Leading the way with innovative surgery
The Alfred’s reputation as a leader in cardiothoracic surgery saw Atsuo make the leap from his home in Tokyo to Melbourne – and he’s making his own mark in the field today.
Originally from Japan, Atsuo came to The Alfred looking to get increased exposure to cardiothoracic surgery and experience with transplant work.
It is a challenge he has relished, with Atsuo currently working as a surgical consultant specialising in a diverse range of areas, including cardiothoracic surgery, heart transplants, lung transplants, and ventricular assist device.
Importantly, he has been given the opportunity to continue his research work, and further progress his career.
He currently leads a surgical team in pulmonary endarterectomy, which is surgery to remove old blood clots and scar tissue from the pulmonary arteries in the lungs that is only performed in a few centres throughout the country. He started The Alfred’s adult Ross Surgery (or pulmonary autograft replacement) program. He also leads the endoscopic vein harvest program along with the PNSAs – the only public hospital in Victoria which performs such a procedure.
“To be allowed to do these things, and be supported to do so, is an honour and a privilege.”
He is delighted that The Alfred provides a supportive research environment, with one of his current projects involving a clinical trial of a novel technique to reconstruct heart valves.
“It drives you to improve yourself, and keeps the work interesting. You work towards providing better outcomes and better service for patients.”
Atsuo adds that the deep appreciation from those he cares for remains important.
“Getting a ‘thank you’ from a patient keeps you going.”
As The Alfred marks its 150th year, Atsuo says one of the unique things about working at The Alfred is the wide variety of work it does.
“We provide care to the very unwell. As a team, we are willing to undertake those tasks. We collaborate with other units, and together we work through some complex cases.
“That’s what sets us apart from some other places. Patients get referred to The Alfred from other major hospitals -not only in Victoria, but interstate and overseas as well.
“If you want to continue to improve throughout your career, this is the place to be.”