Nicholas G. Smedira, MD is a staff cardiothoracic surgeon in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Director of Quality for the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute. He specializes in heart and heart-lung transplantation, ventricular assist devices, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), heart failure surgery, aortic and mitral valve repair and replacement, off-pump coronary bypass grafting, myectomy and the surgical treatment of left ventricular outflow tract obstruction, treatment of pulmonary hypertension caused by chronic pulmonary emboli, reoperations, and ascending aortic replacement. Dr. Smedira is certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery.
Dr. Smedira has performed more than 5,000 heart operations since 1995, and his accomplishments include the first implantation of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart after FDA approval, the first combined heart-liver transplant in Ohio and the first ever successful bridge of a patient with a total artificial heart until he received a heart and liver transplant
Dr. Smedira earned his undergraduate (Phi Beta Kappa; magna cum laude) and medical (Alpha Omega Alpha; MD with honors) degrees from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York. After completing his residency in general surgery at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, where he became Chief Surgical Resident, Dr. Smedira received fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery, critical care medicine and research from the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. He won a postdoctoral National Research Service Award fellowship. He then received a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, where he was appointed in 1995 as a Staff Cardiac Surgeon.
Dr. Smedira was selected the 2004 Teacher of the Year in Cleveland Clinic's Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Department. He was a Visiting Professor at the Ministry of Health in Singapore, the Atlantic Health System in New Jersey, the Ottawa Heart Institute in Canada and the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Smedira was appointed to the faculty of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University as a Professor in 2007 and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.
As principal or co-investigator in more than 100 clinical trials and studies, Dr. Smedira has focused his research efforts on his specialty interests, including the surgical treatment of ischemic heart failure, cellular therapy to treat advanced heart damage, bivalirudin as an alternative to heparin during cardiac surgery and rotary blood pumps, such as the HeartWare and HeartMate II devices, which are used to support patients until they receive a transplant or for permanent cardiac support.
In 2008, Dr. Smedira became Director of Quality for the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute and in this role, guides the efforts to improve the quality and safety of health care delivered at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Smediraâ€™s quality-related committee memberships include the Quality Institute Executive Team, the Quality and Patient Safety Committee of the Board of Directors, and the Professional Conduct Committee.
Dr. Smedira has been invited to speak about his clinical experience and research findings at hundreds of conferences and symposia worldwide. He is the author or co-author of numerous book chapters on subjects related to his specialty interests, including advances in cardiac intensive care, cardiac surgery, assistive devices and treatment of heart failure. He has authored or co-authored hundreds of published studies and abstracts in peer-reviewed publications, including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, and Journal of the American College of Cardiology, among others.