"It's a magical moment for us when we see that heart restart after surgery."
When he was younger, Ibrahim Sultan, MD, wanted to be an aeronautics engineer.
But then he shadowed a couple of physicians when he was in high school, and he never looked back.
"I thought that the relationship they had with patients and their families was just tremendous," says Dr. Sultan, chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery. "It was evident the sense of gratification they felt. It was just so special, I didn't notice it in other specialties."
The draw to heart surgery was just as strong. Patients who undergo heart surgery can see great improvement and get back to doing what they love most.
“To open somebody's chest, stop their heart, fix it, restart their heart, and get them home in five days and back to normal, that's incredibly gratifying," Dr. Sultan says. "I'm not sure there's a lot of jobs in the world that beat that.
"It's a magical moment for us when we see that heart restart after surgery because we know that patient is going to do extremely well."
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, of which Dr. Sultan is co-director, is one of the nation's leading cardiovascular centers. The institute houses specialists for all different heart conditions, meaning patients can expect top-notch care for their specific case. Over the years, our experts have pioneered many different cutting-edge treatments and procedures.
Patients can expect a full spectrum of treatment options: from medication, to traditional open heart surgery, to minimally invasive robotic surgery. The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute team treats each patient on an individual basis, working toward the best outcome for them.
"Everyone on this team — the cardiologists, the surgeons, the anesthesiologists, the nurses — are all working for who I call the captain of this heart team, which is the patient," Dr. Sultan says. "We have a sole purpose. We walk in saying, 'What is it that we need to do to get this person back on their feet?'"
Dr. Sultan specializes in aortic and heart valve surgery, as well as advanced coronary artery disease. Many of the patients he sees are patients seeking a second or third opinion for a high-risk case.
"This can be a lifelong journey for patients with their heart disease, and we're absolutely privileged to be a small part of their journey," says Dr. Sultan. "For us to be able to make a difference pick up their grandkids and so they can go back to biking, or skiing, or spending time with their loved ones, that's incredibly gratifying. It's hard to beat that. It makes us get up every day and come to work with a smile."
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means doing what we love so that our patients can get back to doing what they love.
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