Prof. Dr. J.D. Schmitto is currently Professor of Cardiac Surgery at the Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, Transplantation and Vascular Surgery (Director Prof. Dr. Dr. A. Haverich) at Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.
He is the Director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) Program, the Surgical Head of the Interdisciplinary Heart Failure Unit, as well as the Director of the newly implemented Innovation-Division “Active Device Technologies” at Hannover Medical School. Prior to his appointment in Hannover, he worked at the Brigham and Women´s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, where he did a Fellowship under the direction of Prof. Lawrence Cohn, who is famous worldwide for pioneering minimally-invasive valve surgery.
Under the direction of the Director of the Clinic, Prof. A. Haverich, Prof. Schmitto has helped Hannover become one of the “premiere” and most innovative advanced heart failure programs worldwide performing annually up to 100 implantations of durable mechanical devices. Together with his former mentor, Dr. M. Strüber, Dr. Schmitto is known to be the inventor and establisher of the minimally-invasive VAD-implantation technique (so called “Hannover-VAD-technique”, Schmitto et al. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Feb;143(2):511-3.).
Within the past years Prof. Schmitto and his team have performed many pioneering milestone operations, including the worldwide first implantation of the Heartmate 3 as an LVAD (Schmitto et al. J Heart Lung Transplant. 2015 Jun;34(6):858-60). Just to give more examples of his pioneering operations: Dr. Schmitto has performed the worldwide first implantation of the aVAD (both: through fully sternotomy as well as minimally-invasively), he performed the worldwide first cardiac transplantation after Heartmate 3, the worldwide first VAD-“upgrade” from Heartmate II to Heartmate 3, the worldwide first VAD-“exchange” from HVAD to Heartmate 3, as well as from Heartmate 3 to Heartmate 3.
Furthermore, the worldwide first use of the Heartmate 3 as an right ventricular assist device (RVAD) in isolated, singular right heart failure as well as the implantation of two Heartmate 3 as a Total Artificial Heart were being perfomed by Dr. Schmitto and his team at Hannover Medical School.
Prof. Schmitto has also guided several other colleagues to perform pioneering milestone operations. In 2013 he assisted Dr. Vera in Vina del Mar, Chile to perform South Americas´ first minimally-invasive VAD-implantation, as he did a similar contribution together with his colleague and friend Dr. Tarazi in 2017, when they both performed the first successful minimally-invasive VAD implantation in the Middle East, at Kuwait City.
Prof. Schmitto has been a member of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) for many years and he has demonstrated valuable and constant contribution to the organization. In 2015, he was part of the Program Committee, he participated actively for several years in the advanced MCS Academy and participates actively year by year as a reviewer within the abstract committee of the ISHLT. Prof. Schmitto is also a member of a number of other professional organizations including the European Association for Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS), the Germany Society of Cardiac Surgery, the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO) among others.
Prof. Schmitto is widely known to be an academic surgeon with immense interest in science and experimental research. As the Director of the Translational and Clinical VAD- and Active-Cardiac-Technology-Research-Program at Hannover Medical School, he build up an outstanding research infrastructure covering nearly all possibilities to perform in-vitro-, ex-vivo-, as well as acute and chronic animal experiments.
Prof. Schmitto has also played an active role and has been the lead investigator on several national as well as international trials including the CE mark trials for Heartmate 3, the TRACE study, and the MVAD trial.
Finally, as an international Editor, he is part of the editorial board of the AATS Journal “Operative Techniques in Cardiothoracic Surgery” as well as an Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Thoracic Diseases (JTD).
Prof. Schmittos bibliography contains over 170 peer-reviewed original papers and articles of which he is first author of >50, and senior author in >35. In 2016-2017 alone, he published over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Dr. Schmitto has written >10 book chapters, many editorials/commentaries (two of those where even published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)). After his election for Fellowship of the Royal College and Physicians in Glasgow, Scotland (FRCS, Glasg.), he was elected to become a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians (FCCP) as well elected as a Fellow of the prestigious American College of Surgeons (FACS) in 2017.