Keck School Faculty

Vaughn Alden Starnes, MD
Vaughn Alden Starnes, MD
Chair and Distinguished Professor of Surgery;H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair for Stem Cell and Cardiovascular Thoracic Research;President of the USC Care Medical Group
1520 San Pablo St. Health Sciences Campus Los Angeles
Dr. Starnes is a Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery. As the founding Executive Director of the USC CardioVascular Thoracic Institute, Dr. Starnes has built an interdisciplinary powerhouse comprised of clinicians and basic scientists who are exploring better and more innovative ways of treating heart disease. Under his leadership, USC surgeons have conducted more than 15,000 open heart surgeries to repair and replace valves or create coronary artery bypasses, and more than 10,000 surgeries for diseases of the lungs, esophagus and chest wall.

Dr. Starnes earned his medical degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and did his general surgery training at Vanderbilt University, where he also completed two years of research in cardiothoracic physiology and pharmacology. He completed two years at Stanford University as a resident in cardiovascular surgery, and one year as chief resident in cardiac transplantation under the mentorship of cardiothoracic transplant pioneer Dr. Norman Shumway.

Dr. Starnes accepted a fellowship in pediatric cardiovascular surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in London (Now the Great Ormond Street Hospital) in 1987. When he returned to Stanford, he was appointed director of Stanford's heart-lung transplantation program. He joined USC in July 1992 and was appointed Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 1997 and Chairman of the Department of Surgery in 2008.

Dr. Starnes pioneered the living-related double lobar lung transplant in 1993. He and his surgical team also performed Southern California's first robotic heart operation in 2001 as part of the clinical trial evaluating the use of a remote surgical system. He has an ongoing interest in congenital heart disease and in minimally invasive repair and replacement of the valves of the heart.

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Starnes is a distinguished researcher. He is actively involved in exploring stem-cell therapy for heart failure and congenital heart defects and in clinical trials investigating new valve technology, including percutaneous heart valve replacement.

Dr. Starnes is the current Vice President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. He will be the 100th president of the AATS in 2019-2020.

U.S. News and World Report: Children's Hospital Los Angeles Cardiac Program, #3, 2015

Pasadena Magazine: Top Doctor, 2014

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award, 2013

Pasadena Magazine: Top Doctor, 2011

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd: List of America's Top Doctors, 2011

USC: Presidential Medallion, 2008

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd: America's Top Doctors - New York, 2004

EXPRESS: Late onset cardiac cirrhosis and portal hypertensive ascites after atrial fibrillation ablation Pulm Circ. 2018 Nov 13; 2045894018813559. . View in PubMed

The ring of fire: Nuances in the surgical management of mitral annular calcification J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2018 Oct 10. . View in PubMed

Eating well at your first job J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2018 Oct; 156(4):1585-1586. . View in PubMed

Simultaneous Systemic to Pulmonary Shunt and Pulmonary Artery Banding is a Viable Option for Neonatal Palliation of Single Ventricle Physiology Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2018 Sep 29. . View in PubMed

Successful rescue therapy with venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for re-expansion pulmonary oedema in a patient with one lung Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2018 Aug 03. . View in PubMed

Surgical Management and Outcomes of Ebstein Anomaly in Neonates and Infants: A Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database Analysis Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 May 16. . View in PubMed

Arch Augmentation via Median Sternotomy for Coarctation of Aorta with Proximal Arch Hypoplasia Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 May 10. . View in PubMed

Optimal Approach for Repair of Left Atrial-Esophageal Fistula Complicating Radiofrequency Ablation Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 May; 105(5):e229-e231. . View in PubMed

Liberal Use of Delayed Sternal Closure in Children is Not Associated with Increased Morbidity Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 Apr 23. . View in PubMed

Need for Pulmonary Arterioplasty During Glenn Independently Predicts Inferior Surgical Outcome Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 Apr 10. . View in PubMed

Resection of Metastatic Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the Ventricular Septum Causing Left Ventricular Outflow Tract Obstruction Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 Mar; 105(3):e107-e108. . View in PubMed

Selective Aortic Arch and Root Replacement in Repair of Acute Type A Aortic Dissection Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 Feb; 105(2):505-512. . View in PubMed

Anomalous Origin of the Left Coronary Artery From the Pulmonary Artery (ALCAPA): CCTA Demonstration of Anatomy Relevant to Adult Ischemic Cardiomyopathy Presentation and Utilization of Images for Virtual Surgical Planning World J Pediatr Congenit Heart Surg. 2018 05; 9(3):347-349. . View in PubMed

Landmark lecture on surgery: paediatric cardiothoracic surgery - training the next generation of congenital heart surgeons Cardiol Young. 2017 Dec; 27(10):1986-1990. . View in PubMed

