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Professor Raimondo Ascione

Professor Raimondo Ascione

Professor Raimondo Ascione
MD(Naples), MSc, ChM (Bristol), FETCS, FRCS ad eundem

Professor of Cardiac Surgery and Translational Research and Director of TBRC

Area of research

Developing and testing new CV drugs and biomedical devices, clinical trials, regulatory experimental trials

Office Room 145
Level 7,
Bristol Royal Infirmary, Upper Maudlin Street BS2 8HW
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 34 23286


Professor Ascione is Chief Investigator of clinical trials and experimental work aimed at protecting adult high-risk patients from complications during cardiac surgery. Some examples include:

Cardiac Regeneration and Stem Cell: Professor Ascione is leading two ongoing world-first trials using autologous bone-marrow derived stem cells for myocardial repair in patients with acute or chronic MI undergoing either coronary or dilated left ventricular ischemic surgery (TransACT 1 &2 trials; >60% completed). His group had recently identified a novel methodological sequence to expand and transdifferentiate in vitro human cord blood derived CD133+ cells into cells with a cardiomyogenic phenotype. These cells are now undergoing functional assessment with a view to a first-in-man trial.

Cardio-pulmonary protection during cardiac surgery: He has led the validation and translational process of the novel technique of beating heart coronary surgery (OPCAB surgery) via a sequence of >10 randomised trials and >10 large cohort analyses. In addition, he has led research in the areas of myocardial protection in patients with valvular conditions leading to a disease specific cardioplegic arrest approach. An example of work ongoing in this area is the SCAT trial in 160 patients (almost completed) assessing the impact on clinical outcome of shortening cardioplegic arrest time with the beating heart approach in patients undergoing combined coronary and valvular surgery.

Pulmonary protection during cardiac surgery: Professor Ascione is Chief Investigator of clinical and experimental research testing novel interventions of lung protection. Examples include 1. the ongoing PROTECTION pilot trial in 60 patients (almost completed) testing low frequency ventilation during cardiopulmonary bypass and 2. the ongoing LUNG-PERFUSE experimental trial (60% completed) testing the efficacy of the novel intervention of retrograde pulmonary perfusion during cardiopulmonary bypass.

Diabetes Mellitus: He is leading clinical research in cardiac surgery on diabetes mellitus to minimise its impact of postoperative complications. He is Theme Lead of the related research area of the Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascuolar Disease awarded by the NIHR. Examples include 1. ascertaining the impact of deranged postoperative blood glucose levels on postoperative mortality and morbidity in a large observational study; 2. evaluating in a pilot trial (CONTROL-DM; starting) strict vs lenient blood glucose control on postoperative health outcome and inflammatory indices; and 3. the ongoing VERDICT trial in 180 patients (>60% completed) aimed at reducing the incidence of postoperative renal failure using preoperative fluid replacement therapy in diabetic patients undergoing coronary surgery.


Professor Ascione was born in the village of S. Maria la Bruna, near Pompei, Italy.  He graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 1993 at the University Hospital "Federico II", Naples, Italy. He completed his 5 year specialist surgical training in Cardiac Surgery in 1999. He moved to UK at the end of 1999 to stay. 

He is the Chair of Cardiac Surgery & Translational Research, Founder and Director of the Translational Biomedical Research Centre (TBRC) at the University of Bristol, and Consultant Adult Cardiac Surgeon at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK.

He has a long standing academic interest in translational cardiovascular research, clinical trials in adult cardiac surgery, global cardiovascular leadership, and more recently in the preclinical development/testing of new cardiovascular drugs and biomedical devices at NHS standards. The ultimate goal of his research is impact, patient benefit, and commercialisation.

