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Department Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Primary Location Cleveland Clinic Main Campus
Type of Doctor Adults Only
Languages English
Surgeon Yes
Locations Specialties & Treatments

Treatment & Services

  • Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Advanced Ischemic Heart Disease Center
  • Aorta Center
  • Aorta Graft
  • Aorta Surgery
  • Aortic Dissection
  • Aortic Valve Repair
  • Aortic Valve Replacement
  • Aortic Valve Surgery
  • Arterial Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
  • Arterial Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts
  • Artificial Heart
  • Atherosclerosis Surgery
  • Atrial Fibrillation Center
  • Atrial Septal Defect Closure
  • Biventricular Pacemaker
  • Bypass Surgery
  • Bypass Surgery Re-operation
  • Cardiac Oncology
  • Cardiac Surgery
  • cardiac transplant
  • Cardiac Transplantation
  • Cardio-Oncology Center
  • Cardiovascular Surgery Department
  • Complex Aorta Surgery
  • Congenital Cardiac Surgery
  • Congenital Heart Surgery in Adults
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
  • Coronary Artery Reoperation
  • David Procedure
  • David Reimplantation Operation
  • ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation)
  • Endoscopic Lead Placement for Defibrillator or Pacemaker Devices
  • Epicardial Lead Placement
  • George M & Linda H Kaufman Center for Heart Failure
  • Heart Failure Surgery
  • Heart Lung Transplant
  • Heart Surgery
  • Heart Surgery for Marfan Syndrome
  • Heart Surgery Reoperation
  • Heart Transplant
  • Heart Transplantation
  • Heart Valve Repair and Replacement
  • Heart Valve Surgery
  • High Risk Reoperation Surgery
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center
  • Infective Endocarditis Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Mitral Valve Replacement
  • Mitral Valve Surgery
  • Modified David's Reimplantation Procedure
  • Myectomy
  • Off Pump Bypass Surgery
  • Off Pump Heart Surgery
  • Organ Transplantation
  • Pacemaker Implant
  • Partial Artificial Heart
  • Percutaneous and Endoscopic Interventions for Atrial Fibrillation
  • Pericardial Diseases Center
  • Pericardiectomy
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Pulmonary Embolectomy
  • Pulmonary Embolectomy Surgery
  • Pulmonary Embolism Surgery
  • Pulmonary Vein Ablation Procedure
  • Radial Artery and Saphenous Vein Harvesting
  • Removal of Atrial Myxoma
  • Removal of Cardiac Tumors
  • Reoperation Valve Surgery
  • Reoperative Heart Surgery
  • Surgery for Infective Endocarditis
  • Surgery for Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
  • Surgical Ablation Of Atrial Fibrillation
  • Surgical Procedures for Atrial Fibrillation
  • Surgical Treatment Of Adult Acquired Heart Disease
  • Surgical Treatment Of Thoracic And Cardiovascular Disease
  • Surgical Treatment Of Valve Endocarditis
  • Surgical Ventricular Restoration (SVR)
  • Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Section
  • Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization
  • Tricuspid Valve Repair
  • Tricuspid Valve Replacement
  • Tricuspid Valve Surgery
  • Valve Surgery
  • Ventricular Aneurysm Surgery
  • Ventricular Assist Device
View all 88 Treatment & Services +

Specialty in Diseases & Conditions

  • Abnormal Heart Rhythms
  • Acquired Adult Cardiac Disease
  • Acquired Valve Disease
  • Amyloidosis
  • Aneurysms
  • Angina
  • Aorta Disease
  • Aortic Aneurysms
  • Aortic Regurgitation
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Aortic Valve Disease
  • Aortic Valve Regurgitation
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia
  • Atherosclerosis (vascular)
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Atrial Septal Defects
  • Cancer and the Heart
  • Cancer Heart Disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Coarctation Of The Aorta
  • Congenital Disorders of the Heart
  • Congenital Heart Defects
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Constrictive-Pericarditis
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Dissection Of The Aorta
  • Endocarditis
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart Valve Disease
  • Heart Valve Infections
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Infective Endocarditis
  • Ischemic Cardiomyopathy
  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse
  • Mitral Valve Regurgitation
  • Mitral Valve Stenosis
  • Myxomas
  • Patent Foramen Ovale
  • Pericarditis
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Pulmonary Valve Disease
  • Pulmonic Regurgitation
  • Pulmonic Stenosis
  • Restrictive Cardiomyopathy
  • Superior Vena Cava Syndrome
  • Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
  • Tricuspid Regurgitation
  • Tricuspid Stenosis
  • Tricuspid Valve Disease
  • Ventricular Aneurysm
  • Ventricular Fibrillation
  • Ventricular Tachycardia
View all 56 Specialties +


