Bartley P. Griffith, M.D., an internationally known heart surgeon who has pioneered lung and heart transplantation, has become head of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
"Dr. Griffith is a highly talented surgeon, a creative thinker and national leader in cardiac surgery and transplantation who will help us move boldly into the future," says Bruce Jarrell, M.D., chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland.
Dr. Griffith, a Pittsburgh native, comes to Baltimore from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, medical director of the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine and professor of surgery.
As a byproduct of his interest in heart transplantation, Dr. Griffith established the use of the Jarvik 7 total artificial heart in 1985, to provide a bridge for those awaiting transplant. This work spawned his current interest in the development and use of small blood pumps to assist the failing heart. He is the principal investigator on studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health to evaluate how patients respond to these new pumps and whether an artificial lung can be developed.
In the early 1980's, Dr. Griffith was on the team that performed the world's
second successful heart-lung transplant. In 1989, he led a team that performed
the nation's first pediatric double-lung transplant. He also helped create the
standard bypass device that has vastly improved the success of liver transplantation.
Dr. Griffith has performed three "piggyback" heart transplants, in which a donor heart is implanted next to the patient's own diseased heart. Only about 20 such operations have been performed in the world.
Dr. Griffith says the patients he typically sees are seriously ill with valve, coronary artery and aneurysmal disease, often needing heroic efforts to keep them alive. The surgery he performs frequently requires extraordinary planning and may call for a novel approach to solve a problem. He says he decided to come to the University of Maryland because he sees a vitality and potential for future innovation.
"I would like to see the University of Maryland become a regional and national resource for patients with heart and lung failure," says Dr. Griffith. "Along with that, we will develop even stronger research and academic programs in heart and lung surgery."
While Dr. Griffith has a well-established reputation for groundbreaking research studies, he says patient care is his top priority. "I am very much a bedside doctor. I'm interested in research that translates to improved patient care."
Dr. Griffith earned his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College, and trained in surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Health Center Hospitals. He has published over 400 journal articles, has lectured at national and international professional meetings, and has received numerous honors and awards, including induction into the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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