UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute Recruits Renowned Cardiac Surgeon from Canada

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Dr. Rakesh Arora to lead cardiac intensive care units and cardiac surgery research

University Hospitals (UH) Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute has a rich history of providing the highest level of care for patients. Continuing as leaders in this field and elevating cardiac surgery patient care to a new level, UH announces the addition of Rakesh Arora, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS, a world leader in perioperative care and management of cardiac surgery patients. Dr. Arora serves as Director of UH Harrington HVI Perioperative and Cardiac Critical Care and as Research Director in the Division of Cardiac Surgery.
“A physician of Dr. Arora’s prominence can choose to work anywhere in the world. With our exceptional team at UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, we can make groundbreaking changes in the field of cardiovascular medicine,” said Mehdi Shishehbor, DO, MPH, PhD, President of UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, and Angela and James Hambrick Chair in Innovation. “University Hospitals’ mission is to heal, to teach, and to discover. Dr. Arora will use his decades of expertise to teach us how to better heal our patients and provide them with optimal outcomes after surgery. His research will help UH discover the future of perioperative care which will make surgery and recovery a better experience for countless patients.”
Perioperative care is the practice of patient-centered, interdisciplinary, and integrated medical care of patients before, during, and after surgery until full recovery. Dr. Arora has participated in groundbreaking research through dozens of significant studies and society guidelines which identified how to improve patient outcomes after cardiac surgery. He has a passion for enhancing the recovery of all surgery patients, but specifically vulnerable, older adults with cardiovascular disease.
“The average cardiac surgery patient is getting older and sicker and that can lead to less optimal outcomes,” said Dr. Arora. “Research shows that what you do before and after surgery can be just as important as the critical steps you take in the operating room. We’ve learned that ‘pre-habilitation’ – applying rehab principals like exercise and improved nutrition - before surgery helps patients fare better following surgery.”
Dr. Arora pioneered the Canadian Cardiovascular Critical Care (CANCARE) Society in 2009, which aims to improve the care of critically ill cardiovascular patients using interdisciplinary expertise in a cooperative model. 
UH hosts the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program, which has yielded notable results, including creating shorter hospital stays, less use of opioids, fewer post-surgical infections and lower costs for patients. ERAS is in use at all hospitals across the UH system. Dr. Arora’s knowledge in this area will help further develop and improve ERAS principals for cardiac patients.
“We are incredibly fortunate to hire someone of Dr. Arora’s status and quality. He is a tremendous addition to our program,” said Marc Pelletier, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at UH Cleveland Medical Center and UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute. “He is widely considered to be one of the leading physicians in perioperative cardiac surgical care in the world, and his various leadership and research accomplishments support this statement. We feel he will help take our cardiac surgery program to the highest level of quality and help drive the best outcomes for our patients.”
Dr. Arora comes to UH from Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Cardiac Sciences Program, where he spent seven years as Medical Director of Intensive Care Cardiac Sciences and five years as Section Head and Regional Lead for Cardiac Surgery. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario. His Medical Doctorate comes from the University of Toronto. He did his cardiac surgery residency at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and also received a PhD there in the field of neurocardiology. He is board certified through the National Board of Echocardiography.
In addition to his numerous academic accomplishments, Dr. Arora is a devoted father and husband and brought his family with him from Canada for this “adventure” in Cleveland. 
“It was a big decision, but I knew it was the right one when I met the team at UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute,” said Dr. Arora. “Patients who are elderly and living with disease deserve to have successful surgery and recovery and go on to live healthy lives. Here at UH, we have the opportunity to implement revolutionary changes for our cardiac patients who are older and sicker than ever before. The opportunity to work with leaders in the field here at UH will serve to ensure our teams provide the best possible care for cardiac patients and aligns perfectly with how we will move this field forward.”

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