Aortic Aneurysms, Aortic Dissections, Aortic Root Replacement, Aortic Surgery, Aortic Valve Repair, Aortic Valve Sparing Root Replacement, Atrial Fibrillation, Cardiac Surgery, Cardiopulmonary Transplant, Coronary Bypass Surgery, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Mitral Valve Repair, Valvular Heart Surgery, Ventricular Assist Device
Kenton J. Zehr received his M.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1989 where he was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Dr. Zehr completed a long-tract 9 year combined General Surgery/Cardiothoracic surgery residency and fellowship in at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland in 1998. During his residency, he spent 2 years in the Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratories under Dr. William A. Baumgartner. He also did a 6 month fellowship at Harefield Hospital in London, UK as a specialist registrar for Sir Magdi H. Yacoub with emphasis on Thoracic Organ Transplantation and Aortic Root Surgery. He spent 8 years as a consultant Cardiovascular Surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN academically advancing to Associate Professor of Surgery at the Mayo Medical School. At Mayo he concentrated on clinical surgery with specific interests in aortic surgery, mitral and aortic valve repair, and mechanical replacement of the failing heart. He then spent 2 years as the Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Associate Director of the Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Professor of Surgery prior to taking the position of Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Director of the Center for Aortic Disease at Scott and White Clinic and Professor of Surgery at Texas A & M University, Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine from 2009 to 2013. At Scott & White Clinic, he spearheaded several de novo programs, The Center for Aortic Disease, The Thoracic Organ Transplant Program [heart and lung transplantation], The Ventricular Assist Device Program [temporary and long-term support], The Adult Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Program [ECMO], and the TAVR program. He returned to the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions as Associate Professor of Surgery in 2014.
His career contributions to the surgical literature include more than 110 peer-reviewed articles and he has given more than 100 invited lectures at national and international symposia. He has been a peer reviewer for Circulation, the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, American Journal of Cardiology, European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, and the Journal of Heart Valve Disease. He served 5 years on the editorial board of the scientific journal Chest. Dr. Zehr is an active member of professional societies including the American Association of Thoracic Surgery, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Society for Heart Valve Disease. Dr. Zehr has had a long-standing interest in international education. He spent several years as the Director of the Advanced Cardiac Surgery Fellowship for international fellows at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. He has conducted operative workshops in Russia, India, and Iran. He has been a contributor in the development and growth of the Perm Heart Institute, Perm, Russia and was named Honorary Professor. The program has grown from 50 cases to over 3000 open-heart procedures per year in its first decade. He took a year from his USA practice to operate in Perm full-time in 2008 and served as director of education.
His research interests include evaluation of the inflammatory response in relation to biomechanical insults (extracorporeal circulation). He has studied compliment, neutrophil, and platelet activation in response to cardiopulmonary bypass and cardiac transplantation. He also studied the neurological injury associated with hypothermic circulatory arrest and ways that the injury may be attenuated. He has participated in multiple clinical trials including post-market approval and randomized cardiac valve studies. He has an interest in device development as it relates to cardiac surgery and has played a role in the development of a baffle to be placed in the aortic arch to prevent stroke during cardiopulmonary bypass, a percutaneous method to do a mitral valve annuloplasty, and a transapical method to replace damaged chordae on the mitral valve. He had served as an advisor to several mechanical assist device companies and continues research and clinical activity into mechanical assist of the failing heart and lungs.