Dr. Christina M. Vassileva, MD

Dr. Christina M. Vassileva, MD

Cardiac Surgery | Female | 42 years old

Learn about this doctor

Care Philosophy

My training at Johns Hopkins for general surgery and Harvard for cardiac surgery has instilled in me a philosophy to treating cardiac surgery patients that emphasizes strict attention to detail in preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative care. When I see patients in preoperative consultation, I don't sugar coat the information because I believe that patients who have realistic expectations and are informed about what is going to happen after their surgery recover better and faster.Read more

Personal Bio

Dr. Vassileva was born and raised in Bulgaria and came to the US after high school at the age of...Read more

Dr. Vassileva's Experience

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Dr. Vassileva's Reviews

Likelihood of recommending Dr. Vassileva to family and friends
4.8
based on 5 total surveys (1 with a review)
Key Survey Insights
  • Trustworthiness
     (4)
  • Helpfulness
     (4)
  • Staff
     (4)
  • Scheduling
     (4)
Experience with Dr. Vassileva
  • Level of trust in provider's decisions
     (4)
  • How well provider explains medical condition(s)
     (4)
  • How well provider listens and answers questions
     (4)
  • Spends appropriate amount of time with patients
     (5)
Dr. Vassileva's Office & Staff
  • Ease of scheduling urgent appointments
     (4)
  • Office environment, cleanliness, comfort, etc.
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  • Staff friendliness and courteousness
     (4)
  • Total wait time (waiting & exam rooms)
    10 – 15 minutes (3)
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Dr. Vassileva Says:

My clinic runs late, takes a long time, but when my patients leave clinic, they understand the problem they have, the treatment options available to them, the risks and benefits of each option and how to determine the timing of their operation if needed.

in Merrimack, NH |
2 year anniversary of emergency open heart surgery. I owe her my life.
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Dr. Vassileva says...

Dr. Vassileva was born and raised in Bulgaria and came to the US after high school at the age of 19. She completed medical school and general surgery at Johns Hopkins and subsequently finished her training in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiac track at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in 2009. Throughout her training, she has received multiple awards that distinguish her scholastic achievement. At the end of medical school, she received the William Steward Halsted award for outstanding performance in surgery. At the end of general surgery, she received the John Cameron Technical Excellence Award. At the Brigham, she received the John Collins Cardiothoracic Scholar Award.

After completing her training in cardiothoracic surgery in 2009, she took a position at Southern Illinois University as an assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery. In recognition of her clinical and scholarly achievements as SIU, in 2014, she was promoted to associate professor with tenure. She is well versed in all aspects of cardiac surgery, but her special interest and expertise are heart valve disease and minimally invasive valve surgery, specifically valve repair, including mitral valve repair, tricuspid valve repair, aortic valve repair and valve sparing aortic root replacement. She has established a Center for Valvular Heart Disease at SIU and currently serves as its director.

On a national level, she holds a number of national committee appointments. These include member of the Access and Publications Committee for the Workforce on National Databases in the STS, member of the STS Quality Management Task Force, chair of the Mitral Repair Working Group for the Society for Heart Valve Disease, member of the Editorial Board for the Heart Surgery Forum, member of the Grants and Fellowships Committee of the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS). She also serves as a guest reviewer for premier cardiothoracic surgery journals and she is an active fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Dr. Vassileva has authored many publications in top cardiovascular journals, including Circulation, Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Journal for Heart Valve Disease and others. She has received multiple grants for her outcomes research in valvular heart disease, especially mitral valve surgery. She is also actively involved in teaching medical students and residents at SIU. In 2010, she was awarded the Clinician Scientist Award for the School of Medicine. In 2011, she received the Junior Faculty Researcher of the Year award for the school of medicine and in 2013, she received the Medical Innovator award for the Sangamon County Medical Society.

Dr. Vassileva's Care Philosophy

My training at Johns Hopkins for general surgery and Harvard for cardiac surgery has instilled in me a philosophy to treating cardiac surgery patients that emphasizes strict attention to detail in preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative care. When I see patients in preoperative consultation, I don't sugar coat the information because I believe that patients who have realistic expectations and are informed about what is going to happen after their surgery recover better and faster.

Dr. Vassileva says...

Dr Vassileva trained at the Brigham and Women's Hospital with one of the leading cardiac surgeons in mitral valve repair, Dr Lawrence Cohn. She is well versed in mitral repair involving anterior, posterior and bileaflet pathology, Barlow valve repair and mitral valve suregry involving heavily calcified mitral annulus. She treats high risk patients and performs reoperative surgery. Dr Vassileva will provide free review/second opinion of echocadiographic images for cases involving valve surgery, especially mitral valve repair if requested by the patient's cardiologist or cardiothoracic surgeon.

Dr. Vassileva says...

