to 25 pediatric specialists from prominent children’s hospitals around North America, with six from Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. 

January 25, 2024

Healthgrades Names America’s Best Hospitals for 2024 – Stanford Ranks in top 50

In a press release, Healthgrades stated that its rankings “recognize the national leaders in overall clinical excellence and the top-ranked hospitals for specialty care by state.” Read article hereHealthgrades announced its 2024 America’s Best Hospitals Awards and State Rankings. Stanford Healthcare received top rankings for the state of California.

January 23, 2024

How to Manage Scanxiety and Fear of Lung Cancer Recurrence

Scanxiety can occur at all stages of evaluation, treatment, and surveillance for lung cancer, says Natalie Lui, MD, an assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford Medicine in Palo Alto, California. 

January 19, 2024

2024 Translational Surgeon Scientist Visiting Professor

It is our honor to welcome Dr. Joon Bum Kim, Chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea, as our 2024 Translational Surgeon Scientist Visiting Professor on Friday, February 9th, 2024, from 8:00 – 9:00 AM in Room LK101 in Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge on the 1st Floor. RSVP here.

January 12, 2024

Inspiration Found at 6th Annual Dr. James B.D. Mark Family Visiting Professor Lecture

Once again, the annual Dr. James B.D. Mark Family Visiting Professor Lecture attracted a nationally-respected guest who inspired a crowd of colleagues, fellows, and residents with the latest advances in thoracic surgery. This year marked the sixth annual occurrence of the event, which is a part of the Stanford Department of Cardiothoracic Visiting Professors and Lecture Series, started in 2008.

January 12, 2024

2023 Stanford Cardiovascular Institute Seed Grant Awardees

The Stanford Cardiovascular Institute recently announced its 2023 Seed Grant Award Recipients, including three awarded to the Stanford Cardiothoracic Surgery Department.

January 9, 2024

Podcast: “What You Need to Know About the Sternotomy” with Thoracic Surgeon Dr. Mark Francis Berry

Dr. Mark Berry guides us through a virtual, detailed journey starting from the initial preparation for the sternotomy, progressing to the chest opening, and highlighting the intricate, choreographed movements involved in the procedure. Listen online or watch the video.

January 3, 2024

Several Stanford University Faculty, Fellows, and Residents Present at AHA Scientific Sessions 2023

The 2023 American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions featured dozens of speakers with eight from the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University. 

January 1, 2024

Remembering Philanthropist Betty Irene Moore (1928–2023)

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health honors the life and legacy of Betty Irene Moore, 95, who passed away in December 2023.  Patient families who have received cardiac care at our hospital will recognize her name, which lives on at the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center. We honor Betty’s memory by thinking about all the children who are thriving today because of the care they received at the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center. 

January 1, 2024

Patient Heading to the Rose Parade to Honor His Three ‘Angel Organ Donors’

Anyone who’s met Joseph Sanchez-Munoz will tell you he is special. His love of music, bubbly personality and zest for life are infectious. Just looking at him, you wouldn’t know that this 19-year-old has been through a lot. He’s had three transplants—a kidney, liver and heart—at three different points in his life.

December 29, 2023