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| Academic Office |
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
500 Parnassus Avenue
Room MUW-405 Box 0118
San Francisco, CA 94143-0118
| Clinic Address |
400 Parnassus Ave. Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143-0118
Fax: (415) 353-1312
Georg M. Wieselthaler, M.D. is a heart transplant surgeon and one of the world´s leading experts in mechanical circulatory support for end stage heart failure patients. A Professor of Surgery at UCSF and Director & Surgical Chief of Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support, Dr. Wieselthaler has performed more than 350 heart transplants and developed extensive expertise in the implantation of numerous types of ventricular assist device (VAD) systems at the Medical University of Vienna.
Dr. Wieselthaler graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from the College for Electrical Engineering in Vienna, Austria and received his M.D. as well from the University of Vienna, Austria. He did his residency and surgical training at the 2nd Department of Surgery, University of Vienna and received advanced training in transplantation in the Vienna Heart Transplant Program and Vienna Lung Transplant Program. He also completed advanced fellowships as staff surgeon at the Dept. of Cardiac Surgery in St. Pölten Hospital, Austria.
Dr. Wieselthaler has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and has trained surgeons worldwide in implantation techniques and the use of varied pulsatile and continuous flow ventricular assist devices. He is member of numerous national and international medical scientific societies and is President-Elect of the International Society for Rotary Blood Pumps.
He is also a member of the Board of the European Society for Artificial Organs and Past President of the Austrian Society for Implantology and Tissue integrated Protetics. In April 2011, Dr. Wieselthaler was named Director of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. He is a frequent speaker and has served as chair for numerous national and international scientific conferences devoted to mechanical circulatory support and transplantation.
In 1984, while still in medical school, Dr. Wieselthaler became involved in the Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Program at the University of Vienna and began working in the Biomedical Laboratory on the development of the driving unit for the "New Vienna Total Artificial Heart (TAH)". After graduation, Dr. Wieselthaler became aware of the advantages of rotary blood pumps and organized the world´s the first "International Workshop(s) on Rotary Blood Pumps" in the years 1988 and 1991 in Austria. Out of these meetings, the International Society for Rotary Blood Pumps was founded in 1992 with Dr. Wieselthaler acting as Secretary General for the organization for many years.
Dr. Wieselthaler and colleague Dr. Heinrich Schima, a biomedical engineer, then investigated and developed miniaturized centrifugal pumps over15 years in the Biomedical Laboratories of the University of Vienna. Dr. Wieselthaler thereafter became primary surgeon at the Medical University of Vienna where implanted various types of VAD systems and supervised patient care. He developed extensive expertise with pulsatile systems like Novacor LVAS and has had one of the longest supported patients on the device (over 4 1/2 years). He also developed the Thoratec paracorporeal and implantable VADs. One of his patients was supported more than 3 years on the world´s first full implantable VAD in the Arrow LionHeart CUPS Trial.
In 1998, Dr. Wieselthaler implanted the world's first implantable, miniaturized axial flow pumps, the MicroMed-DeBakey VAD and he has since implanted more than 80 patients with this device. Many of Dr. Wieselthaler´s leading scientific papers originated his early experience with the world´s first nonpulsatile pump, articles still cited by colleagues. Dr. Wieselthaler also served as Principal Investigator and implanted the world´s first implantable, magnetically suspended centrifugal left ventricular assist device (LVAD), the "TERUMO DuraHeart LVAD".
In 2003, Dr. Wieselthaler joined a HeartWare Inc, Miramar, FL as a consultant and over the next three years, played a key role in the development the HeartWare HVAD, a miniaturized hydromagnatically levitated centrifugal pump. and in 2006, he implanted the world's first patients with this system.
Dr. Wieselthaler continued working with HeartWare on the next generation LVAD, known as the "Miniaturised Ventricular Assist Device (MVAD)", leading to two patent applications in his name for the technology: 1) a minimally invasive implantation technique of the MVAD, and 2) a special shaped inflow cannula tip for the MVAD.
Suitulaga "Sugi" Hunkin has been overweight most of his life. He attributes that to his love of food and his Samoan ancestry. Because of his size, he also had trouble breathing and experienced irregular heartbeat - symptoms his doctors diagnosed as heart disease called cardiomyopathy, which usually leads to heart failure...........He needed heart transplantation surgery to replace his failing heart, but before that could happen, he needed to lose at least 100 pounds. "If a patient is very obese, he bears a lot of risks and complications, inter-operatively as well as post-operatively," said Georg Wieselthaler. M.D., Professor of Surgery of UC San Francisco's Division of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery, and director and surgical chief of the UCSF Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support. "And therefore it's absolutely favorable for patients to try and have a body mass index of below 35 before going into a complex operation."
Hunkin chose UCSF to help him with his heart failure. Its pioneering Cardiothoracic Surgery program, now led by Scot H. Merrick, M.D., was established 50 years ago by chair Leon Goldman, MD, and Benson Roe, M.D. The Heart and Lung Transplant Program has historically had high one-year survival outcomes among academic surgery programs nationally. To help Hunkin stay alive, Wieselthaler installed a ventricular assist device (VAD), a mechanical device that helps a failing heart pump blood. The VAD allowed Hunkin stay alive, but it did not help him lose weight. *Excerpt above adapted from UCSF News