Professor Ulrich Von Oppell
Consultant Cardiac Surgeon
MB BCh, FCS, FETCS, PhD
My undergraduate and postgraduate training was completed at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, where I qualified as a cardiothoracic surgeon in 1986. I completed a PhD on ‘protecting the heart during cardiac surgery’ at the University of Cape Town in 1992, was appointed to the Chris Barnard Professorial Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, South Africa in 1993. I did a 6 month clinical sabbatical at the Heart Centre, University of Leipzig, Germany in 1999 to gain experience in surgery for atrial fibrillation, off-pump and minimal access cardiac surgery. During this period, I also co-developed a new technique of using Gore-Tex sutures to repair mitral valves, which has now been adopted worldwide. I relocated to Cardiff, Wales in October 2001.
I specialise in adult cardiac surgery and my specific interest is in the repair of heart valves, curative surgery for atrial fibrillation, aortic aneurysm surgery as well as complex valve combined with coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
I have done more than 4,000 open heart operations. The UK National Institute of Cardiac Outcomes Research (NICOR) independently monitors & reports surgical results in terms of risk stratified patient survival; which takes into account a patient’s other illnesses affecting other body organs, age, and lifestyle which affect a patient’s chances of surviving major heart surgery. In 2015, NICOR confirmed that the risk adjusted in-hospital patient survival of my patients at 99.4% is better than the UK National average of 97.7%. Furthermore the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland rated me, in terms of patient outcomes, as being one of the top 7 cardiac surgeons in the United Kingdom.
I was the chair of the Clinical Evidence Reference Group for Cardiothoracics for the Welsh Health Specialist Service Commission (2013 – 2016) and I was the lead cardiac surgeon at the University Hospital of Wales (2010 – 2015).
In addition to my clinical work I was appointed as an Independent Expert to the European Commission for the Horizon 2020 Project - Personalising Health & Care (2014 – 2015).
The Independent Equiniti 360 Revalidation (2013) colleague feedback rated my performance as 'outstanding' in diagnosis, techniques, patient management, reliability & knowledge and my average rating was higher than the National benchmark. Patients assessed their care as 'very satisfied' and rated me 3.9 out of 4 for polite, respectful, listened to, and answering their questions.
Some of the principal treatments carried out by Professor Ulrich Von Oppell at Spire include:
MB BCh / University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa / 1997
Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery
FCS (RSA) - Cardiothoracic / College of Medicine of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa / 1986
Fellowship of the College of Surgeons of South Africa in Cardiothoracic Surgery
PhD - Cardiothoracic / University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa / 1992
Doctor of Philosophy in Cardiothoracic Surgery
FETCS / European Board of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgeons, The Netherlands / 2001
Fellow of the European Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons
Member of the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery from 2011.
Appointed to the Task Force to update the European Guidelines for the Management of Valvular Heart Disease (2010 – 2012) by the European Society of Cardiology & European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgeons
Member of the Editorial Board of the Cardiovascular Journal of Southern Africa
I have maintained my academic research interests, and have published 22 book chapters and more than 80 original manuscripts in professional journals on multiple aspects of heart surgery.
I am an editorial reviewer for the European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Interactive Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, European Heart Journal, Cardiovascular Journal of Southern Africa, and Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff & Vale University Health board.
Honorary Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Cardiff.
I live on a small holding with my wife and two children, who keep me very busy outside work. I enjoy the rural life and growing home produce.