Hello! My name is Dr. Luis Castro and I am a cardiac surgeon having graduated from Stanford School of Medicine in 1984. To date, I have performed approximately 5,000 cardiac surgeries, of which 3,000 involved heart valve procedures. I regularly perform surgery at Sequoia Hospital Heart and Vascular Institute. Read more...
I believe my greatest strength is the team of wonderfully talented people that partner with me at Sequoia Hospital to produce “best results” that are nationally and internationally recognized in cardiac surgery. This level of achievement comes from tremendous experience by all members alike. World-class outcomes can only result from concentrating efforts at a single center to achieve the highest level of team excellence.
"If I was to need valve surgery again, there would be no doubt I would only want Dr. Castro leaving his fingerprints on my heart."
-- Shelly Gould, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/14/2011
"Dr. Castro is open, friendly, clear, thorough, warm, professional, and confidence-inspiring. He also was recommended as the best heart surgeon in the Bay Area by two other cardiologists who have no other relationship with him. The team Dr. Castro has assembled is also excellent, including Dr. Harmon, the anesthesiologist, and the Physician's Assistant. I felt the explanations before the surgery and the multiple visits after surgery (in the hospital) were helpful and caring. Given that I required an aortic heart valve replacement, I am very pleased with the pre- and post-treatment I received from Dr. Castro and his team."
-- John Wallace, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/30/2014
I went to see 4 heart surgeons and 3 Cardiologists and after careful review I selected Dr. Castro and Sequoia hospital. The surgery was extremely successful and after 1 day in ICU I was up and walking. Dr. Castro and the staff at Sequoia hospital are extremely professional and very caring. Everyone from the people working to clean, shave, feed and nurse me back to health were extremely attentive and I continue to receive follow up calls at home.
I would highly recommend Dr. Castro and Sequoia hospital for anyone that may need heart valve surgery. He is not only a fantastic surgeon but a very caring person as are his staff at Sequoia hospital."
-- Pat Sarceda, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/14/2014
He performed this miracle through a 4 1/4 inch incision at the sternum that has resulted in an almost pain-free recovery since leaving the hospital. I haven't taken anything for pain since the third day after discharge.
I have been home for 3 weeks and take several walks every day: the longest is 2.8 miles which takes 48 minutes and the shortest is 20 minutes. (This is a little longer than recommended in the material sent home with me.) The only pain I am having occurs when I cough or sneeze. Thank goodness for the chest pillow and the chest harness given to me!
Dr. Castro's bedside manner and that of the team of care providers who work with him was the most caring and responsive you can imagine. He emphasized to me that the quality and compassion of care after surgery are as important as the surgery itself in giving the patient the best experience possible. It was evident with each and every person who nursed me toward recovery that his commitment to excellence was a culture that everyone involved with cardiac care buys into at Sequoia Hospital!
It felt like I was his only patient in a private hospital catering just to me! He stopped by every day before and after surgery: even on the day that he was called in to deal with an emergency early in the day and didn't finish with the surgery until late in the day. He stopped by to see how I was doing at 11:30 p.m. before leaving for home that night. In addition to that, he made it possible for me to get in touch with him if I had any questions before or after surgery.
While there are no guarantees regarding the outcome of heart procedures, I can guarantee that the likelihood of a great outcome is the highest if Dr. Castro and Dr. Harmon are your surgeons. They did an amazing job of making the surgery and subsequent recovery an almost painless experience. Everything went exactly as Dr. Castro said it would and I am among the 99 plus % who are delighted to be here to share my experience!"
-- Mike Ramsey, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 10/14/2014
-- Ronald Sommer, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Maze Procedure, 09/30/2014
I was very scared of surgery which was unfortunately unavoidable. As a result, I did a lot of searching, reading and even watching the surgery on YouTube. I spoke to several doctors and surgeons as well.
The key is to find who the best surgeons for this type of surgery is, and Dr. Castro is there in the top 5-10 in the world - or at least among ones I could find or have access too. The hospital where he and his team operate, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, specializes in heart surgery and is rated in top 10 or 15. (Stanford is not even in this group).
To me Dr. Castro is the best surgeon in the world! How do I justify that?
