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

Additional Locations

Specialties & Treatments

Treatment & Services

  • Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Advanced Ischemic Heart Disease Center
  • Afib surgery
  • Aorta Center
  • Aorta Graft
  • Aorta Surgery
  • Aortic Valve Repair
  • Aortic Valve Replacement
  • Aortic Valve Surgery
  • Artificial Heart
  • Atherosclerosis Surgery
  • Atrial Fibrillation Center
  • Atrial Fibrillation Surgery
  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Closure
  • Biventricular Pacemaker
  • Bypass Surgery
  • Bypass Surgery Re-operation
  • Cardiac Oncology
  • Cardiac Surgery
  • Cardiac Transplant
  • Cardio-Oncology Center
  • Cardiovascular Disease Surgical Treatments
  • Cardiovascular Surgery Department
  • Cardiovascular Surgery Section
  • Complex Aorta Surgery
  • Congenital Cardiac Surgery
  • Congenital Heart Surgery in Adults
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery
  • Coronary Artery Reoperation
  • David Procedure
  • David Reimplantation Operation
  • Endoscopic Lead Placement for Defibrillator or Pacemaker Devices
  • Epicardial Lead Placement
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)
  • George M and 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 Valve Repair
  • Heart Valve Replacement
  • Heart Valve Surgery
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center
  • Infective Endocarditis Surgery
  • Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
  • MAZE surgery
  • Minimally invasive aortic valve replacement
  • Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Mitral Valve Repair
  • Mitral Valve Replacement
  • Mitral Valve Surgery
  • Modified David's Reimplantation Procedure
  • Myectomy
  • Off Pump Bypass Surgery
  • Off Pump Heart Surgery
  • Organ Transplant
  • Pacemaker Implant
  • Partial Artificial Heart
  • Percutaneous and Endoscopic Interventions for Atrial Fibrillation
  • Pericardial disease surgery
  • Pericardial Diseases Center
  • Pericardiectomy
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Pericardium Surgery
  • Pulmonary Embolism Surgery
  • Pulmonary Endarterectomy
  • Pulmonary Vein Ablation Procedure
  • Radial Artery and Saphenous Vein Harvesting
  • Radiation Heart Disease Surgery
  • Removal of Atrial Myxoma
  • Removal of Cardiac Tumors
  • Reoperation Surgery
  • Reoperation Valve Surgery
  • Reoperative Heart Surgery
  • Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation
  • Surgical Procedures for Atrial Fibrillation
  • Surgical Treatment of Adult Acquired Heart Disease
  • Surgical Treatment of Valve Endocarditis
  • Surgical Ventricular Restoration (SVR)
  • Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Surgery
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Thoracic Surgery Section
  • Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization
  • Tricuspid Valve Repair
  • Tricuspid Valve Replacement
  • Tricuspid Valve Surgery
  • Valve Surgery
  • Ventricular Aneurysm Surgery
  • Ventricular Assist Device
View all 93 Treatment & Services +

Specialty in Diseases & Conditions

  • Abnormal Heart Rhythms
  • Acquired Adult Cardiac Disease
  • Acquired Valve Disease
  • Amyloidosis
  • Aneurysms
  • Angina
  • Aorta Disease
  • Aortic Aneurysms
  • Aortic Dissection
  • Aortic Regurgitation
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Aortic Valve Disease
  • Aortic Valve Regurgitation
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Atrial Septal Defects
  • Cancer and Heart Disease
  • Cardiac Tumors
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Coarctation of the Aorta
  • Congenital Disorders of the Heart
  • Congenital Heart Defects
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Constrictive-Pericarditis
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Endocarditis
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart tumors
  • 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 57 Specialties +


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About Nicholas Smedira, MD

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 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 & 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

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

Fellowship - Cleveland Clinic
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Cleveland, OH

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

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

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

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

Undergraduate - University of Rochester
Rochester, NY

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.

(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 4/18/2024, 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.

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

156 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 4.8
Courtesy, Respect & Concern 4.9
Patient Rating of Doctor 4.9

12 Patient Comments

Reviewed on Mar 7, 2024

Excellent explanations and evaluation of my condition. Very happy with Dr. Smedira

Reviewed on Mar 4, 2024

I emphasize all of the above with my provider

Reviewed on Feb 6, 2024

The very best doctor I've ever been around. I was very nervous about surgery. Dr. Smederia put my mind at ease at the pre-operation meeting. He was as down earth as any doctor I've ever met.

Reviewed on Jan 30, 2024

Dr Smedira is one of the most knowledgeable, professional, and humble physicians I have ever met. He is the gold standard. Simply exceptional.

Reviewed on Jan 25, 2024

Dr Smedira is a consummate professional. His demeanor, clarity, and sense of calm really made a difference in soothing our anxieties.

Reviewed on Jan 22, 2024

I was surprised & impressed with the amount of time the doctors gave me.

Reviewed on Dec 29, 2023

Dr Smeridan was terrific---very impressive guy. We trust him.

Reviewed on Dec 12, 2023

Dr. Smedira did my surgery 10 years ago. He remembered it well.

Reviewed on Nov 13, 2023

Dr Smedira demonstrated such an air of confidence in understanding my health issues and explaining the steps to resolve them that I always felt safe and under great care.

Reviewed on Jul 4, 2023

*Dr. Smedira and his people are world class.

Reviewed on Jun 19, 2023

Dr. Smedira had a very kind demeanor and comforting explanations about the impending surgery. It was very obvious how much he cared about me as an individual and also his devotion to his profession- in particular he shared with me and my family how he continues to be amazed by the heart and its functions- was incredibly reassuring!!

Reviewed on Jun 10, 2023

Excellent doctors! Especially Doctor Smediria

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