January 24, 2013

Petracek named interim chair of Cardiac Surgery

Michael Petracek, M.D., has been named interim chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Cardiac Surgery.

Michael Petracek, M.D., has been named interim chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Cardiac Surgery.

Michael Petracek, M.D.

Petracek, professor of Clinical Cardiac Surgery, will lead the department while a national search is conducted for a successor to current chair John Byrne, M.D., who is departing on April 1 to head Cardiac Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“I am very pleased and grateful to Dr. Petracek for his willingness to serve in this important leadership position during a critical period of transition for the Department of Cardiac Surgery,” said R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences and John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery, who is leading the executive search committee to find the next chair.

“He is widely respected for his surgical skills and profound clinical judgment. I have been personally impressed by Mike’s wisdom and perspective in the field of Cardiac Surgery and by his commitment to surgical education,” Beauchamp said.

“Over the years, we have built a solid foundation of success, providing complex surgical services others simply can’t do. Our results are arguably better than any other in the country, as evidenced by our consistent ranking in the top 25,” Petracek said. “Moving forward, we will build on these achievements, focusing on our leadership in clinical research and academic science.”

One of the region’s leading heart surgeons for the past 30 years, Petracek received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1971.

He completed residencies in Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery, as well as a research fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 1983 as assistant clinical professor of Cardiac Surgery, he was a member of the team of surgeons at Saint Thomas Hospital who performed Nashville’s first adult heart transplant.

His expertise in minimally invasive valve surgery led to another significant milestone in cardiac surgery — the country’s first implantation of the St. Jude stentless aortic porcine valve and the Regent mechanical valve.

A prolific author, Petracek’s research has been published in such peer-reviewed journals as the Annals of Thoracic Surgery and the New England Journal of Medicine.