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About Nicholas Smedira, MD, MBA

Nicholas G. Smedira, MD, MBA 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 & Thoracic Institute at Cleveland Clinic. He is board-certified in thoracic surgery.

Specialty interests: Heart transplantation, ventricular assist device, ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation), heart failure surgery, heart valve surgery, off-pump bypass surgery, myectomy, surgery for thoracic aortic aneurysm, mitral valve repair, coronary artery bypass grafting, pulmonary thromboendarterectomy

Number of Procedures Performed: Cleveland Clinic performs more than 4,000 heart surgeries each year. All Cleveland Clinic cardiac surgeons complete between 300-400 cardiac cases per year.  Dr. Smedira has participated in more than 8,000 heart operations since 1995, including 350 heart transplants and more than 2,000 septal myectomies. He has the greatest volume of pulmonary thromboendarterectomies 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

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 & Thoracic 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 is the Chairman of 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.

Education & Professional Highlights

Education & Professional Highlights


Education & Fellowships

Graduate School - Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Cleveland, OH USA

Fellowship - Cleveland Clinic
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Cleveland, OH USA

Fellowship - University of California San Francisco Medical Center
Cardiothoracic Surgery
San Francisco, CA USA

Medical Education - University of California San Francisco Medical Center
Cardiothoracic Surgery
San Francisco, CA USA

Residency - University of California San Francisco Medical Center
General Surgery
San Francisco, CA USA

Internship - University of California San Francisco Medical Center
General Surgery
San Francisco, CA USA

Medical Education - University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Rochester, NY USA

Undergraduate - University of Rochester
Rochester, NY USA

Additional Training

  • Executive management course
  • Professional development course
  • Six Sigma


Professional Highlights

  • Polly and W. Neil Rossborough Term Chair in Cardiac Transplantation
  • Nursing-Physician Excellence Florence Nightingale Award, Cleveland Clinic  
  • Professor of Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University


  • Thoracic Surgery - Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery

Specialty Interests

Heart transplantation, heart-lung transplant, ventricular assist device, ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation), heart failure surgery, heart valve surgery, off-pump bypass surgery, myectomy, surgery for thoracic aortic aneurysm

Awards & Honors

  • 2007 –  Present Polly and W. Neil Rossborough Term Chair in Heart Transplantation Research
  • 2002 – 2014 Best Doctors, Cleveland Magazine
  • 2007 Innovator Award, Cleveland Clinic
  • 2004 Teacher of the Year, Cleveland Clinic, Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
  • 2003 Nursing-Physician Excellence Florence Nightingale Award, Cleveland Clinic

Innovations & Patents

  • Syncardia Cardiowest Total Artificial Heart


  • Editorial Board, The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
  • Western Thoracic Surgical Association 
  • Cytosorbents, Inc., Medical Advisory Board
  • Fellow, American College of Cardiology
  • Fellow, American College of Chest Physicians
  • Fellow, American College of Surgeons
  • American Association of Thoracic Surgeons
  • Membership Committee, American Association of Thoracic Surgeons
  • Fellow, American Heart Association
  • Society of Thoracic Surgeons
  • Cardiac Transplantation Surgeon and Representative, International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, Heart Failure and Transplant
  • Committee of the American College of Cardiology
  • International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation
  • LifeBanc Medical Advisory Committee
  • Surgical Representative, Ohio-American College of Cardiology
  • Writing Committee, ACCF/AHA Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypertrophic  Cardiomyopathy
Research & Publications

Research & Publications

See publications for Nicholas Smedira, MD, MBA.

