Cardiac Surgery

With more than 1500 cases per year the Cardiac Surgery Department is a well-known worldwide excellence in the field. In particular, the department is recognized to be a world leader in the field of mitral valve repair (more than 500 cases per year), transcatheter valve therapies and atrial fibrillation ablation.

Our surgeons constantly participate to international studies, conferences and guidelines writing. Furthermore, this unit regularly hosts guests from all over the world to share knowledge and techniques. The department has been one of the first to apply the concepts of “Heart-Team” and “patient centered care”: every patient represents a unique entity and requires a customized treatment tailored upon his specific characteristics. This is achievable only using the expertise of different specialists (surgeon, interventional cardiologist, echocardiographist, anaesthesiologist, arrhythmologist), providing the patient with the best customized treatment available.

Main conditions treated

  • Valvulopathies (repair and replacement surgery, minimally invasive surgery, percutaneous treatment) (900 cases per year)
  • Coronary artery disease (on-pump and off-pump arterial by-pass surgery, stem cell treatment using laser or bone marrow stimulation) (300 cases per year)
  • Aortic aneurism (conventional surgery or endoprosthesis implantation)
  • Conventional and minimally invasive treatment of atrial fibrillation (lone and concomitant to structural cardiac diseases) with the most recent and validated energy sources (bipolar radiofrequency and cryo energy) (120 cases per year)
  • Non-transplant heart failure surgery:
    • Mechanical circulatory acute (ECMO) and long term support (ventricular assist device – VAD) either as destination therapy or as bridge to transplantation
    • left ventricular remodeling techniques
    • resynchronization therapy
  • Surgical and percutaneous management of adult with congenital heart disease (GUCH)
  • Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (surgical miectomy associated to mitral valve repair)
  • Pulmonary hypertension based on thromboembolism (pulmonary thromboendarterectomy treatment)


With more than 30 publications per year on the most prestigious scientific journals, this Department represents a benchmark for the cardiac surgery community. We are currently involved in a series of clinical trials, especially valve-related, demonstrating a close cooperation with pharmaceutical and biomedical industries.

The principal research lines followed are:

  • Transcatheter treatment of heart valvular disease with specific commitment to:
    • aortic valve replacement (TAVI) and Valve-in-Valve procedure
    • mitral repair (Mitraclip, Cardioband, Neochord) and replacement (CardiAQ, Cardiovalve)
    • tricuspid repair (Tricinch) and replacement
  • Minimally invasive surgery (ministernotomy, minithoracotomy) to achieve the treatment of aortic (conventional and sutureless prostheses) and mitral valve.
  • Standard and minimally invasive circulatory support device implantation (ECMO, Impella, Left Ventricle Assist Devices, Total Artificial Heart)
  • Long-term outcomes of ablative surgery (minimally invasive pulmonary veins isolation and Maze IV operation) for refractory atrial fibrillation.
  • Transapical minimally-invasive cardiac resynchronization therapy
  • Electrophysiological validation of ablative energy sources, together with the unit of Arrhythmology and Electrophysiology laboratories
  • Staminal cell and extracellular matrix research for the treatment of advanced heart failure
  • Advanced echocardiographic 4D analysis to assessed the prognostic factor of heart disease
  • Preclinical bench testing for new device development

Cardiac rehabilitation

Our service includes its own institutional cardiac rehabilitation. It is located very close to the Cardiac Surgery Unit and it offers a medically supervised program that helps improve the health and well-being of people who underwent surgical operations. Rehab programs include exercise-training, education on heart healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress and help the patients to return to an active life.

The cardiac rehab program will be designed to meet your needs, involving a team of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, dietitians or nutritionists, and psychologists or other mental health specialists.


mitraclip3 Our Department is a leader in the application of the following new technologies:

  • MitraClip, the world’s first transcatheter mitral valve repair therapy available.
  • Cardioband, a direct annuloplasty treatment via a transfemoral delivery system with no need for open-heart surgery.
  • Hybrid operating room, a surgical theatre equipped with the most advanced technologies to perform surgical, transcatheter or hybrid procedures.


Head of Department is Prof. Ottavio Alfieri.

Cardiac surgeons: Andrea Blasio, Chiara Calabrese, Alessandro Castiglioni, Micaela Cioni, Michele De Bonis, Paolo Denti, David Ferrara, Andrea Fumero, Giuseppe Iaci, Elisabetta Lapenna, Stefano Moriggia, Simona Nascimbene, Cinzia Trumello, Alessandro Verzini.


Head nurse: Halina Liberek.

Clinical trial coordinator: Davide Schiavi.

Bioengineer consultant: Luca Vicentini.

Resident cardiac surgeons: Nicola Buzzatti, Marta Casamassima and Alberto Pozzoli.

Echocardiographic Unit Cardiologists: Giovanni La Canna (Chief of the Unit), Giovanna Di Giannuario and Emanuela Alati.

Secretary Office: Emanuela Livolsi, Eleonora Mandelli, Roberto Mentesana and Gianna Sarcinella.