Cardiovascular research

Cardiac surgery, innovation and research



Michele De Bonis


The Unit of Cardiac Surgery, Innovation and Research is set up as an engine of innovation and clinical and translational research in the field of cardiac surgery through the study, introduction and clinical application of cutting-edge therapies for the treatment of heart disease.


The Unit works very closely with the Alfieri Heart Foundation, whose support is essential in order to provide resources, projects and an extraordinary team of trial coordinators, data managers, bioengineers and biostatistics. The integration of this research facility within a high volume Cardiac Surgery Department offers a unique opportunity to put the clinical research at the service of the patient, making it an irreplaceable tool for constantly improving the treatment options which are offered.

Research activity

The main areas of clinical and research activity are:

Mitral and tricuspid repairs:

  • Since ever the main topics of our research, they have contributed in a decisive way to the recognition of our Institute as an international center of excellence also for the minimally invasive and trans-catheter approaches.
  • Over 550 mitral and tricuspid repair operations are performed annually. The results obtained also with conventional as well as original technical solutions introduced by our team  center continue to be periodically published in the main international journals.

Surgical treatment of heart failure:

  • The different surgical and percutaneous options for the treatment of heart failure represent a rapidly expanding area of ​​our clinical research conducted by dedicated multidisciplinary teams (VAD/ ECMO-Team, Arrhythmia-Team, Valve-Team).
  • Areas of excellence:

- surgical and trans-catheter therapy of functional mitral and tricuspid insufficiency in the context of idiopathic or ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy;

- cardiogenic shock and terminal heart failure treated by all types of circulatory support systems (ECMO, VAD, TAH).

Percutaneous treatment of valvulopathies:

  • Participation in national and international multicenter studies on percutaneous technologies for aortic valve replacement (TAVI), mitral valve replacement (TMVR with Tiara, Tendyne) and tricuspid valve replacement (Navigate) and for mitral repair (Mitraclip, Cardioband, Neochord, Harpoon) and tricuspid ( Tricinch, MitraClip, Trialign, Forma, Cardioband).

Surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation and arrhythmias:

  • The clinical and research program is aimed at treating all forms of atrial fibrillation (paroxysmal, persistent and permanent, isolated or in association with structural heart disease). Recently, innovative minimally invasive and thoracoscopic techniques have been developed to treat even in the most refractory forms.
  • Methods of electrophysiological validation of the devices used for surgical ablation have being studied together with the alterations of the atrial wall in patients with atrial fibrillation (at the cellular, molecular and metabolic level).


  • Participation in national and international registers (European Register on Endocarditis – EuroEndo; VAD registers- ITAMACS, EUROMACS; multiple registers of trans-catheter therapies)
  • Cardiovascular Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa (center where Prof. Barnard performed the first cardiac transplant)
  • Cardiac Surgery Department of Derriford Hospital, Plymouth NHS Trust, Plymouth, United Kingdom
  • European Society of Cardiac Surgery (EACTS Academy and Task Force on mitral and tricuspid surgery)
  • Mitral and Tricuspid Research Network of the Heart Valve Society
  • Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia of the American Heart Association
  • Working Group for Cardiovascular Surgery of the European Society of Cardiology
  • Politecnico di Milano