News Stories Recognition Women in Surgery

Kachroo Named Surgical Director of Center for Diseases of the Thoracic Aorta

Photo of Dr. Kachroo at the medical school

Puja Kachroo, MD, has been named surgical director of the Center for Diseases of the Thoracic Aorta (CDTA) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Kachroo is a cardiac surgeon with expertise in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of aortic dissection, thoracic aortic aneurysms and other forms of complex aortic pathology. Her other surgical specialties include minimally invasive cardiac procedures for valve replacement and coronary artery bypass grafting.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Kachroo as the surgical director of the Center,” says Ralph Damiano, Jr., MD, who is the Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery and chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. “She brings a unique set of surgical skills and an impressive breadth of knowledge to this position. She has developed a national reputation for her achievements in this area and is backed up by a world-class team of cardiologists, vascular surgeons, radiologists and intensivists who together provide a multidisciplinary approach to these patients that is unmatched by any other institution in our region.”

Kachroo completed general surgery residency training at Rutgers Medical School in Newark, New Jersey, and a research fellowship at UCLA. She then trained in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship program at Washington University before joining the faculty. Kachroo also earned a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Columbia University in New York.

The aorta is the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Thoracic aortic diseases are serious conditions that can be life-threatening. Diseases of the thoracic aorta are often related to hypertension, inflammatory conditions, familial history or genetic connective tissue disorders. Treating these diseases requires a high level of complex care.

The CDTA is part of the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart and Vascular Center, which is nationally ranked among the best hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. The collaborative, multidisciplinary team of cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons, cardiologists, interventional radiologists and other expert physicians at the CDTA is dedicated to performing specialized evaluation and treatment for patients with diseases of the thoracic aorta.

The CDTA offers assessment, surveillance and intervention for disorders including thoracic aortic aneurysms, acute and chronic aortic dissections, and Marfan syndrome. Additionally, the CDTA provides effective communication to keep primary care physicians completely informed of their patients’ progress.

Through clinical studies and innovative research, Kachroo aims to improve outcomes and introduce new treatments for patients with limited current therapeutic options. Washington University is one of the largest enrollers in the International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissections (IRAD), which evaluates the management and outcomes of acute aortic dissection. Kachroo is leading clinical studies of new transcatheter therapies for patients with valvular disease. She is also developing biomedical engineering research partnerships across the university to create future innovations in cardiac care.

Mentorship is another key area of focus for Kachroo. She provides training to surgical residents and fellows at the medical school, as well as mentorship opportunities for medical students and others interested in pursuing careers in medicine. Mentors, including Nicholas Kouchoukos, MD, the John M. Shoenberg Emeritus Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Marc Moon, MD, chief of cardiac surgery at the Texas Heart Institute, and Section Chief of Thoracic Surgery Bryan Meyers, MD, MPH, the Patrick and Joy Williamson Professor of Surgery, were key during Kachroo’s fellowship training. Now, in addition to providing world-class heart care at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Kachroo serves as a role model for people aspiring to join the medical field.