Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

In the division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, our nationally-recognized surgeons provide care to diagnose and treat cardiac and thoracic patients, working with colleagues in cardiology and vascular surgery to develop innovative strategies resulting in the highest level of complex care with the least invasive procedures. In 2020, Lucas Witer, M.D. and Nicolas Pope, M.D. joined our adult cardiothoracic surgery team and T. Konrad Rajab, M.D. joined the pediatric cardiac surgery team. This spring, Arman Kilic, M.D. joined as the surgical director of the Heart Transplant and Heart Failure Program and Z.A. Hashmi. M.D. joined the cardiothoracic surgery team. Most recently, Ian Bostock, M.D. MS joined our thoracic surgery team.


The multidisciplinary and highly-specialized adult cardiothoracic team performs aortic arch repair, robotic and transcatheter valve repairs and replacements, robotic lung and esophageal resections, robotic heart surgery, heart transplants and minimally invasive procedures for placement of mechanical circulatory assist devices. With the addition of four fellowship-trained adult cardiothoracic surgeons in FY21, the adult cardiac surgery volume grew 16% and our heart transplant program grew by 33%.MUSC Health is now the market leader in adult heart surgery for South Carolina. The statewide market has grown from FY17 to FY20 at a compound annual growth rate of 2%.


Sanford Zeigler, M.D., medical director for the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU),is the Principal Investigator of a clinical study with Etiometry that will give our cardiac ICU doctors more data to support better decision making. The program is a continuous data visualization system that utilizes predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to help provide early warnings of unfavorable trends. Etiometry is a leader in clinical decision-support software for the intensive care environment and the MUSC Health CV ICU is among Etiometry’s first adult intensive care partners in the U.S.


Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon T. Konrad Rajab, M.D. received the American Association for Thoracic Surgery Foundation Surgical Investigator Award. Rajab works with residents Brielle Gerry, M.D. and Jennie Kwon, M.D. on a project entitled “Partial Heart Transplantation: A New Approach to Deliver Growing Heart Valve Implants.” Partial heart transplantationinvolves transplantation of a heart valve only, which will grow with recipient babies similar to conventional heart transplants or Ross pulmonary autografts. If successful, this new type of transplant will deliver the first growing heart valve implant. Additionally, the transplanted valve will have the ability to self-repair and avoid thrombogenesis. His research also garnered the Darby Children’s Research Institute Pilot Grant Award, the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute High Innovation High Reward project grant, a VentureWell E-Team grant, a grant from the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation, philanthropy from Senator Paul Campbell, and the "I am an MUSC Innovator" Award.


Thoracic surgeon Barry Gibney, D.O. treats lung and esophageal cancers with a multidisciplinary team at the Hollings Cancer Center (HCC), the only NCI designated cancer institute in South Carolina. Additionally, he cares for end-stage lung disease patients as part ofa multidisciplinary lung transplant team at MUSC Health. With expertise in robotic and minimally invasive procedures, he has performed the first robotic sleeve lobectomy in the state – a complex cancer resection and reconstruction. For the past year, Dr. Gibney has been the sole thoracic surgeon in the division in a herculean effort to provide care to South Carolinians suffering from thoracic malignancies and end-stage lung disease. This year has seen the development of one of the highest volume robotic thoracic programs in the region, in addition tothe most lung transplants completed at MUSC Health in a year. He credits the success of the past year to the multidisciplinary teams in transplant and oncology, with a special note to the division’s dedicated Advanced Practice Providers, Margaret Ramsden, NP and Larisa Diffley, PA-C. With thoracic surgeon Ian Bostock, M.D., MS joining the team and plans to hire a section head in the near future, our thoracic oncology and lung transplant programs continue to grow, thanks in large part to Dr. Gibney.


A new team at MUSC Health, led by cardiothoracic surgeon Arman Kilic, M.D., aims to help more people across the state survive cardiogenic shock– a life-threatening condition. Cardiogenic shock happens when the heart can’t pump enough blood to the organs. For decades, the rate of death has remained unchanged; about half of cardiogenic shock patients die. In recent years, heart doctors across the country have sought to standardize care and improve outcomes. The National Cardiogenic Shock Initiative, based in Detroit, announced trial results in April showing that doctors in 80 participating hospitals increased survival rates to 71%. Doctors at MUSC Health are hopeful that similar outcomes can be achieved in South Carolina.


MUSC Children’s Heart Center has once again been recognized by U.S. News &World Report, ranking children’s cardiology and heart surgery 12th in the country. The Heart Center is led by Scott Bradley, M.D., section head for Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, and Eric Graham, M.D., chief of Pediatric Cardiology. Pediatric and congenital heart surgeon, Minoo Kavarana, M.D., serves MUSC Health as the surgical director of Pediatric Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Support. He has worked side-by-side with Bradley and the multidisciplinary team for more than ten years. This year, with the addition of pediatric cardiac surgeon T. Konrad Rajab, M.D. and the opening of the new state-of-the art children’s hospital, the pediatric cardiac team was able to care for more children in need of critical heart surgeries.