News Stories Recognition

Itoh Transitions, Kotkar and Masood Lead ECMO Program

Photo of Akinobu Itoh

Assistant Professor of Surgery Akinobu Itoh, MD, PhD, will depart from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis this December to join the faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School as Director of Heart Transplant and Mechanical and Circulatory Support.

“Since his arrival in 2012, Dr. Itoh has been a truly valuable member of our division and he will be missed, and we wish him well in his new endeavor,” says Division Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery Ralph Damiano, Jr., MD, the Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery.

Itoh has played an important role in developing the heart failure and transplant programs at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. As Surgical Director of the Heart Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device Program at the medical school, Itoh contributed to the clinical growth in the areas of heart transplantation, left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

“The Heart Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device Program at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital has been built on the relentless and persistent effort of a dedicated team,” says Itoh. “I look forward to seeing this program continue to grow and provide life-saving treatment to patients in the years to come.”

The Heart Transplantation, VAD and ECMO Program will continue to be supported by Faraz Masood, MD, and Kunal Kotkar, MD, who have provided a combined ten-years of clinical excellence and support for the program. The Heart Transplant Program is part of the nationally ranked cardiology & heart surgery program by U.S. News & World Report.

Amit Pawale, MD, will join the Department of Surgery in January 2022 as the new Surgical Director of Heart Transplant, VAD and ECMO. Pawale has served as Associate Professor of Surgery and Associate Director of Heart Transplantation and Director of the Acute Mechanical Support Program at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL.

“After a national search, we have recruited an excellent heart failure surgeon as our new director of heart transplantation,” says Damiano. “With our superb team of surgeons, we will continue to provide expeditious, compassionate and skilled care for patients with heart and lung failure.”