Mr Ascione was born in Torre del Greco, a city close to Pompei, Italy in 1964. He obtained his degree in medicine and surgery at the University Hospital Federico II of Naples, Italy in 1993. He then entered a five-year training scheme in cardiothoracic surgery at the same university hospital. He spent 16 months of this five-year training scheme in the UK as seconded specialist registrar in cardiothoracic surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK.
Following completion of the Italian five-year training scheme, Mr Ascione moved permanently to the UK in November 1999, being in the position of senior registrar/lecturer in cardiothoracic surgery up to July 2002. In August 2002 Mr Ascione was appointed to a permanent consultant senior lecturer position in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Bristol/United Bristol NHS Healthcare Trust.
During this time Mr Ascione has lectured at conferences and international meetings on several topics including beating heart coronary surgery, for which he was awarded a Master of Surgery by the University of Bristol in May 2002 and the John Parker Gold medal by the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgery of Great Britain and Ireland in 2001.
His other surgical interests include arterial coronary revascularisation, mitral valve repair, ablation of chronic atrial fibrillation, aortic surgery and end-stage heart failure. He is a permanent senior member of national and international learned cardiothoracic societies.