UPMC Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease

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Thoracic aortic disease can be catastrophic for patients — cutting lives short for some, and leading to devastating disability for others.

The Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease (CTAD) is a center of excellence — established by the UPMC Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery — that follows a cohesive and multidisciplinary system for delivering care. The CTAD aims to provide timely, comprehensive, and individualized disease management strategies for patients suffering from complex thoracic aortic diseases.

About the UPMC Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease

Optimizing care. Saving lives.

The CTAD brings together experts with defined clinical and academic focuses on thoracic aortic diseases, including:

The CTAD facilitates and streamlines care for patients, while promoting clinical and translational research to improve reconstructive surgical techniques and other diagnostic and treatment technologies — specifically for patients suffering from a disease of the thoracic aorta.

Advanced care with a single office visit

Patients with thoracic aortic disease often must consult many different specialists to address various aspects of their disease. At the CTAD, our system of care has been specially designed to better accommodate the patient.

When patients are referred to the CTAD, they undergo a comprehensive evaluation by the integrated, multidisciplinary team, at one location — the Thoracic Aortic Clinic at UPMC University Center, located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Pa.

We offer consultations by specialists, including:

  • Cardiologists
  • Cardiovascular surgeons
  • Geneticists
  • Radiologists
  • Vascular surgeons
  • Neurologists

These appointments often can be coordinated with diagnostic imaging and cardiology testing in the same clinic, often in the same day.

Improving care through research and education

The CTAD’s surgeons are actively involved in ongoing research to advance patient care and form new strategies to better manage diseases that can affect the thoracic aorta.

For example, CTAD surgeons have developed ways to reconstruct a patient’s aortic root while preserving the heart’s native valve. This offers an alternative to valve replacement with a mechanical valve (which could require patients to take blood thinners for the rest of their lives), or a tissue valve (which could require additional surgeries).

The development of minimally invasive approaches is also a priority of the CTAD.

Compared to traditional, open surgery, minimally invasive approaches offer patients the potential for:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Fewer complications
  • A quicker recovery

Qualifying patients may be treated with thoracic endovascular therapy (stent grafts), a minimally invasive approach that could delay, or eliminate, the need for open-heart surgery.

Breaking down barriers, coordinating care

By bringing specialized testing and experts to the patient, the CTAD helps break down communication barriers, so that specialists can more closely collaborate on treatment planning for patients with thoracic aortic disease.

Referring physicians need only to make a single phone call to the CTAD to initiate a comprehensive evaluation for their patient.

In fact, a fundamental mission of the CTAD is helping primary care, emergency medicine, and subspecialty providers identify, treat, follow, and track the progress of their patients with thoracic aortic disease.

Pre-hospital referrals and transfers for thoracic aortic emergencies — like an aortic dissection, ruptured aneurysm, or traumatic aortic injury — are rapidly facilitated with a single phone call, from the patient or provider, to the CTAD’s hotline.

Our Experts at the Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease

Thomas G. Gleason, MD, FACS, FACC, FACCP
Ronald V. Pellegrini Endowed Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Co-Director, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Director, Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease
Co-Director, Center for Heart Valve Disease

Forozan Navid, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Ibrahim Sultan, MD
Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Subspecialty Support

Cardiology

Erik Schelbert, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Critical Care Medicine

Rama Joshi, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Erin Sullivan, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Genetics

Marta Kolthoff, FACMG
Co-Director Adult Genetic Clinic
Assistant Professor of Clinical Genetics, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC

Imaging

Christopher Deible, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Friederich Knollmann, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Joan Lacomis, MD
Associate Professor of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Neurology

Tudor Jovin, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Contact Us at the UPMC Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease

To refer a patient for a comprehensive evaluation, call 412-647-7070.

For emergencies and immediate referrals, call 412-647-7070.
Fax: 412-623-3717

Thoracic Aortic Clinic
UPMC Presbyterian
5 Fl, B-Wing
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease 
Administrative Offices
UPMC Shadyside Medical Building Suite 715
5200 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232