A message from J. Nilas Young, chief of cardiothoracic surgery

A video message from Dr. Nilas Young, chief of cardiothoracic surgery, UC Davis Health System

Over the past decade, we have developed a team of talented cardiothoracic surgeons with an emphasis on patient-focused therapies, clinical and basic research. Our team and our surgical volume have tripled in size, and we have evolved into an elite group of specialists who provide a full spectrum of cardiac and thoracic surgeries for adults and children. As a result, high-risk, complicated procedures involving the esophagus, lungs, chest wall, heart and aorta are routine for us.

We have pioneered some of the latest techniques and technologies in the field to advance health. In 2010, for example, UC Davis cardiothoracic surgeons performed California’s first robotic-assisted, multiple cardiac bypass procedure. We were first in the region to offer video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery — or VATS — a minimally invasive, video-guided approach to lung surgery. And we were the first to show that using stents to repair aortas damaged due to traumatic accidents improved patient outcomes. Our new Ventricular Assist Device Program allows us to implant small pumps that help replace the heart functions of patients waiting for transplants or those who are not good candidates for transplantation.

Ours is also the only cardiothoracic surgery team in the region blending quality clinical care with basic and clinical investigations that are changing cardiothoracic surgery worldwide. In addition to ongoing clinical studies, one of our most exciting areas of clinical research is the use of stem cells to populate bioenginered patches, conduits and valves that can be used to repair the hearts of children and adults. Our basic research in this area is focused on generating cardiac tissues from human thymus cells.

We remain committed to expanding our energetic and skilled surgical team and research efforts to match our ongoing, core commitments to improving the quality of life of our patients.


J. Nilas Young, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery