THORALF M. SUNDT III, MD, has been named chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery. Beginning Feb. 7, he succeeds Douglas Mathisen, MD, who will continue as chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery. Sundt currently is vice chair of the Department of Surgery, director of the Cardiovascular Surgical Research Laboratory, co-director of the Marfan and Thoracic Aortic Clinic, and a professor of surgery at the Mayo Clinic, where he has been on staff for 10 years. His appointment marks a return to the MGH, where he completed a residency in general surgery in 1991.
“Thor is widely acknowledged as one of the most prominent and respected cardiac surgeons in the country,” says Andrew L. Warshaw, MD, surgeon-in-chief and chair of the Department of Surgery. “We are proud to welcome him to lead the clinical and research efforts in cardiac surgery at the MGH.”
Sundt earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In addition to his MGH residency, Sundt also trained in thoracic surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine and completed fellowships at the National Cancer Institute and at Harefield Hospital in London, England. Beginning in 1994, Sundt held appointments with the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine until joining the Mayo Clinic in 2001.
Sundt is associated with nearly all of the major organizations in his field and currently is secretary of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. He has served on the editorial boards of multiple surgical publications and at present is an editorial board member of Current Problems in Surgery and the Journal of Cardiac Surgery. Sundt has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and more than 30 book chapters.
His clinical focus is on acquired heart disease in the adult with particular interest in diseases of the aorta, including aortic arch replacement and repair of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms. His research interests include bicuspid aortic valve disease, human factors and medical error.
“The MGH played a critical role in establishing the foundation of my career,” says Sundt. “I’m delighted to return to this wonderful institution and once again work with its talented surgical staff – a number of whom are longtime friends.”