Department of Surgery

Cardiovascular Surgery

Next generation cardiovascular surgery through basic research, clinical therapies and education
  • Responsible for the cardiovascular surgery unit at Osaka University Hospital, which sees more than 10000 patients annually
  • Leading national center for heart failure patients
  • Minimally invasive cardiovascular surgery techniques
  • Innovations in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and cell engineering
  • Education of future cardiac surgeons
Professor SAWA Yoshiki
Cardiovascular Surgery
The surgery unit at Osaka University Hospital has a history of well over 100 years. It conducted the first open heart surgery in Japan in 1956 and has since remained the top cardiovascular surgery unit in the nation.

Leading the way in new cardiovascular surgery through basic research, clinical treatments and the education of future surgeons

Osaka University is home to one of Japan’s leading cardiovascular surgical units. We conduct more than 1,000
cardiovascular surgical procedures per year and are at the heart of a network that includes 40 universities and conducts more than 11,000 surgeries per year.

In the clinical practice, advanced surgery is often required to treat patients suffering from at least one of an assortment of heart ailments including ischemia, congenital heart disease, valvular heart disease and atherosclerosis. Our laboratory has pioneered a number of heart transplantation techniques. We are the first in Japan to have conducted heart transplants from brain dead donors and in children. Along with certification for these specialized surgeries, we are certified for the transplantation of artificial devices. In total, we have applied a comprehensive set of surgical treatments and aim to develop more with the ultimate goal of better patient care. In addition, we are leaders in minimally invasive cardiovascular surgery and have conducted multiple clinical trials, including over 2000 stent graft treatments. Also, in 2010, we conducted the first transcatheter aortic valve transplantation (TAVI) in Japan, and now have done this procedure more than 400 times. We also introduced minimally invasive open-heart surgery (MICS) from the early stage, and in 2017 we have begun applying a robotic system to our surgical procedures.

Figure1 The forefront of cardiovascular surgery in Osaka University

To further advance patient care, we have been developing new treatments that target acute heart failure and heart failure in children. These therapies include myoblast cell sheet transplantation, severe heart failure in childhood, decellular valve transplantation, the ONO 1301 drug trial, home health care, branched stent grafts, and new TAVI devices. One technology that has seen great promise is Heart Sheet, which has already undergone a clinical trial and was approved as a treatment eligible for subsidies by the national health insurance in 2016.

Figure2 Heart Sheet for ischemic cardiomyopathy

At the basic research level, we are researching how iPS cells can be used to regenerate the myocardium and how patient iPS cells can be used for drug discovery. We are also researching the role of HMGB1 and fat stem cells in heart disease. Furthermore, we are developing in vivo imaging and new ONO 1301 derivatives. Academically, our progress is represented by the 26 poster and oral presentations at the 2016 American Cardiology Society.

Finally, in terms of education, we hold great pride and responsibility in training young doctors and surgeons at Osaka University. As mentioned above, we are at the centre of a large university network, and our program is designed to give diverse practical and theoretical experience to our trainees.