Outcomes after mitral valve repair: A single-center 16-year experienceJ Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2017 Sep; 154(3):822-830. e2. . View in PubMed

The COMMENCE trial: 2-year outcomes with an aortic bioprosthesis with RESILIA tissue Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2017 Sep 01; 52(3):432-439. . View in PubMed

The Utility of Nurse-Managed Extracorporeal Life Support in an Adult Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Ann Thorac Surg. 2017 Aug; 104(2):510-514. . View in PubMed

Evaluation of Hemodynamic Performance of Aortic Valve Bioprostheses in a Model of Oversizing Ann Thorac Surg. 2017 Jun; 103(6):1866-1876. . View in PubMed

Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance of the Ross II Procedure: Long-Term Postoperative Imaging World J Pediatr Congenit Heart Surg. 2017 05; 8(3):398-399. . View in PubMed

Virtual 3-Dimensional Computed Tomographic Surgical Planning for Severe Aortic Coarctation/Aneurysm in the Setting of Bicuspid Aortic Valve World J Pediatr Congenit Heart Surg. 2017 01; 8(1):99-100. . View in PubMed

2017 Jan; 20:77-78. . View in PubMed

Type A Aortic Dissection Repair: How I Teach It Ann Thorac Surg. 2017 Jan; 103(1):14-17. . View in PubMed

The Ross procedure: an excellent option in the right hands Ann Transl Med. 2016 Dec; 4(23):471. . View in PubMed

Outcomes of Reintervention on the Autograft After Ross Procedure Ann Thorac Surg. 2016 Nov; 102(5):1517-1521. . View in PubMed

Single-Ventricle Outcomes After Neonatal Palliation of Severe Ebstein Anomaly With Modified Starnes Procedure Circulation. 2016 Oct 25; 134(17):1257-1264. . View in PubMed

A comparison of aortic valve replacement via an anterior right minithoracotomy with standard sternotomy: a propensity score analysis of 492 patients Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2016 Feb; 49(2):456-63. . View in PubMed

Reduced pleural drainage, length of stay, and readmissions using a modified Fontan management protocol J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2015 Sep; 150(3):481-7. . View in PubMed

Arterioplasty for Right Ventricular Outflow Tract Obstruction After Arterial Switch Is a Durable Procedure Ann Thorac Surg. 2015 Jul; 100(1):122-7; discussion 127-8. . View in PubMed

Survival and quality of life for children with end-stage heart failure who are not candidates for cardiac transplant J Heart Lung Transplant. 2015 Jul; 34(7):906-11. . View in PubMed

Age-Related Outcomes of the Ross Procedure Over 20 Years Ann Thorac Surg. 2015 Jun; 99(6):2077-83; discussion 2084-5. . View in PubMed

Concurrent aortic valvular disease and pulmonary sequestration: clinical implications Tex Heart Inst J. 2014 Dec; 41(6):649-52. . View in PubMed

Outcomes after pregnancy in living lobar lung transplantation Transplantation. 2014 Oct 15; 98(7):692-4. . View in PubMed

Contemporary use of balloon aortic valvuloplasty in the era of transcatheter aortic valve implantation Tex Heart Inst J. 2014 Oct; 41(5):469-76. . View in PubMed

Exercise Hemodynamics and Quality of Life after Aortic Valve Replacement for Aortic Stenosis in the Elderly Using the Hancock II Bioprosthesis Cardiol Res Pract. 2014; 2014:151282. . View in PubMed

Anomalous coronary arteries: cardiovascular computed tomographic angiography for surgical decisions and planning World J Pediatr Congenit Heart Surg. 2013 Apr; 4(2):142-54. . View in PubMed

Heart repair and regeneration: recent insights from zebrafish studies Wound Repair Regen. 2012 Sep-Oct; 20(5):638-46. . View in PubMed

Breast implants and minimally invasive cardiac surgery: a case series Ann Plast Surg. 2012 Jul; 69(1):10-3. . View in PubMed

A novel reconstruction of the left superior vena cava J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Apr; 143(4):981-2. . View in PubMed

Modified Starnes procedure in a neonate with severe tricuspid regurgitation Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Feb; 93(2):658-9. . View in PubMed

2012 Jan 01; 3(1):123-9. . View in PubMed

Is transthoracic minimally invasive aortic valve replacement too time-consuming for the busy cardiac surgeon? Innovations (Phila). 2011 Jan; 6(1):10-4.. View in PubMed

PDGF signaling is required for epicardial function and blood vessel formation in regenerating zebrafish hearts Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Oct 05; 107(40):17206-10. . View in PubMed