Mitral valve repair has become a quality indicator in mitral valve surgery. The new guidelines on the management of valvular heart disease now recommend that all patients with posterior leaflet prolapse at P2, which is the most common pathology, receive mitral repair over replacement if possible. The benefits of mitral repair include longer life, better heart function, lower risk of reoperation and lower risk of valve infection in the future, among others. I often see patients who are referred to surgery after there has been some permanent damage to their heart, which limits the benefits of the operation. My special expertise involves the ability to evaluate the patient for suitability of mitral repair, to determine the appropriate timing of the operation for each individual patient and to repair a wide variety of complex mitral pathologies, inclduing posterior, anterior and bileaflet prolapse, as well as Barlow valves which typically present in younger patients and involve a more complex mitral repair.

Dr. Vassileva says...

My clinic runs late, takes a long time, but when my patients leave clinic, they understand the problem they have, the treatment options available to them, the risks and benefits of each option and how to determine the timing of their operation if needed.

Dr. Vassileva's experience matches your search based on the following criteria:

  •  Based on total number of patients treated over the last 12 months
  •  Specializes in Cardiac Surgery
  •  Board certified in General Surgery, Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery and Thoracic Surgery
  •  No malpractice claims found
  •  No sanctions found
  •  No board actions found

Awards & Recognition

  • Awards & Honors
    • Healthgrades Honor Roll
    What is a recognized doctor
  • Media & Publications

    Dr. Vassileva has no media or publications listed.

Background Check

  • 0
    Malpractice Claims

    No malpractice history found for Illinois.

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  • 0
    Sanctions

    No sanctions history found for the years that Healthgrades collects data.

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  • 0
    Board Actions

    No board actions found for the years that Healthgrades collects data.

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Background Check

Why It Matters: Dr. Vassileva's Board Certifications

Board certification should be one of your top considerations when choosing a doctor. Board certification is an official recognition given to doctors who have met specific requirements set by national medical specialty boards in the... More

  • General Surgery
  • Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery
  • Thoracic Surgery

Conditions Treated

  • Adult Congenital Heart Disease
  • Aneurysm
  • Aneurysm and Dissection of Heart
  • Aneurysm of Sinus of Valsalva
  • Angina and Acute Coronary Syndrome
  • Aortic Aneurysm
  • Aortic Diseases
  • Aortic Dissection
  • Aortic Ectasia
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Aortic Valve Disease
  • Aortic Valve Regurgitation
  • Arrhythmias
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Atrial Flutter
  • Atrial Septal Defect
  • Bacterial Endocarditis
  • Benign Tumor
  • Cardiac Sources of Embolism
  • Cardiomegaly
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated, Idiopathic
  • Cardiomyopathy, Familial Dilated
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic
  • Congenital Aneurysms of the Great Vessels
  • Congenital Aortic Valve Disorders
  • Congenital Heart Defects
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Congenital Septal Defect
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Coronary Artery Aneurysm
  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
  • Dissecting Aneurysm
  • Endocarditis
  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Disease in Women
  • Heart Valve Diseases
  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Mitral Valve Regurgitation
  • Mitral Valve Stenosis
  • Pericardial Disease
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Pulmonary Valve Disease
  • Rheumatic Aortic Valve Disorders
  • Septal Defect
  • Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • Thrombosis
  • Vascular Disease
  • Ventricular Septal Defect

Education

  • Medical School
    Johns Hopkins University / School Of Medicine

    Graduated in 2002

  • Internship Hospital
    The Johns Hopkins Hospital

    Completed in 2003

  • Residency Hospital
    The Johns Hopkins Hospital

    Completed in 2007

  • Fellowship Hospital
    Brigham and Womens Hospital

    Completed in 2009

  • Undergraduate School
    Northeastern University

    Graduated in 1998

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • Bulgarian
  • French

Memberships &
Professional Affiliations

Dr. Vassileva does not have any memberships or affiliations listed. If you are Dr. Vassileva and would like to add memberships or affiliations, please update your free profile.

Specialties

  • Cardiac Surgery
  • Adult Cardiac Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Procedures Performed

  • Ablation for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation
  • Ablation for Treatment of Cardiac Arrhythmias
  • Aortic Aneurysm Repair
  • Aortic Repair, Open or Repair of Arterial Aneurysm, Open
  • Aortic Valve Repair
  • Aortic Valve Replacement
  • Aortic Valve Surgery
  • Aortic Valvuloplasty
  • Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Cardioverter-Defibrillator or Pacemaker Insertion, Removal or Repair
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery
  • Heart Defect Repair
  • Heart Surgery
  • Heart Valve Replacement
  • Impella Device
  • Insertion of Epicardial Lead for Pacemaker or Cardioverter and-or Defibrillator
  • Maze Procedure
  • Minimally Invasive Aneurysm Repair
  • Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery
  • Mitral Valve Repair
  • Mitral Valve Replacement
  • Mitral Valve Surgery
  • Multi-Arterial Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery
  • Pacemaker Implantation, Permanent
  • Pacemaker Implantation, Temporary
  • Pacemaker Insertion or Replacement
  • Percutaneous Balloon Valvuloplasty
  • Pulmonary Valve Surgery
  • Removal or Revision of Pacemaker or Cardioverter and-or Defibrillator
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
  • Tricuspid Valve Surgery
  • Valve Repair or Replacement (Aortic, Mitral, Tricuspid, and Pulmonary)
  • Valvuloplasty
  • Vascular Surgical Procedure

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