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Format: 04/23/2014
Format: 04/23/2014


Noted Forbes Regional Hospital Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Ronald V. Pellegrini, Receives AHA Peter J. Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh Award

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

The American Heart Association, Allegheny Division has named Ronald V. Pellegrini, MD, a distinguished cardiothoracic surgeon from the West Penn Allegheny Health System Cardiovascular Institute at Forbes Hospital, recipient of the 2013 Peter J. Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh Award. The award will be presented at the 2013 Pittsburgh Heart Ball on Saturday, February 23, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Over a span of 40 years as one of western Pennsylvania’s most respected cardiac surgeons, Dr. Pellegrini has put his imprint on the advancement of cardiac surgery at most of Pittsburgh’s major health institutions, first at Mercy Hospital – as Chief of Surgery and its Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, then at the University of Pittsburgh – as Director of Adult Acquired Heart Disease, Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery and Director of Adult Cardiac Surgery, and finally now at West Penn Allegheny’s Forbes.

Recognized locally and nationally for his outstanding surgical skills and innovation, Dr. Pellegrini is equally celebrated as an exceptional teacher who has helped train a generation of surgical residents and cardiovascular surgical fellows.

From the earliest days of his medical career in Pittsburgh, Dr. Pellegrini has helped raise the bar for cardiac surgery in the region. In 1974, he led the team implanting the first commercial intra-aortic balloon pump – expanding the availability of what was then a pioneering heart assist technology. He also established and served as medical director of Duquesne University’s Perfusion Program, which at the time was one of the few such training programs in the country.

Dr. Pellegrini is perhaps best known for his contribution to the advancement of mitral valve surgery in Pittsburgh. Recognizing a growing volume of patients in the region with mitral valve disease, he
traveled to France to learn the latest techniques in mitral valve repair from the renowned cardiac surgeon Alain Carpentier, MD, Ph.D. - considered the “father of modern mitral valve repair.” Dr. Pellegrini brought his new expertise in mitral valve repair home to western Pennsylvania, offering patients a pioneering new approach to their problem and ultimately training other local surgeons in the technique.

As the founder of Three Rivers Cardiac Institute, Dr. Pellegrini is also credited with expanding the availability of cardiac surgery services in growing communities around Pittsburgh, creating half a dozen high quality cardiac surgical programs at hospitals throughout Western Pennsylvania. Among those programs he established include those at Washington Hospital, Passavant Hospital, Butler Hospital and St. Clair Hospital.

Academically, Dr. Pellegrini has also made important contributions to his field. He has published nearly 50 papers in peer-reviewed literature, including some of medicine’s most prestigious journals, and has presented lectures and research at over 100 regional and national professional meetings. In 2008, in recognition of his accomplishments, Dr. Pellegrini received an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from his alma mater, Washington and Jefferson College. During his 11 years as Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at Pitt, he won the Cardiothoracic Surgery Faculty of the Year Award three times.

For additional information about the Pittsburgh Heart Ball visit www.heart.org/PittsburghPAHeartBall

Past Peter J. Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh honorees, include:

2003 Allegheny General Hospital's George Magovern Sr., M.D. received the inaugural award
2004 Eva Safar accepted the award on behalf of her late husband and “The Father of CPR,” Peter J. Safar.
2005 James Zuberbuhler, MD,
2006 Claude R. Joyner, M.D., Allegheny General Hospital 
2007 James A. Shaver, M.D.
2008 William P. Follansbee, MD.
2009 James A. Magovern (posthumously) , Allegheny General Hospital
2010 P.S. Reddy, M.D.
2011 Don L. Fisher, M.D., Allegheny General Hospital
2012 Lee Beerman, M.D.


About the American Heart Association’s Pulse of Pittsburgh Award
The American Heart Association, Allegheny Division board of directors and the Heart Ball committee created the Pulse of Pittsburgh Award in 2003 to recognize an individual’s leadership in the fight against heart disease and stroke. In 2004, the committee changed the name to the Peter J. Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh Award in honor of the late Peter J. Safar, M.D., distinguished professor of resuscitation medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, who also was known as the Father of CPR.

For more information, contact:
West Penn Allegheny Health System
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