Pulmonary homograft monocusp reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract: outcomes to the intermediate term Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 Jul; 90(1):42-9. . View in PubMed

Reducing the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis in neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome with the introduction of an enteral feed protocol Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2010 May; 11(3):373-7. . View in PubMed

Ascending aortitis and aortic valve endocarditis in an infant J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2010 Apr; 139(4):e90-1. . View in PubMed

Obstruction of lateral tunnel fontan by an adjustable occluder device J Card Surg. 2009 Nov-Dec; 24(6):750-2. . View in PubMed

All cardiac right ventricular outpouches are not created equal Pediatr Cardiol. 2009 Oct; 30(7):954-7. . View in PubMed

Can the Kawashima procedure be performed in younger patients? Ann Thorac Surg. 2009 Aug; 88(2):581-6; discussion 586-7.. View in PubMed

Differential branch pulmonary artery growth after the Norwood procedure with right ventricle-pulmonary artery conduit versus modified Blalock-Taussig shunt in hypoplastic left heart syndrome J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2009 Jun; 137(6):1342-8. . View in PubMed

Cardiovascular magnetics resonance diagnosis of cystic tumor of the atrioventricular node J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2009 Apr 30; 11:13. . View in PubMed

A novel surgical approach to left main coronary artery giant aneurysm thrombosis in a child with a history of Kawasaki disease J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2009 Apr; 137(4):1030-2. . View in PubMed

Right ventricular exclusion procedure with total cavopulmonary connection: an alternative operative approach in adults with severe Ebstein anomaly J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2008 May; 135(5):1182-3. . View in PubMed

Resection of giant coronary artery aneurysms in a Takayasu's arteritis patient Ann Thorac Surg. 2008 May; 85(5):1795-6. . View in PubMed

Hemidiaphragm plication after repair of congenital heart defects in children: quantitative return of diaphragm function over time J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2008 Jan; 135(1):56-61. . View in PubMed

Fate of the right ventricle after fenestrated right ventricular exclusion for severe neonatal Ebstein anomaly J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2007 Dec; 134(6):1406-10; discussion 1410-2. . View in PubMed

Stage I palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome: Norwood versus Sano modification Curr Opin Cardiol. 2007 Mar; 22(2):60-5. . View in PubMed

The xenoantibody response and immunoglobulin gene expression profile of cynomolgus monkeys transplanted with hDAF-transgenic porcine hearts Xenotransplantation. 2007 Mar; 14(2):135-44. . View in PubMed

A novel approach to the surgical correction of scimitar syndrome J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2007 Feb; 133(2):573-4. . View in PubMed

Rat chemokine CXCL11: structure, tissue distribution, function and expression in cardiac transplantation models Mol Cell Biochem. 2007 Feb; 296(1-2):1-9. . View in PubMed

Current surgical therapy for Ebstein anomaly in neonates J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2006 Dec; 132(6):1285-90. . View in PubMed

Perioperative cyclooxygenase 2 inhibition to reduce tumor cell adhesion and metastatic potential of circulating tumor cells in non-small cell lung cancer J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2006 Aug; 132(2):297-303. . View in PubMed

Tolerance induction by lentiviral gene therapy with a nonmyeloablative regimen Blood. 2006 Mar 15; 107(6):2286-93. . View in PubMed

Gastrointestinal morbidity after Norwood palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome Ann Thorac Surg. 2006 Mar; 81(3):982-7. . View in PubMed

Mesenteric blood flow velocities in the newborn with single-ventricle physiology: modified Blalock-Taussig shunt versus right ventricle-pulmonary artery conduit Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2006 Mar; 7(2):132-7. . View in PubMed

Pleural space problems after living lobar transplantation J Heart Lung Transplant. 2005 Dec; 24(12):2086-90. . View in PubMed

Transforming growth factor-beta/interleukin-2-induced regulatory CD4+ T cells prolong cardiac allograft survival in rats J Heart Lung Transplant. 2005 Dec; 24(12):2153-9. . View in PubMed

Proximal conduit obstruction after Sano modified Norwood procedure Ann Thorac Surg. 2005 Nov; 80(5):1924-8. . View in PubMed

Ascending aortic extension for enlargement of the aortopulmonary space in children with pulmonary artery stenosis Ann Thorac Surg. 2005 Nov; 80(5):1647-51. . View in PubMed

Dimethyl celecoxib as a novel non-cyclooxygenase 2 therapy in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2005 Nov; 130(5):1406-12. . View in PubMed

Identification of the V genes encoding xenoantibodies in non-immunosuppressed rhesus monkeys Immunology. 2005 Sep; 116(1):89-102. . View in PubMed

