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Dr. Sako’s clinical interests lie primarily in the field of adult cardiac surgery and lung transplantation. Within the realm of adult cardiac surgery, he is most passionate and experienced in mitral valve repair and has by association become known for his skill in all of mitral surgery as well as the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation. Other professional interests include surgical education both in theory and in practice and clinical outcomes research. The ability to be involved in these many aspects has been the major driver for an academic career.
Dr. Sako received his medical degree and general surgical training from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. He then completed a residency in Thoracic Surgery at the University of Michigan. Attracted by the then relatively new specialty of lung transplantation, he joined the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. The Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Health Science Center was a pioneer in the development of this specialty.
Most of his non-transplant clinical time was spent in adult cardiac surgery at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, which had an affiliation with the Division. He became Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and later, the Chief of the Surgery Section at the VA. In 2012, the VA affiliation with our department ended and Dr. Sako was named the Chief of the Division of Adult Cardiac Surgery within our department and at University Hospital. In 2018 he has stepped down from those roles and returned to be the Surgical Director of the Lung Transplant program.