The Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, German Heart Institute Berlin








Figure 1. Professor Roland Hetzer (Head of the Center)

The Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin (DHZB, German Heart Institute Berlin) is a specialist center for heart treatment with a worldwide reputation for excellence. Under the chairmanship of the heart surgeon Professor Roland Hetzer the institution quickly achieved international importance as a center for the treatment of cardiac, thoracic and vascular diseases. The DHZB is also one of the largest organ transplantation centers in Germany, highly specialized in heart and lung transplantation. In addition, it has the most comprehensive program worldwide for the implantation of “artificial hearts” (mechanical circulatory support systems). The DHZB is constantly expanding and updating its surgical program and introducing innovative strategies such as regenerative stem cell transplantation following myocardial infarction, and hybrid surgery. Thus it is able to keep pace with new developments in cardiovascular surgery and to maintain its leading position in cardiovascular surgery. The DHZB is committed to scientific research and development in cooperation with other heart institutes in Germany and abroad. For some years, one branch of experimental research at the DHZB has been the fascinating area of the artificial production of complex tissues, known as tissue engineering. A particular focus of research of the DHZB laboratory is the identification of a source of suitable cells. A further focus of our research laboratory is the development of cell culture systems and “bioreactors” in which the heart valve construct is conditioned by mechanical means. Research into the individual functional significance of these components and the efficiency of the surgical steps mentioned above are the subject of a large research project at the DHZB. One important aim is to characterize patients who will benefit from organ-preserving operations and those who are candidates for the implantation of long-term artificial pumping systems. Another aspect of the research is comprehensive evaluation of cardiac samples, obtained during endomyocardial biopsy. The DHZB is a specialist centre in this procedure, which is facilitated by imaging with computed tomography. Professor Hetzer and his team have a strong record of publications in high-impacted journal including NEJM, Lancet, Circulation, JACC, European Heart Journal, European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery,  and many others. Our institution and DHZB have a long track of collaboration over the years. Numerous scientists visited DHZB where they trained and performed research. With the view of the REGPOT project we are planning to refine our skills in the procedure of endomyocardial biopsy with the help of imaging modalities, particularly magnetic resonance and CT.

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