Greek-American Heart Surgeon Inducted into Athens Academy

Greek-American Cardiologist John Elefteriades

Dr. John Elefteriades, one of the leading heart surgeons in the United States, was recently inducted into the Athens Academy. Membership in this august body, which draws its inspiration from Plato’s Academy, represents the highest academic honor bestowed by Greece for accomplishment in any scholarly discipline.

Eleftheriades is director of the Aortic Institute at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He is recognized for his research showing that the procedure known as coronary artery bypass (CABG) can be safely applied to patients with heart failure.

This knowledge has helped lead to CABG’s widespread and safe use for these patients, where until the mid-1980s it was avoided because it was seen as entailing extremely high risks. The procedure now not only saves many lives, just as importantly it improves the quality of life of the patients who have undergone it.

The Greek-American doctor has also shown that a condition known as thoracic aortic aneurysm has a hereditary basis, and he developed a complication-specific technique for aortic dissection (a surgical separation of the layers of the aorta) which is now used worldwide.

The cardiologist also made the surprising discovery that high-intensity sports activity in young athletes can cause aortic dissection.

Dr. Elefteriades, a 1972 graduate of Yale College, received his MD degree from Yale School of Medicine in 1976.