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Division of Cardiovascular Surgery

Much of the early experimental work on the heart lung machine was done in the laboratories of Penn's Department of Surgery by John Gibbon while he was a faculty member here at Penn. This innovative technology revolutionized heart surgery and was just one of many medical "firsts" that can be attributed to Penn surgeons.

Penn Cardiac Care was first in the Delaware Valley to allow a heart transplant candidate to wait for his new heart at home instead of stuck in a hospital bed. With a revolutionary device called HeartMate™, that is only available in a few medical centers in the entire country, patients with failing hearts can be safely maintained at home for up to three years while waiting for a transplant.

Penn Cardiac Care surgeons were also the first in the region to use surgical robotics in cardiac surgery. This technique involves a smaller incision, thereby providing less discomfort to the patient and a faster recovery.

High-risk patients often come to Penn, not just for our medical firsts, but also for the expertise of our staff. Many local hospitals turn down these patients because they are not considered good surgical candidates. Penn Cardiac Care, however, uses a team approach with cardiologists, surgeons, and other specialists working collaboratively to create treatment solutions. For example, the surgical success rate at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for valve replacement is an impressive 90% for most of the high-risk geriatric population.

Penn Cardiac Care surgeons also have high success rates with patients who need second or third bypass procedures to re-establish the heart muscle's blood supply. At Penn, re-operations that are completed for bypass patients who are not in crisis ranges about 97%. Penn Cardiac Care Surgery handles all known cardiac problems treatable by surgery, and often is challenged to rescue patients who have failed previous surgical attempts.

Penn Cardiac Care Surgery is renowned:

  • More repairs of aortic dissections were performed by Penn Cardiac Care surgeons in 2000 than by any other health system in the region.
  • Philadelphia Magazine's 2004 issue featuring Top Docs lists more Penn cardiac surgeons than any other health system in the area.
  • Most surgeons from the Division of Cardiac Surgery were recognized by The Best Doctors in America 2002.
  • More heart transplant surgeries are performed at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia than in any other system in Greater Philadelphia.
  • More complex aorta and heart valve surgeries are performed at HUP than at any other Greater Philadelphia hospital.

For more information, please visit:

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