Research at the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery

Thomas Decker Christensen

Clinical Professor and Chair, DMSc, PhD




From basic experimental to clinical research

We conduct research of high-quality - from large randomized controlled trials to experimental research on animal models.









Scientific Journals

Most frequent journals which have published scientific papers authored by researchers from our department in the last 20 years.









Latest editorials and commentaries

  • Boris, J. R. (2021). Heart rate variability in congenital heart disease: looking and learning. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeryhttps://doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezab269
    Comment on:
    Alstrup, M., Karunanithi, Z., Maagaard, M. Ø., Poulsen, S. H. & Hjortdal, V. E. (2021). Sympathovagal imbalance decades after atrial septal defect repair: a long-term follow-up study. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeryhttps://doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezab235
  • Hernandez, R., Lehr, E. J. (2021). Mortality following deep sternal wound infection - not just a short-term complication? European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeryhttps://doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezab156
    Comment on:
    Kaspersen, A. E., Nielsen, S. J., Orrason, A. W., Petursdottir, A., Sigurdsson, M. I., Jeppsson, A. & Gudbjartsson, T. (2021). Short- and long-term mortality after deep sternal wound infection following cardiac surgery: experiences from SWEDEHEART.  European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeryhttps://doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezab080




Research Focus Areas


Clinical Research

Our clinical research activities are an integral part of our department at Aarhus University Hospital. We conduct a variety of research activities that ranges from small prospective studies to large multicenter randomized controlled trials. Furthermore, we have a proud tradition to evaluate clinical outcomes after surgical interventions by means of high-quality registry studies.

Our clinical research is divided into our four subdivisions: (1) division of cardiac surgery, (2) division of thoracic surgery, (2) division of vascular surgery, and (3) division of anaesthesiology and intensive care.



Clinical Research in Cardiac Surgery

Clinical research within the cardiac surgery domain ranges from small prospective clinical studies to large multicenter randomized controlled trials. Furthermore, we have a proud tradition to evaluate the clinical outcome after cardiac interventions by means of high-quality registry studies.

Our main focus has been research and development of less invasive cardiac surgery such as off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting through J-hemisternotomy (JOPCAB), transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), hybrid myocardial revascularization, minimal-invasive extracorporeal circulation, and prevention of coagulopathy and thrombotic complications after cardiac surgery.

Our mission is to translate the results of our research into refined perioperative management and surgical treatment. We aim to improve quality outcomes with special focus on quality of life of our patients during recovery.

Our research is conducted by physicians, nurses, and medical students in close cooperation with the Departments of Cardiology, Biochemistry, Radiology, Physiotherapy, and numerous other partners at Aarhus University Hospital. Cooperation is further enhanced by the Central Denmark Region Cardiovascular Network. We work closely with the Departments of Biomedicine and Public Health at Aarhus University, and we have established firm collaboration with numerous Scandinavian Heart Centers.

Ivy Susanne Modrau

Clinical Associate Professor

Ivy Susanne Modrau, MD dr.med. (German) is a Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, and Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University. Her main research focus has been the field of less-invasive cardiac surgery.

Since 2021, her work is supported by an independent research grant from the Health Research Foundation of Central Denmark Region. Her research plan “Improving Recovery after Open-Heart Surgery” aims to meet the evolving needs of patients to recover quickly after open heart surgery. The involved research projects focus on 1) Prevention and treatment of anemia after cardiac surgery, 2) Reduction of pain after cardiac surgery, and 3) Clinical outcome after less-invasive coronary bypass surgery compared to percutaneous coronary intervention. Ivy Modrau acts as principal investigator at Aarhus University Hospital for several multicenter randomized controlled trials in cardiac surgery.


Clinical Research in Thoracic Surgery

Our clinical research activities within the thoracic surgery domain...

Thomas Decker Christensen

Clinical Professor and Chair, DMSc, PhD

Thomas Decker Christensen, MD PhD DMSc is a Consultant in thoracic surgery at the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, and the Clinical Professor and Chair of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University. His dominating research activity is currently within clinical interventional and epidemiological studies in thoracic surgery and thrombosis & haemostasis with a special focus on randomized, controlled trials incorporating thrombosis & haemostasis and cancer.

Previously, he has conducted and published both clinical and experimental studies within adult and congenital cardiac surgery. Over the years, his research profile has taken a turn towards general thoracic surgery and in particular clinical research.



Clinical Research in Vascular Surgery

Our clinical research activities within the vascular surgery domain...

Jacob Budtz-Lilly

Clinical Associate Professor

Jacob Budtz-Lilly, MD PhD FEBVS is a Consultant in vascular surgery at the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, and a Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University. His main interest of research is complex aortic disease and the evolving roles of endovascular therapy and imaging technology.

As secretary of VASCUNET, an international collaboration of national vascular surgery registries, he is involved with multi- and international projects with particular focus on outcomes in vascular surgery. As President-elect of the Danish Society of Vascular Surgery, his goal is to increase the clinical and research collaborative efforts of the Nordic vascular surgery societies.


Clinical Research in Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care

Our clinical research activities within anaesthesiology and intensive care...

Peter Juhl-Olsen

Clinical Associate Professor

Peter Juhl-Olsen, MD PhD is a Consultant in anaesthesiology and intensive care at the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, and a Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University.



Experimental Research

Our experimental research activities cover both clinical and animal experimental projects as well as technical laboratory studies. The predominant experimental activities are within cardiac research, but we have ongoing projects within the thoracic, vascular, and anesthesiology disciplines as well. We conceive our research projects from a clinical need and aims to solve or alleviate clinical challenges. Accordingly, our research profile is within applied research and less basic science.

We utilize research technology with tissue biomechanics, imaging technology (e.g. ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans). Over many years, we have adopted a strong research collaboration profile with medical device companies in terms of scientific assessment of commercial products. We have also invented medical devices and exploited research results into commercial products through spin-out companies.

Most of our projects are instrumented through employment and affiliation of young researchers, who undergo research education in parallel with undertaking their research projects, including PhD students and Research Year Students.

J. Michael Hasenkam, MD DMSc is a Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University. His dominating research activity is within experimental cardiac research.

Initially, he was trained as a cardiac surgeon and went into full time research in 1993. He has supervised more than 100 young researchers and published more than 250 peer reviewed scientific articles. In terms of corporation with the industry, the research portfolio of Prof. Hasenkam includes more than 10 start-up companies. He is appointed Business Engagement Partner at the Faculty of Health at Aarhus University.



Translational Research

Physiology is the field of biology that aims to understand the basis of cell function at the ionic and molecular level to the integrated function of the whole body. Physiology helps us to understand body health and how it responds and adapts to challenges and additionally elucidates dysfunctions in disease, facilitating the discoveries of new promising interventions and guidelines for maintaining human health. The emphasis on integrating molecular, cellular, systems, and whole-body function is what distinguishes physiology.

Our research team promotes multidisciplinary collaboration in the cross field of basic research and clinical research to continuously learn more about the plethora of bodily functions of skeletal muscle and its impact on health and disease. Through comprehensive exploration using state of the art equipment, we investigate the multiple processes involved in skeletal muscle metabolism, accretion and locomotion and seek to uncover the physiological response of skeletal muscle in various pathological conditions.

Frank Vincenzo de Paoli, MD PhD is a Senior Registrar in thoracic surgery at the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, and Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University. The center point of his research is the science of life, physiology.



Research in Nursing Care and Practice