Prashanth Vallabhajosyula, MD, MS, is surgical director of the Aortic Institute, which is part of the Yale New Haven Health Heart & Vascular Center. He is a cardiothoracic surgeon who performs the entire spectrum of heart surgeries, including coronary artery bypass grafting, valve surgery, and heart transplantation. His primary focus is endovascular and open surgeries of the aorta, and hybrid surgeries that combine the two.
Dr. Vallabhajosyula is skilled in complex procedures, such as thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR), a minimally invasive procedure that uses a stent graft to reinforce an aneurysm and prevent it from bursting. He also introduced pulmonary thromboendarterectomy to Yale. The latter is a highly specializedsurgical procedure that removes chronic blood clots from the arteries in the lung.
As director of the Aortic Institute, Dr. Vallabhajosyula says a large part of his work is coordinating and integrating a variety of services. “A multidisciplinary approach is important, because what we can offer patients for a particular aortic disease is rapidly evolving,” Dr. Vallabhajosyula says, explaining this that can change how different specialists can contribute to a case. “People draw arbitrary lines around what vascular surgery will do, what cardiology will do, and what a heart surgeon will do, but patients don't always understand that or come in that way. Our goal is to integrate all the services and provide a single place for patients to come if they have an aortic problem.”
Dr. Vallabhajosyula says one thing that led him to medicine was a lifelong love of science. “When I was in sixth grade, growing up in India, my mother took me to a medical university for a show they had where kids from elementary school could see human bones,” he says. “There was an anatomy lab going on, and I snuck into it and saw some cadavers. I wasn’t scared at all. I was fascinated by the human body and with seeing all these parts, and truly understanding that there is such an organic basis to everything that we do. I was hooked from the very beginning.”
He also enjoyed any experience that involved helping people, which led to his decision to be a surgeon. “Patient care is a phenomenal thing,” he says. While patients and their families are grateful for what he can do for them, he also gets a lot back, he adds. “I really try to understand patients for who they are and where they are coming from. If you approach patient care that way, you come to realize that we're all pretty similar. I think that’s made me a better person,” he says.