LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A nationally and internationally recognized expert in complex congenital heart disease has joined the faculty of the University of Louisville School of Medicine Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. Frank A. Pigula, M.D., comes to Louisville from Boston where he was the clinical director of the pediatric cardiac surgery program at the Children’s Hospital of Boston, rated number one in cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. Pigula also was an associate professor of surgery at Harvard University School of Medicine.
Pigula will perform both clinical and laboratory research at UofL. He has ongoing clinical studies to document neurodevelopmental outcomes in neonates using a technique he developed in Boston to reduce circulatory arrest times in an effort to reduce bypass-related neurologic injury. He also is conducting laboratory research on protecting the brain from bypass‑related brain injury during surgery.
“We are extremely pleased to bring a world-class clinician and researcher such as Dr. Pigula to UofL. He will be a tremendous asset in training the next generation of physicians in cutting edge cardiovascular and thoracic surgery,” said Mark S. Slaughter, M.D., chair of UofL’s Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery.
Pigula also will practice with University of Louisville Physicians and will serve as chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Kosair Children’s Hospital. He is expected to begin seeing patients next month. He joins Erle Austin, III, M.D., who has been chief of cardiovascular surgery at the hospital for 26 years and will now focus on direct patient care. Pigula and Christopher Johnsrude, M.D., chief of cardiology, will serve as co-directors of the Kosair Children’s Hospital Heart Center.
“Kosair Children’s Hospital is dedicated to ensuring children needing complex care for heart issues do not need to leave Kentucky,” said Thomas D. Kmetz, Norton Healthcare division president, Women’s and Children’s Services and Kosair Children’s Hospital. “With Dr. Pigula’s leadership, we expect to see the care we can provide to children with heart issues continue to grow.”
Pigula earned his medical degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine and completed his residency in general surgery and surgery research fellowship at Medical Center Hospital, College of Vermont and UVM College of Medicine. He completed a residency in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and a fellowship in congenital cardiovascular surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Boston.
At the Children’s Hospital of Boston, Pigula served as the clinical director of the pediatric cardiac surgery program since 2004, the director of the neonatal surgical program since 2010, and surgical director of the pediatric cardiac neurodevelopmental program since 2007 before moving to Louisville. He is a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery Scholarship Committee and Education Committee.
Pigula is widely published and is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in complex congenital heart disease. He is on the editorial board of Pediatric Cardiology, Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and Case Reports in Medicine, and is an ad hoc reviewer of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Pediatrics, The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, Circulation and Journal of the American College of Cardiology.