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University Hospital Cologne

Cologne, Germany


Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery


Thorsten Wahlers

Prof. Dr. med.

Thorsten Wahlers

Specialized in: cardiothoracic surgery

Curriculum vitae keyboard_arrow_down
  • 1977 Military service in Munich and Bonn, medical-sanitary battalion.
  • 1977 - 1983 Study of medicine at the Rheinish Friedrich Wilhelm University Bonn, the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, the University of Cologne.
  • 04/1983 State exam at the University of Cologne.
  • 05/1983 Approbation of the Medical Association of the University of Cologne (Prof. Dr. Th. Wahlers’ CV).
  • 05/1983 Thesis defense (cardiology), University of Cologne (Prof. Dr. H. H. Hilger) "On the Influence of Oxyfedrine on the bradycardiac heart rhythm disorders in humans".

Professional career

  • 07/1983 Research Assistant, Surgery Center, Hannover Medical School.
  • 1983 - 1989 Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Hanover; Surgery Center (Prof. Dr. H.G. Borst), Department of Trauma Surgery (Prof. Dr. H. Tscherne) Department of Abdominal and Transplant Surgery (Prof. Dr. R. Pichlmayr).
  • 11/1986 - 04/1987 Harefield Hospital, National Heart Hospital, Middlesex, London, UK (Prof. Sir M. Yacoub, F.R.C.S.).
  • 10/1989 Certified Surgeon (State Chamber of Physicians of Lower Saxony).
  • 09/1990 Senior Physician, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Hannover Medical School.
  • 03/1991 Certified Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon (State Chamber of Physicians of Lower Saxony).
  • 08/1991 Certified Vascular Surgeon (State Chamber of Physicians of Lower Saxony).
  • 02/1992 Thesis defense; Hannover, "Studies with experiments on animals to preserve organs in lung, heart-lung transplantation".
  • 08/1993 Advanced training in vascular surgery, Hannover Medical School (State Chamber of Physicians of Lower Saxony), thoracic and cardiovascular surgery represented by Prof. Dr. H.G. Borst.
  • 05/1994 Additional qualification in emergency medicine (State Chamber of Physicians of Lower Saxony).
  • 08/1995 Chief Physician, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Hannover Medical School.
  • 02/1996 Appointed as a Visiting Professor.
  • 12/1996 - 1999 Foundation and management of the Section of MHH Eastern Municipal Hospital with the introduction of a new specialization in cardiac surgery, integration of general, thoracic, vascular surgery.
  • 11/1998 Appointed as an Examiner of the State Chamber of Physicians of Lower Saxony (vascular surgery).
  • 09/1999 Ordinary Professor C4; Head of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, as well as appointment to the leadership position of the Department of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Friedrich Schiller University Jena.
  • 02/2000 Member of the European Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons (F.E.B.T.C.S).
  • 02/2002 Member of the Board of the German Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.
  • 11/2003 Director of the Surgery Center, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.
  • 02/2004 Member of the Board of the German Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, elected for the second term, for the next 2 years.
  • 12/2004 Invitation to take over the post  in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (after Prof. Dr. de Vivie), University Hospital Cologne.
  • 11/2005 Ordinary Professor, Head of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery at the University Hospital Cologne.
  • 10/2007 Deputy Speaker of the Heart Center at the University Hospital Cologne.
  • 08/2009 Speaker of the Experimental Advisory Board of the Center for Experimental Medicine at the University Hospital Cologne.
  • 2009 - 2012 Speaker of the Heart Center at the University Hospital Cologne.

The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University Hospital Cologne under the direction of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wahlers is one of the leading German centers in the treatment of congenital and acquired heart defects. The Heart Center at the department contains 40 beds for the patients who receive standard medical care, as well as the specialized Intensive Care Unit with 24 beds for the patients requiring intensive care and artificial lung ventilation. There are also 24 beds for the patients receiving intermediate care. The Intensive Care Unit for the patients with heart transplant is also part of the Department (2 beds).

All together, the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery performs over 2,800 surgical procedures every year. 1,700 of them are performed with the use of the cardiopulmonary bypass. The department has 4 operating rooms for cardiothoracic surgeries and an additional operating room for pacemaker implantation. The operating rooms are equipped with the state-of-the-art devices, including the so-called hybrid operating room equipped with the multilayer X-ray optics for the complex cardiovascular operations. It is used together with the cardiologists to implant a heart valve with the use of a catheter. In addition, the department supervises its own research laboratory.

The range of medical services of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery includes:

  • Surgery for the acquired heart defects with the cardiopulmonary bypass and without it (incl. coronary surgery, surgery for acute myocardial infraction and its complications, ventricular septal defect etc.)
  • Surgery for the congenital heart defects with the cardiopulmonary bypass and without it (incl. surgery of newborns, children, adolescents and adults)
  • Arrhythmia surgery (pacemakers, defibrillators, Maze surgery)
  • Thoracic surgery (tumors of lungs, trachea and bronchi)
  • Heart transplant
  • Mechanical circulatory support and an artificial heart
  • Round-the-clock medical care

According to the Focus magazine rating of 2017, the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University Hospital Cologne ranks among the top German departments specializing in cardiac surgery!




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