Nicholas G. Smedira, MD, is a staff cardiothoracic surgeon in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and former Director of Quality for the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic. He is board-certified in thoracic surgery.
Specialty interests: Heart transplantation, heart-lung transplant, ventricular assist device, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), heart failure surgery, mitral and aortic valve repair and replacement surgery, bypass surgery, myectomy and surgery to relieve left-ventricular outflow tract obstruction, surgery for thoracic aortic aneurysm and for acute and chronic pulmonary emboli
Number of Procedures Performed: Cleveland Clinic performs more than 4,000 heart surgeries each year. Of these, Dr. Smedira performs approximately 375 surgeries per year. Dr. Smedira has participated in more than 8,000 heart operations since 1995, including 350 heart transplants and more than 1,500 septal myectomies. He has the greatest volume of pulmonary thromboendartectomies in the Midwest. 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 use of a total artificial heart as a bridge-to-transplant for a patient who had a heart and liver transplant.
Success rates: Among top U.S. hospitals for cardiac surgery, Cleveland Clinic’s volume is the highest with the best quality outcomes. You can view success rates for specific procedures at http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/about-heart-vascular-institute/treatment-outcomes.aspx
Education and Training: 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 Cleveland Clinic, where he was appointed in 1995 as a Staff Cardiac Surgeon.
Publications and Speaking: Dr. Smedira was selected as the 2004 Teacher of the Year in Cleveland Clinic's Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. 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 he has served 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 patients with ischemic heart failure, cellular therapy for advanced heart damage, the use of 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 (bridge-to-transplant) or for permanent cardiac support (destination therapy).
In 2008, Dr. Smedira became Director of Quality for the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute and in this role, he guides the efforts to improve the quality and safety of healthcare at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Smedira’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 has written numerous book chapters on subjects related to his specialty interests, including advances in cardiac intensive care, cardiac surgery, assistive devices and treatment of patients with heart failure. He has authored/co-authored hundreds of published studies and abstracts in peer-reviewed publications, including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and others.
About Dr. Smedira: “I enjoy being a doctor because I really enjoy getting to know and interacting with my patients.”
Leisure activities: In his free time, Dr. Smedira enjoys playing golf, cycling, spending time with his family, cooking, and travel.