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Professor Ulrich Von Oppell

Professor Ulrich Von Oppell

Consultant Cardiac Surgeon
MB BCh, FCS, FETCS, PhD

"I enjoy working at Spire Cardiff Hospital because the staff are supportive and committed to each individual patient."

Practising at

Spire Cardiff Hospital

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Treatment information

Some of the principal treatments carried out by Professor Ulrich Von Oppell at Spire include:

Cardiac surgery

Other treatments

Valve repair surgery, surgery for atrial fibrillation, thoracic aortic aneurysm surgery

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Professional profile

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 being 3.9 out of 4 for polite, respectful, listened to, and answering their questions.


Clinical Interests

Cardiothoracic surgery
Cardiac surgery

Mitral, aortic and tricuspid heart valve repair & replacement surgery, coronary artery bypass graft surgery – arterial revascularisation, thoracic aortic aneurysm surgery, surgery for atrial fibrillation

Private contact details

Telephone 029 2073 6011
Private secretary Cath
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Qualification and professional memberships

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


Professional memberships

European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Society of Cardiothoracic Surgery of Great Britain & Ireland
Society of Thoracic Surgery – United States of America
Welsh Cardiovascular Society


Professional leadership

Member of the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery from 2011.

Member of the Editorial Board of the Cardiovascular Journal of Southern Africa

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Current NHS posts

Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff & Vale University Health board.

Honorary Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Cardiff.

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Personal Profile

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.

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