Heart surgery is among the most demanding fields of medicine. A medical student requires a considerable education and a long residency before he or she can practice in the field. Education Portal and the “U.S. News & World Report” list the most reputable American schools for cardiology and internal medicine based on assessments by doctors, grants awarded, research activity, student grades, acceptance rate and student selectivity.

East Coast

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has three cardiology divisions: adult surgery, general thoracic surgery and congenital heart surgery as well as multiple sub-specialties. The university hospital is the site of heart transplant surgery as well as robotic, beating heart and minimally invasive heart surgeries. Harvard University Medical School doctors are leading researchers in the field. In 2013, doctors there discovered a new molecular pathway responsible for causing heart failure and showed that a prototype drug blocks this pathway to protect the heart from damage. Other top cardiology schools include Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland; Columbia University in New York City and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

West Coast

Stanford University School of Medicine’s department of cardiothoracic surgery is divided into three divisions. Doctors in the division of adult surgery have performed more than 30,000 operations. The pediatric surgery division is among the largest in the country and is recognized especially for correcting heart defects in children. The thoracic surgery department aids patients with heart problems combined with lung cancer, emphysema, esophageal cancer and mediastinal diseases. The University of Washington calls its doctors among the most experienced in the Northwest for implanting defibrillators, ventricular assist devices, and transcatheter aortic valves. The University of California at San Francisco also has a top program, according to “U.S. News & World Report.”


The University of Michigan’s cardiac surgery department has adult and pediatric divisions. In 2012, University of Michigan doctors performed 939 surgeries at the university hospital, 888 pediatric surgeries in the university children's hospital, and 167 in the Veterans Administration Medical Center. The cardiac mortality rate over the last five years is 3.27 percent, so its surgeons have an excellent track record and much to share with prospective cardiologists. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is at the forefront of cardiac research. Doctors at this school determined in 2013 that smoke from burning wood and waste crops can lead to cardiovascular problems as well as lung disease.


The Duke University School of Medicine’s cardiology and heart surgery division is among the largest in the country. The Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Disease, the world's oldest and largest compilation of information on the outcomes of heart patients, has shaped the practice worldwide. University doctors are involved with clinical trials to fight coronary artery disease, valve disease and heart failure. The University of Texas’ cardiovascular division lies in Houston’s Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world. The division offers 13 varieties of medical machines and tests to analyze heart and vascular problems. The University of Alabama-Birmingham was also tabbed as a top school for prospective heart surgeons.

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