Chairman's Message

It is a great privilege and honor to be the founding Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. This Department was functioning as The Heart, Lung and Esophageal Surgery Institute from 2005-2010; in addition, we have been a Division of the Department of Surgery for decades.  In July 2010, we became an academic department in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

With more than 38 cardiothoracic staff surgeons; 8 independent fellows; 11 clinical integrated residents; 4 integrated residents completing research time; 4 advanced fellows in heart failure, lung transplantation, and minimally invasive thoracic surgery, a strong research group and more than 170 staff members, our Department is already larger than about half of the Departments within UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh. Our Department is broadly divided into four divisions: the Division of Adult Cardiac Surgery; the Division of Lung Transplant and Lung Failure; the Division of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery; and the Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery. Dr. James D. Luketich

The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery is dedicated to using advanced diagnostic and surgical techniques to care for patients with diseases and disorders of the heart, lung and esophagus. Our experts are leading the way in treating diseases like congestive heart failure, congenital heart disorders, heartburn and related problems, esophageal cancer and lung diseases. Our affiliations with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC Cancer Centers bring together all of the necessary components of a successful research and patient care program: physicians, surgeons, scientists, and patients who agree to participate in clinical trials.

Our combination of resources and experience has enabled us to lead the way to better patient care. For example, the UPMC Artificial Heart Program was one of the first in the country - the second total artificial heart implantation in the United States was performed here in Pittsburgh - and continues to lead in the development of artificial heart-assist devices. UPMC was also one of the first medical centers to perform minimally invasive surgery for esophageal and lung cancers, lung transplantation and many other related procedures.  

Our aortic center is the fastest growing center in our Department and oversees all aspects of aortic diseases. In addition, our Pediatric Cardiac group oversees all aspects of cardiac and other disorders of the chest in children. Our transplant group has played a lead role in heart and lung transplantation and is well on the way to having the highest volume and best outcomes in the world.

Today, only a few dozen medical centers in the United States offer a complex array of minimally invasive surgical procedures for the heart, lung and esophagus. Many of the surgeons who perform these procedures at other centers received their training at the UPMC’s Mark Ravitch/Leon C. Hirsch Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery. Additionally, the Heart and Heart-Lung Transplantation Program at UPMC is one of the oldest and most active programs in the world.

Our mission is to strive for excellence in patient care, to train the next generation of cardiothoracic surgical leaders, and to advance our field through innovation and research. We are most excited about our recent notification that our Department has been awarded a 5-year NIH T32 training grant ($1.6 Million over 5 years.) I am extremely proud of our Department, and I look forward to keeping you up-to-date on future progress. We welcome you to explore our site and we welcome your comments.

James D. Luketich, MD, FACS
Henry T. Bahnson Professor and Chair, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Chief, Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery
Director, UPMC Lung and Esophageal Surgery Institute
Director, Thoracic Surgical Oncology