Von Oppell Ulrich

GMC: 3223817


Special Interests: Adult Cardiac Surgery, Thoracic Surgery

I qualified as a medical doctor and then as a Cardiothoracic surgeon in Johannesburg, South Africa. Subsequently I was appointed to the Chris Barnard Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery, at the University of Cape Town and Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Groote Schuur and Red Cross Children’s War Memorial Hospital from 1993 to 2001.

In 1999 I took a sabbatical and worked at the University of Leipzig, Germany, to gain further experience in:
• Minimally invasive valve surgery, specifically the Mitral valve.
• Off-pump multi-vessel coronary artery bypass graft surgery
• Left atrial radio-frequency ablation procedure for Atrial fibrillation.
• Clinical Robotic surgical procedures – Intuitive & Aesop systems

In 2001, I relocated to the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom.

My research and special clinical interests include protecting the heart muscle during open heart surgery, protecting the spinal cord during aortic surgery, curative surgery for abnormal heart rhythms including atrial fibrillation, mitral and tricuspid heart valve repair surgery, aortic root , ascending, descending and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm surgery as well as minimally invasive approaches to cardiac surgery.

I have more than 150 publications in journals and books on various topics related to cardiothoracic surgery, delivered numerous scientific presentations at professional congresses and am a reviewer for and on the editorial board of a number of leading international cardiothoracic surgical journals.

I was nominated and appointed both by the European Society of Cardiology and European Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons to be a member of the Task Force to update the European Guidelines for the Management of Valvular Heart Disease in 2010; published in 2012. In 2014 I was nominated and appointed as an independent expert to advise the European Commission on Grant applications for the Horizon 2020 Project – Personalising Health & Care.

Training Attended

Johannesburg, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa

Qualifications & Accreditations

PhD - University of Cape Town. South Africa; 1992.

FETCS – European Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons. The Netherlands; 2001.

FCS (SA) - Cardiothoracic Surgery, College of Medicine, South Africa; 1986.

Dip Av Med (Diploma in Aviation Medicine), SA Institute of Aviation Medicine; 1979.

MB BCh (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery), University of Witwatersrand, South Africa; 1977.

Risk-adjusted in-hospital survival rate

This graph shows the “in hospital” survival rate of patients who are operated on by the individual surgeon/unit you have selected. “In hospital” means time the patient is in the hospital where they have had their operation. It does not include any time that patients may have spent in other hospitals, either before or after their heart operation.

The data has been through a complex methodology, including the variations in patient risk factors in order to give you a comparative base from which to work from. This means that the survival rates take into account the type and risk of patients being operated on for each surgeon/unit. This is known as risk adjusted survival.

The vertical axis shows the GMC number of the surgeon or the Hospital identifier. In brackets is the total number of patients operated on by the surgeon/unit and the percentage of patients for whom the survival is known. The horizontal axis is the percentage survival. The dashed vertical line shows the risk adjusted survival rate for the UK as a whole. The solid black horizontal line represents the surgeon/unit. What is important here is that the horizontal line crosses the vertical dashed line. If this occurs, it means that the surgeon/unit are within the expected outcomes given the case-mix and risk factors of the patients they operate on.

The icons that sit on the horizontal line should give you more information about your surgeon/team.

For example

The open square is the survival rate with no risk adjustments:
The X is the predicted survival with adjustments
The solid dot is the survival probability after the methodology has been applied.

  • If the solid dot is red it means survival is worse than expected
  • If the solid dot is black it means that it is within limits
  • If the solid dot is green it means that there is significantly higher survival than expected

There is a lot of information on these plots, but the takeaway message is that if the solid black line crosses the dashed vertical line then the survival rate for the surgeon/unit is within expectations and that there is no reason for any concern.

A more detailed explanation about these graphs and methodology can be found here: Graph Explanations