Adventist Health Portland | Living Well | Fall 2023

Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular’s robotic surgery pioneer, cardiac surgery team leader and avid pilot offers an inside glimpse into his work, his team and his passion for helping patients. 8 LIVING WELL Heart health With Thomas Molloy, MD Heart-to-Heart Q You’re known as a pioneer of robotic-assisted heart surgery, especially for valves. How did this become your passion? A: People don’t like open-chest surgery. Splitting the sternum is painful, and the recovery is long. In the late 1990s, I started performing valve and coronary bypass surgery using smaller incisions to approach the heart between rib interspaces. This required long-shafted instruments and a 2D camera. “Heart port” technology developed by Dr. Stevens at Stanford University in the 1990s was also necessary to allow circulatory support and protection of the heart during cardiac procedures without dividing the sternum, or breastbone. In 2007, I added robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery for cardiac bypass, as well as mitral and