He has been an active NHS Consultant Cardiac Surgeon since August 2002 (>4500 cardiothoracic procedures as Chief Surgeon; survival 98.9%) with national and international expertise in beating heart coronary artery bypass grafting, mitral valve repair, aortic valve replacement and redo cardiac surgery (

He was appointed Consultant Senior Lecturer in Cardiac in 2002, promoted to Reader in 2006, and to Professor in 2010. He has held senior leadership roles in both University and NHS Institutions and internationally. Examples include: 1. Chair of the BHI Research Board (2010-13 elected); 3.Clinical Director of BHI NHS Hospital (2013-15); 4. Founder and Director of the advanced TBRC preclinical research facility since 2013; 5.Member of the Nucleus of the Cardiovascular Working Group of the European Society of Cardiology (2010-15); 6.Member of the Academy of the European Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery since 2009; 7. Member of Foundation for Polish Science International Interdisciplinary Panel of Experts; 8.Member of the Novel and Emerging Technologies (NET) Grants Committee (Heart Research UK); 9. Member of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Associate Peer Review College.

He has been the recipient of the NHS Clinical Excellence Silver Award since 2013 (renewed for 2018-23),  Clinical Excellence Bronze Award for 2010-13, the Garfield Weston Trust Senior Lectureship in Cardiac Surgery (2003-08), the Fellowship ad eundeum by the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2004, the Master of Surgery with University of Bristol in 2002, the John Parker Gold Medal by the UK Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons in 2001, and I have been part of the Bristol team awarded the “Surgical Team of Year” Prize by UK Hospital Doctors in 2005.

Prof Ascione has grants and capital bid awards as PI or co-PI in excess of £49M, > 240 publications including 183 Google Scholar-censed publications in peer-reviewed Journals, 7 book chapters, 28 refereed Conference Contributions, 21 Reviews and Editorials, > 40 publications reports in the international media/internet. His publications have inspired others with > 6950 citations; H-Index: 44. He have trained >35 clinical and basic scientists globally.


2018: Renewal of Silver Clinical Excellence Award for 2018-23

2013: National Silver Clinical Excellence Award, NHS England

2010: National Bronze Clinical Excellence Award, NHS England

2005: “Surgical Team of Year prize”, by Hospital Doctors; for research on Beating Heart Coronary Surgery

2005: “Runner-Up Cardiovascular Team of Year”, Hospital Doctors

2004: Admitted as Fellow ad eundeum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England

2003-2008: Garfield Weston Trust, Senior Lecturer Fellowship in Cardiac Surgery

2001: John Parker Gold Medal, Society of Cardiothoracic Surgery of Great Britain and Ireland

2001: Runner Up, Young Research Workers Prize, British Cardiac Society


National/International Grant Committee/Editorial Board/Translational Biomedical Devices Membership

Since 2017: Member of the Novel and Emerging Technologies (NET) Grants Committee (Heart Research UK) (Invited)

Since 2017: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Associate Peer Review College (Invited)

2017: Advisory Board for Cardiac Surgery for Simon Kucher Skp (invited)

Since 2016: International Review College for the Italian Ministry of Health – MIUR (Invited)

Since 2016: Foundation for Polish Science Interdisciplinary Panel of Experts (Invited)

2016: Advisory Board in Cardiac Surgery for Novartis (Invited)

2012 to date: Adviser of NICE on aspects related to my clinical area of expertise (Invited)

Since 2009: Academy European Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

2010-14: Nucleus Cardiovascular Working Group of the European Society of Cardiology

2008-2014: Editorial Board Cochrane Heart Group;

2005-10: Editorial Board of Journal of Cardiac Surgery


International Media Interest (Newspaper and web based):

Prof Ascione has > 40 publications reports in the media or internet. A short selection includes:

10 April 2017 - Bristol scientists to help heart patients by transforming veins into arteries.

20th March 2017 - Researchers to develop ‘wearable’ robotic tools for surgery.

Sept 2016 - Turning Research into Reality. Heart Matters BHF Magazine.

21 Nov 2014 - New drug could protect the heart from damage following heart attack

Pre-clinical In-vivo Functional Imaging for Translational Regenerative Medicine.

Oct 2010 - Safety and advantages of beating heart coronary surgery -


Dec 2016 - Potential Uses of Cord Blood in Cardiac Failure. 2nd Dec 2016

July 2008 - Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes.

June 2007 - New grant from BHF funding a world first stem cell trial in cardiac surgery announced.



  • Stem cell for myocardial repair
  • Myocardial and pulmonary protection
  • Off pump coronary bypass surgery
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Mitral Valve Repair
  • Ischemic Heart Failure



Bristol Medical School (THS)

Other sites

Selected publications

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View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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