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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

Cardiac Regeneration and Stem Cell, Cardio-pulmonary protection in adult high-risk patients undergoing cardiac surgery, Diabetes Mellitus

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 was appointed as Senior Registrar in Cardiothoracic surgery with the University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust in January 2000 and hon. Lecturer in Cardiac Surgery with the University of Bristol. He was awarded a Master of Surgery (ChM) by the University of Bristol in 2002 for his pieneering work on beating heart coronary surgery, an FRCS ad Eundeum by the Royal College of Surgeon England in 2004. He was appointed as Consultant Senior Lecturer in Cardiac Surgery by the University of Bristol in 2002 and hon Consultant Adult Cardiac Surgeon with the local NHS Trust. He was awarded a Senior Lecturership in Cardiac Surgery by the Garfield Weston Trust from 2003-2008 for research in the field of beating heart coronary surgery, a research line that he led becoming an international authority delivering a wave of 10 RCTs and several large database registry evaluation confirming the safety and efficacy of the novel surgical technique. This research work was acknowledged by the UK Society of Cardiothoracic Surgery awarding him the John Parker Gold Medal in 2002, by UK Hospital Doctor awarding the Bristol team the "Surgical Team of Year" prize in 2005, and by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in 2014 awarding 4* to the Impact Case based on this research line. He was promoted to Reader in Cardiac Surgery in 2006 and to Professor of Cardiac Surgery & Translational Research in 2009 by the University of Bristol.

He was elected Chairman of the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI; now Bristol Cardiovascular) Research Steering Committee in 2010 and served in this senior role until May 20013 managing the process leading to the first Research Strategy for the theme in 2012. 

He was awarded funding from the BHF in 2007 to undertake a world-first phase II double blind randomised trial using autologous bone marrow derived cells for myocardial repair in patienst with acute MI undergoing coronary surgery (TRANSACT 1 trial). This trial completed recruitmemt early in 2014 and the data are now being analysed. He is Theme Lead of the Bristol NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Medicine for 2008-12 and for 2012-17. Under this NIHR funding he has ben leading five more randomised trials including: TRANSACT 2 trial, a phase 1 trial with bone marrow cells in patienst undergoing heart failure surgery, SCAT phase II trial testing a novel surgical technique in patienst undergoing combined coronary and valvular surgeru, VERDICT phase II trial testing preoperative volume replacement therapy in diabetic patients undergoing coronary surgery, and PROTECTION 1 phase II trial testing low frequency ventilation during cardiac surgery as an intervention to reduce postoperative pulmonary complications. All thse trials have completed recruiting between 2012 and 2014 with the results being analysed by the local registered Clinical Trial Evaluation Unit.

In July 2013 he was appointed as the NHS Clinical Director of the BHI Hospital, serving in this role until August 2015 chairing the montlhy BHI Executive Board implementing several "Transformation Projects" impacting on patient pathways, research structure, and on staff and service capacity. Since 2013 he has been leading the strategic initiative of establishing a pre-clinical Translational Biomedical Research Centre (TBRC) as a national research facility aligned to NHS, Home Office and GLPMA standards aimed at bridging the gap between the UK outstanding basic science research and the NHS to boost the translation of fundamental discoveries and emerging biomedical technoligies to the bed side. He has been awarded in excess of £6.3M in capital funding toward the TBRC, which was open in spring 2016. He was appointed as the Academic Director of the TBRC in January 2015.

Professor Raimondo Ascione Short CV - September 2016

Professor Raimondo Ascione Impact Case Study REF2014 - ‘beating heart’ off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery

Higher Education

  • 1993 - Medical Degree in Medicine and Surgery, University Hospital Federico II, Naples
  • 1994 - State exam to practice the profession of "Medico Chirurgo" (distinction) - FRCS equivalent, Naples
  • 1999 - Exam to specialist practice of Cardiac Surgery (distinction), FRCS CTh equivalent, Naples
  • 2002 - Master of Surgery - ChM, University of Bristol
  • 2003 - Fellow European Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery - FETCS
  • 2004 - FRCS ad eundeum, Royal College of Surgeons England

Professional Experiences

  • 1991-1999 - Specialist Registrar in Cardiac Surgery, University Hospital "Federic II", Naples
  • 1997-1998 - Seconded Specialist Registrar/Research Fellow in Cardiothoracic surgery, Bristol Heart Institute
  • 2000-2001 - Clinical Research Fellow/Senior Registrar in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Bristol Heart Institute
  • 2001-2002: Clinical Lecturer/Senior Registrar in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Bristol Heart Institute
  • 2002-2006 - Consultant Senior Lecturer in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Bristol Heart Institute
  • 2006-2009 - Reader/Honorary Consultant in Cardiac Surgery, Bristol Heart Institute
  • 2009-pres  - Professor of Cardiac Surgery & Translational Research/Honorary Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, Bristol Heart Institute

Awards, Honours & Distinctions

  • 2001 - John Parker Gold Medal, Society of Cardiothoracic Surgery of Great Britain and Ireland
  • 2001 - Runner Up of the Young Research Workers Prize, British Cardiac Society
  • 2003-2008 - Awarded a 5 year Garfield Weston Trust Senior Lecturer Fellowship in Cardiac Surgery
  • 2004 - Admitted as Fellow ad eundeum to the Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • 2005 - Member of the Bristol Team winning the "surgical Team of Year First prize", Hospital Doctors
  • 2005 - Member of the Bristol Team winning the "runner-up Cardiovascular Team of Year", Hospital Doctors

Editorial Boards

  • 2005-2011 - Journal of Cardiac Surgery
  • 2008-2012 - Cochrane Heart Group

International working groups:

  • Member of the Academy of the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS) since 2008
  • Elected member of the Nucleus of the Cardiovascular Working Group of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) (2010-14)
  • Invited Faculty regularly as chairperseon/speaker and grader for the annaul meeting of the EACTS and ESC since 2006.
  • Member of the American Association of Thoracic Surgery since 2009
  • Referee for national and international Granting Agencies
  • Reviewer of Project or Programme Grants for the NIHR (since 2008), British Heart Foundation and Heart UK (since 2007), Danish Heart Foundation (since 2007), and University of Padova, Italy (since 2006), Italian Ministry of Research and University (since 2012).
  • Referee for Scientific Journals - Circulation, Journal of Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery, Journal of Americian College of Cardiology, Cochrane Heart Group, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, European Journal of Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery, Journal of Cardiac Surgery, Italian Journal of Cardiology, Medical Journal Australia, National Clinical Practice in Cardiovascular Medicine

Senior Managerial activity

  • July 2013-Aug 15: NHS: Clinical Director BHI Hospital
  • Jan 2015 to date: University: Academic Director pre-clinical Translational Biomedical Research Centre
  • May 2014-Jun 2015: NHS: Cardiac Surgery Lead
  • May 2010-March 2013: University: Chairman Bristol Heart Institute Research Steering Committee (elected)
  • Nov 2009-to date: Academy of European Association of CardioThoracic Surgery
  • June 2010-May 2014: Nucleus of Cardiovascular Working Group of the European Society of Cardiology
  • May 2010: NHS: National ST3 and ACF national selection panel
  • April 2010-September 2011: NHS: Regional Clinical Lead Western CLRN in Cardiovascular Surgery
  • June 2010-May 2012: University: Member of Faculty Research Committee
  • July 2006-Aug 2009:University: non-professorial member Senate
  • June 2003;May 2010: NHS: R&D Lead for Cardiac Services
  • July 2006-Aug 2009: NHS: Audit Conveneor for Cardiac Services 



  • 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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