Evaluation of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition in an orthotopic murine model of lung cancer for dose-dependent effect J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2005 Jun; 129(6):1242-9. . View in PubMed

Obstruction in modified Blalock shunts: a quantitative analysis with clinical correlation Ann Thorac Surg. 2005 Jun; 79(6):2072-6. . View in PubMed

Presidential address: an evolving discipline J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2005 Mar; 129(3):483-7. . View in PubMed

Does the site of insertion of a systemic-pulmonary shunt influence growth of the pulmonary arteries? Ann Thorac Surg. 2005 Feb; 79(2):636-40.. View in PubMed

Long-term pulmonary function after living-donor lobar lung transplantation in adults Ann Thorac Surg. 2005 Feb; 79(2):418-25. . View in PubMed

The Ross procedure is an ideal aortic valve replacement operation for the teen patient Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg Pediatr Card Surg Annu. 2005; 173-5. . View in PubMed

Previous thoracic surgery does not increase peri-operative mortality in pediatric heart-lung transplant recipients J Heart Lung Transplant. 2004 Nov; 23(11):1228-30. . View in PubMed

A decade of living lobar lung transplantation: perioperative complications after 253 donor lobectomies Am J Transplant. 2004 Aug; 4(8):1283-8. . View in PubMed

Use of lentiviral vectors to induce long-term tolerance to gal(+) heart grafts Transplantation. 2004 Jun 15; 77(11):1748-54. . View in PubMed

Risk factors for persistent pleural effusions after the extracardiac Fontan procedure J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2004 Jun; 127(6):1664-9. . View in PubMed

Identification, functional analysis and expression in a heterotopic heart transplant model of CXCL9 in the rat Immunology. 2004 May; 112(1):87-93. . View in PubMed

Neochordal repair of the posterior mitral leaflet J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2004 Feb; 127(2):440-7. . View in PubMed

Potential role for antiangiogenic proteins in the myocardial infarction repair process J Surg Res. 2004 Jan; 116(1):156-64. . View in PubMed

A decade of living lobar lung transplantation: recipient outcomes J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2004 Jan; 127(1):114-22. . View in PubMed

Lobar transplantation J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2003 Dec; 126(6):2106; author reply 2106. . View in PubMed

Bordetella bronchiseptica infection in pediatric lung transplant recipients Pediatr Transplant. 2003 Oct; 7(5):413-7. . View in PubMed

Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition decreases primary and metastatic tumor burden in a murine model of orthotopic lung adenocarcinoma J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2003 Oct; 126(4):1129-33. . View in PubMed

Evidence for recipient derived fibroblast recruitment and activation during the development of chronic cardiac allograft rejection Transplantation. 2003 Aug 15; 76(3):609-14. . View in PubMed

Living lobar transplantation Chest Surg Clin N Am. 2003 Aug; 13(3):505-24. . View in PubMed

What are the best pulmonary function test parameters for early detection of post-lung transplant bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in children? Pediatr Transplant. 2003 Jun; 7(3):200-3.. View in PubMed

Migration of mesenchymal stem cells to heart allografts during chronic rejection Transplantation. 2003 Mar 15; 75(5):679-85. . View in PubMed

Does lung growth occur when mature lobes are transplanted into children? Pediatr Transplant. 2002 Dec; 6(6):500-4.. View in PubMed

Vascular endothelial cell apoptosis induced by anti-donor non-MHC antibodies: a possible injury pathway contributing to chronic allograft rejection J Heart Lung Transplant. 2002 Nov; 21(11):1174-87. . View in PubMed

Hyperinflation resulting in hemodynamic collapse following living donor lobar transplantation Anesthesiology. 2002 Nov; 97(5):1315-7. . View in PubMed

Homograft conduit failure in infants is not due to somatic outgrowth J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2002 Jul; 124(1):88-96. . View in PubMed

Pediatric recipients of living donor lobar lung transplants: postoperative care Prog Transplant. 2002 Jun; 12(2):81-5. . View in PubMed

Clinical findings and lung pathology in children with cystic fibrosis Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002 Apr 15; 165(8):1172-5. . View in PubMed

The utility of preoperative routine carotid artery duplex scanning in patients undergoing aortic valve replacement Ann Vasc Surg. 2002 Mar; 16(2):163-7. . View in PubMed

Perforating Barrett's ulcer resulting in a life-threatening esophagobronchial fistula Ann Thorac Surg. 2002 Jan; 73(1):302-4. . View in PubMed

Dyspnea lusoria: compression of the pulmonary artery by a Kommerell's diverticulum Ann Thorac Surg. 2002 Jan; 73(1):312-3. . View in PubMed

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