(Disclaimer: This search is powered by PubMed, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. PubMed is a third-party website with no affiliation with Cleveland Clinic.)

Industry Relationships

Industry Relationships

Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists may collaborate with the pharmaceutical or medical device industries to help develop medical breakthroughs or provide medical expertise or education. Cleveland Clinic strives to make scientific advances that will benefit patient care and support outside relationships that promise public benefit. In order for the discoveries of Cleveland Clinic physicians' and scientists' laboratories and investigations to benefit the public, these discoveries must be commercialized in partnership with industry. As experts in their fields, Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists are often sought after by industry to consult, provide expertise and education.

To assure professional and commercial integrity in such matters, Cleveland Clinic maintains a program that reviews these collaborations and, when appropriate, puts measures in place to minimize bias that may result from ties to industry. Cleveland Clinic publicly discloses the names of companies when (i) its physicians/scientists receive $5,000 or more per year (or, in rare cases, equity or stock options) for speaking and consulting, (ii) its physicians/scientists serve as a fiduciary, (iii) its physicians/scientists receive or have the right to receive royalties or (iv) its physicians/ scientists hold any equity interest for the physician's/scientist's role as inventor, discoverer, developer, founder or consultant.* In publicly disclosing this information, Cleveland Clinic tries to provide information as accurately as possible about its physicians' and scientists' connections with industry.

As of 8/2/2022, Dr. Smedira has reported the financial relationships with the companies listed below. In general, patients should feel free to contact their doctor about any of the relationships and how the relationships are overseen by Cleveland Clinic. To learn more about Cleveland Clinic's policies on collaborations with industry and innovation management, go to our Integrity in Innovation page.

Consulting and/or Speaking. Dr. Smedira receives fees of $5,000 or more per year as a paid consultant, speaker or member of an advisory committee for the following companies:

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb

Public Health Service-Reportable Financial Conflicts of Interest. Cleveland Clinic scientists and physicians engage in basic, translational and clinical research activities, working to solve health problems, enhance patient care and improve quality of life for patients. Interactions with industry are essential to bringing the researchers' discoveries to the public, but can present the potential for conflicts of interest related to their research activities. Click here to view a listing of instances where Cleveland Clinic has identified a Public Health Service (PHS)-Reportable Financial Conflict of Interest and has put measures in place to ensure that, to the extent possible, the design, conduct and reporting of the research is free from bias.

* Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists subscribe to the guidance presented in the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals and the AdvaMed Code of Ethics on Interactions with Health Care Professionals. As such, gifts of substantial value are generally prohibited.

Patient Satisfaction Reviews

74 Patient Satisfaction Reviews

The Patient Satisfaction Rating is an average of all responses to the care provider related questions shown below from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Patients that are treated in outpatient or hospital environments may receive different surveys, and the volume of responses will vary by question.

Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score.

The comments are submitted by patients and reflect their views and opinions. The comments are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cleveland Clinic.

Overall Star Ratings
4.9 out of 5
Explains 4.8
Listens 4.9
Courtesy, Respect & Concern 4.9
Patient Rating of Doctor 5

5 Patient Comments

Reviewed on Jan 3, 2023

Dr Smedira and Jean Dingma were always available to me anytime I had a question. I am more than pleased.

Reviewed on Jul 29, 2022

Dr. Semdira is always so calm and knowledgeable. Appreciate that very much.

Reviewed on Jul 29, 2022

Not talking about Dr. Smedira here, only staff. I put fair in "getting care" and "staff cared" only b/c it took so long to get staff to seriously respond to my hernia concern. Once they realized I had a real problem, they were right on it.

Reviewed on May 23, 2022

This was related to Dr. Smedira performing open heart surgery to replace a defective aortic valve. I'm certain thousands of patients feel the same as I feel. It is rare that a surgeon can possess the proper combination of confidence and humility to satisfy the patient's need to believe in his ability. He is a rare and valuable asset to Cleveland Clinic.

Reviewed on Mar 21, 2022

*Dr. Smedira is amazing!

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