Cardiac Surgery

People with heart disease almost always need care from a cardiologist. A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of heart diseases. For some patients with heart disease, surgery is the best treatment option. When heart surgery is necessary, Vanderbilt has one of the country's best teams ready to help.

Services and Treatment

Vanderbilt’s heart surgeons are among the best in the country, and they train other surgeons who want to specialize in cardiac surgery. Our surgeons treat patients of all ages, including infants.

Surgery might be required for many reasons, including:

Our cardiac surgery services fall into four major categories:


Michael R. Petracek, M.D., Chairman, Cardiac Surgery

Tarek S. Absi, M.D.

Steven J. Hoff, M.D.

Rashid M. Ahmad, M.D.

Clay Kaiser, M.D.

Jorge M. Balaguer, M.D.

Mary Keebler, M.D.

Stephen K. Ball, M.D.

Betty Kim, M.D.

David P. Bichell, M.D.

Marzia Leacche, M.D.

Karla G. Christian, M.D.


M. Craig Cilimberg, PA-C Shawn Lee, ANP-BC
Edmund J. Donahue, PA-C Lauren Nevels, ACNP-BC
Thomas M. Stahl, PA-C Megan Shifrin, ACNP-BC
Nora Cobb, ANP-BC Sean Smithey, ACNP-BC
Anna Fong, ACNP-BC Joshua Squiers, ACNP-BC
Jayme Gibson, ACNP-BC Kristie Walker, ACNP-BC
April Kapu, ACNP-BC Brian Widmar, ACNP-BC
Mary Ann Jorrisen, ACNP-BC