Expertscape is pleased to speak with Dr. Martin Czerny, an Expertscape World Expert in numerous cardiovascular medical and surgical topics, including the Thoracic Aorta. Dr. Czerny is APL Professor of Surgery at University Heart Center in Freiburg, Germany.

Expertscape: What do you consider to be the most significant advancement in the treatment of aortic disease, and what has that impact been?

Dr. Martin Czerny: Aortic medicine has transformed from a peripheral area to one of the most central and important areas of growth in the cardiovascular field. Disruptive advances have been made in understanding the natural history of various acute and chronic aortic pathologies in each and every segment of the “organ aorta,” as well as in diagnostics plus open and endovascular treatment approaches. Last but not least, the importance of a stringent follow-up outpatient clinic after treatment has been understood and implemented.

Expertscape: Can you make a prediction for us? What do you think will be the next big discovery in the study and treatment of aortic disease?

Dr. Czerny: We can expect to see more endovascular treatment of acute type A aortic dissection, what is known as the “Endo-Bentall” approach. The concept of an endovascular valve-carrying conduit holds the promise of significantly increasing the number of patients that would be suitable for endovascular therapy, and with that the possibility of this approach becoming common practice.

Expertscape: How did you get involved in the study of aortic disease?

Dr. Czerny: I’ve been actively involved in cardiac and vascular research from the beginning of my medical training at the University of Vienna. And 20 years later, I’m still finding plenty to work on.

Expertscape: Do you have any specific advice for those now entering healthcare, and particularly those interested in this area of research and care?

Dr. Czerny: In my experience, the best strategy is to become actively involved in a dedicated, rigorous program in your area of interest. This approach will pave the way to understand the challenges of today and the need for future development in a fascinating and rapidly developing area of medicine.

Expertscape: What are the most important questions to be asking physicians about this condition?

Dr. Czerny: There are several areas that demand attention. You certainly want to understand the extent of disease, as well as the specific location of the primary entry tear, in particular, in acute aortic dissection. Beyond that, focus should also be placed on the surgical treatment alternatives, and whether an endovascular or hybrid treatment approach will yield a better outcome.

Expertscape: What are you working on now, and what to you hope to discover?

Dr. Czerny: Currently, we’re endeavoring to better understand the natural course of the disease, as well as a blood test that can anticipate acute aortic events. Additionally, we are working on this new Endo-Bentall approach, which is the endovascular next step to the classical open Bentall operation.

Expertscape: Here’s a chance to talk about the University Heart Center. What would you like to tell us?

Dr. Czerny: That’s quite easy. I get the opportunity to work with an extensive team of talented, dedicated clinicians and researchers in such an important area of translational science, and do so with truly excellent research facilities.

Expertscape: Is there a particular organization that you’d like to talk about, one that is making a particularly important contribution to the advancement of your work?

Dr. Czerny: Any patient-centric initiative, like that of the Marfan Foundation, is an important partner in distributing knowledge and making patients aware of new options. The contributions of organizations like this cannot be understated.

Expertscape: What makes your work in aortic disease so rewarding?

Dr. Czerny: Medicine, and cardiovascular surgery/cardiology in particular, continues to provide me with the ability to advance the field and to deliver effective treatment to a broad cohort of patients, create legitimate promise and hope in desperate scenarios, and concomitantly meet the expectations of many.

Expertscape: Thank you for your time, Dr. Czerny. This is of great interest … and particularly to me personally.

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