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Prof. Dr. med. Rainer G. Leyh image

Department of thoracic, cardiac and cardiovascular surgery

Prof. Dr. med. Rainer G. Leyh
cardiothoracic surgery

About the department

The department of thoracic, cardiac and cardiovascular surgery at the University Hospital Wurzburg (UKW) deals with heart and lung diseases requiring surgical treatment. The medical team has many years of experience in minimally invasive surgeries following the highest medical standards. For example, more than 60% of lung tumours are removed using the "keyhole" method. Proven standards, innovative surgical procedures and the latest technology allow doctors to provide first-class medicine and individually tailored therapy. The department has two state-of-the-art echocardiographic laboratories that enable all examinations, including special ones, necessary in preparation for surgery or subsequent checks. The department is considered the most modern institution, where more than 2000 heart surgeries and more than 600 lung surgeries are performed annually. In addition, the department's surgeons are qualified to perform heart transplantation. According to Focus magazine, the department is included in the ranking of the best medical institutions in Germany in the surgical treatment of diseases of the cardiovascular system.

The department offers innovative methods for diagnosing and treating congenital and acquired diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lungs and pleura, mediastinum and diaphragm. The range of services ranges from emergency surgery to cosmetic correction of bone malformations. Of particular interest are coronary artery bypass grafting, aneurysm therapy, heart failure surgery, and the removal of chest tumours.

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Treatment and diagnostic focus of the department

Diagnosis: 

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Valvular insufficiency 
  • Valvular stenosis 
  • Cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure 
  • Myocardial infarction 
  • Atrial fibrillation 
  • Lung cancer 
  • Aortic aneurysm 
  • Endocarditis 
  • Pericardial disease 
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
  • Lobar emphysema 
  • Cystic adenomatoid lung malformation 
  • Pleural mesothelioma

Diagnostic: 

  • Anamnesis 
  • Clinical examination (palpation, auscultation) 
  • Laboratory analysis 
  • Measurement of the blood pressure 
  • Electrocardiography (ECG) 
  • Echosonography 
  • Doppler and duplex sonogrpaphy 
  • Cardiac CT 
  • Digital chest X-ray 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) 
  • Diagnostic angiography 
  • Bronchoscopy 
  • Cervical and scalene lymph node biopsy 

Treatment: 

  • Drug therapy 
  • Stent implantation 
  • Catheter ablation
  • Removal of ventricular aneurysm
  • Surgical correction of heart valves
  • Heart valve replacement (biological and artificial implants)
  • Minimally invasive interventions on heart valves
  • Ross procedure in aortic valve replacement
  • Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI)
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting 
  • Open aortic replacement
  • Hybrid interventions
  • Implantation of pacemakers or defibrillators
  • Correction of congenital thoracic defects
  • Pediatric thoracic surgery
  • Surgical interventions on the pleura
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Doctor profile

Education

  • 1981 - 1988 Study of Medicine, University of Kiel (Germany) and Auckland/Dunedin Universities, New Zealand
  • 1988 - 1989 Army service (medical service)
  • 1990 Doctoral thesis defence, Christian Albrecht University of Kiel
  • 1989 - 1993 Clinical training in the Department of Cardiac Surgery, Christian Albrecht University of Kiel
  • 1993 - 1998 Continued clinical training in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at the University Hospital Lübeck
  • 2003 Habilitation, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Hannover Medical School

Experience

  • 1996 - 1999 Senior Physician of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at the University Hospital Lübeck
  • 1999 - 2004 Senior Physician of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Ortstadtkrankenhaus Hannover
  • 2004 - 2007 Deputy Head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, West German Heart Center, University Hospital Essen
  • Since 2007 Head of the Department of Adult and Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University Hospital Würzburg
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