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UPMC Recruits Highly Acclaimed Northwestern University Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Thomas G. Gleason, M.D.

Dr. Gleason will direct the new Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease

PITTSBURGH, February 12, 2007 — Thomas G. Gleason, M.D., a highly acclaimed cardiac surgeon has been named director of the new Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease of the UPMC Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery Institute and appointed associate professor of cardiac surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Gleason specializes in the repair of thoracic aortic diseases including aneurysms, dissections, traumatic injuries and heritable disorders such as bicuspid aortic valve and Marfan syndrome. His surgical expertise spans thoracic aortic reconstructions, endovascular stent-grafting, valve-sparing root replacement, aortic and mitral valve repair, off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery and surgery for atrial fibrillation.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body, carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to all other organs in the body. Sometimes the aortic walls can weaken, bulge (dilate), or tear (dissect). When the aorta dilates to a significant degree and is in the chest, it is called a thoracic aortic aneurysm. Aneurysms can occur from aging, plaque buildup or congenital abnormalities. Both aneurysms and dissections of the thoracic aorta are life-threatening problems that require immediate evaluation.

“Dr. Gleason’s clinical skills and experience will be an asset to an already remarkable team of accomplished cardiothoracic surgeons. As director of the new Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease, Dr. Gleason will facilitate the highest level of care for UPMC patients,” says Kenton J. Zehr, M.D., professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and chief, division of cardiothoracic surgery of the UPMC Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery Institute. Dr. Gleason also will oversee clinical and translational research aimed at improved and innovative techniques and technologies for patients with thoracic aortic or valvular diseases.

Prior to joining UPMC, Dr. Gleason was a cardiovascular surgeon at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, where he was director of the Thoracic Aortic Surgery Program in the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. His research interests include the study of heritable disorders such as bicuspid aortic valve and Marfan syndrome. Both are associated with ascending aortic aneurysm formation and aortic dissection.

He is a member of numerous professional societies, including the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Gleason also chairs the Taskforce on Guidelines for Thoracic Aortic Surgery for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and is a member of the STS Endovascular Taskforce and the STS Workforce on Evidence-Based Medicine.

Dr. Gleason received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Middlebury College in Vermont and his medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago. Dr. Gleason later completed a Master’s degree, internship and residency in surgery at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Charlottesville, Va. He received his training in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The new Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease will be available for patients throughout western Pennsylvania and the surrounding region. Patients will be evaluated at the Thoracic Aortic Clinic at UPMC’s University Center which is a multidisciplinary clinic dedicated to providing state-of-the-art diagnostics, treatment plans and follow-up surveillance. Multi-specialty collaboration between cardiovascular surgeons, cardiologists, radiologists, geneticists and other subspecialists in the clinic allows optimized and streamlined management strategies for each patient.

For more information about the Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease of the UPMC Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery Institute, please call 412-647-7070 or, visit online at

UPMC is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. An integrated health care enterprise, it has the medical expertise, geographic reach and financial stability that allow it to develop models of excellence, which are transforming health care nationally and internationally.

Based in Pittsburgh, UPMC is ranked 14th in the nation, according to the 2006 U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Hospitals” survey, earning it a place on the magazine’s prestigious honor roll.

UPMC is closely affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, which attract more than $400 million in National Institutes of Health funding, ranking seventh in the nation. Together, their combined mission is to deliver outstanding patient care, train tomorrow’s health care specialists and biomedical scientists and conduct groundbreaking research to advance the understanding of the causes and course of disease.


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