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Faculty Profiles

Vinod Thourani

Vinod H. Thourani, MD

Professor of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
– Co-Director, Structural Heart and Valve Center of the Emory Heart and Vascular Center
– Associate Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency Program,
Emory University School of Medicine
– Associate Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery Center for Clinical Research (CCR), Emory University School of Medicine

Telephone: 404.686.2513

Fax: 404.686.4959


Certification: American Board of Surgery, American Board of Thoracic Surgery

Year Joined Emory as a Faculty Member: 2005

Dr. Thourani is a highly productive cardiothoracic surgeon-researcher based at the Emory University School of Medicine whose research and clinical work in Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) and minimally invasive valvular surgery for high-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis has been particularly significant. Using TAVR, teams of interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons place the recently developed Edwards SAPIEN valve inside the heart without stopping it or opening the chest. Patients can often recover more quickly from this minimally invasive approach. 

Dr. Thourani was a co-principal investigator of the Emory-based site of the multi-center PARTNER I trial that measured TAVR against traditional open heart surgery, the initial results of which were so promising that the FDA approved the valve used in TAVR in November 2011 for the treatment of patients with aortic stenosis considered too frail for traditional surgery. In 2012, the valve was approved for use in a wider group of high risk patients. Dr. Thourani is also a co-PI of the national PARTNER II trial that is evaluating the use of a smaller device as well as testing TAVR in patients who pose a moderate surgical risk, and is the national co-PI for two new TAVR valve platforms.

At the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Thourani presented the three-year safety and outcomes data of the PARTNER I trial, stating that the SAPIEN valves appeared to be durable and not to have suffered structural deterioration. Mortality rates between patients who had received TAVR and those who had open-heart surgery were nearly identical, and TAVR patients had no increased risk of stroke. Dr. Thourani noted that blood leakage around the SAPIEN valve may be responsible for the similar mortality level, as those patients who had none or trace valvular leak had an extraordinarily low mortality compared to traditional surgery. Dr. Thourani reported that Edwards is attempting to address the problem with newer valves in its developmental pipeline that include a skirt or cuff around the valve designed to prevent leakage.  

As associate director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Center for Clinical Research (CCR) of the Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Thourani is also developing his own innovative strategies and devices in the field of structural heart disease and valve surgery. In 2009 he co-founded Apica Cardiovascular, a medical device start-up and partnership between the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Emory University School of Medicine. In early 2011 Apica received a sizable investment in its first project, a cardiac surgery device designed by Dr. Thourani and his colleagues that simplified and standardized the technique for opening and closing the beating heart during cardiac surgery. The company was chosen by Emory's Office of Technology Transfer as "Emory University’s Start-up Company of 2010."

Dr. Thourani's publications in Dr. Thourani's publications in PubMed


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