(a) He is very fast. The amount of time you spend on heart/lung machine, while your heart is stopped is very important. (the more time you spent – the more likely you will get out brain damaged). For most surgeons the time your heart is not beating is close to 1hr or more. Dr. Castro did mine in 29 minutes (his average is 30min). I heard the fastest he did is 17 minutes.
(b) Second important point is the team. Dr. Castro has been 15 years at Sequoia and he and his team can read each other’s mind. To be that fast, one needs a good team, and Dr. Castro has that. He is very much liked by his team, his nurses and hospital staff. They love him and this is very important too.
(c) Dr. Castro’s mortality rate in the last 3 years is ZERO. He would not undertake any new procedure unless it has zero mortality rate. He cares about that. Thus, you can be sure that he does not want to ruin his record, so you will be fine. However, the week I was released he operated on 89 year old lady changing both valve: aortic and mitral. This is confidence!
(d) He is very calm and (I heard never loses his temper under pressure). This is very important if things go wrong.
(e) He is not overworked or over-committed, by his choice. He operates Tuesdays and Thursdays, so he is fresh and rested for your surgery. The rest of the days he is seeing patients in the hospital and he and his team were at my bedside every day I was there.
(f) His two anesthesiologists (Dr. Bradly and Dr. Paris) are the two angels. They were extremely important to me as I was not going to go into this surgery, neither willingly (nor alive). They will talk to you, calm you down and suddenly – you wake up - and it is all over!
(g) The care after surgery works very well in Sequoia. I slept most of the time and every time I woke up, I felt stronger. The nurses would take good care of you and I would recommend that you do not have visitors – they may tire you (that may apply even to your wife or husband). You do not need them as you will be totally taken care off by the excellent staff of nurses.
(h) The incision Dr. Castro made is quite small – about 4” and the scar is not very visible. To me this is unimportant, but if you are a lady and care for it – he does a great job with that too.
Finally, Dr. Castro is very approachable, down to earth and very charming. Once you meet him, your heart will tell you: “stop, do not look any further – I want this guy!” He will call you back personally, answer your email and I suspect, if you ask him to give you a ride home from the hospital – he will do it. But please do not! Many people need him critically, so be respectful of his time.
My recovery was fantastic. I heard from Dr. Castro that some people went to meetings 3 weeks after the surgery. The normal recovery time is 6 weeks.
I went to work in 1 week! (not that I did much, but I made the point) However the day after I worked 3 hrs, second week part time, third week overtime and in the fourth week I even picked up another consulting job. (my work is desk / computer job, so not very hard). However, I hope I did beat every record in recovery time!
It has been 5 weeks since my surgery and I feel very strong, walking without getting tired and I have energy like never before. "
-- Vojin G Oklobdzija, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 09/17/2014
We chose to fly in from out of state, based on (a) the world-class morbidity and mortality statistics of this program, (b) the mini-sternotomy option, and (c) the remarkably open and welcoming approach of Dr. Castro and his staff.
Early on Dr. Castro readily accepted our request for a FaceTime interview, answered all of our questions and welcomed follow up contact. His office arranged the angiogram for the day prior to surgery, and arranged housing for us in the Sequoia House. He has remained accessible weeks after the surgery.
As expected (from the level of excellence reflected in the statistics) the entire program was on top of its game. Cardiology, Anesthesia, Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Physical Therapy all delivered top level service.
We were not surprised when immediately after surgery Consumers Reports listed this program as one of only 15 in the country to achieve CR's highest ranking."
-- Ronald Bliss, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 07/02/2014
He and his team visited at least once a day while I was in the hospital. Although we are from out of town, he has continued to follow up with me and has offered to consult with my local cardiologist. The nursing staff was also excellent. The facility was a bit dated, but a brand new hospital is set to open very soon, so that will no longer be true. I am three weeks post surgery and doing very well. "
-- Barbara Hoth, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 07/02/2014
He is truly an amazing surgeon and I was most fortunate to have been under the care of Dr. Castro and his surgical team! Dr. Castro, in addition to being a skilled surgeon, is professional, kind, and a truly genuine person. He was very thorough with my care as well as my follow-up care and always listened to all of my concerns.
My experiences with Sequoia Hospital's Cardiac Surveillance Unit, doctors, and nurses, were exceptional. I felt genuinely cared for by the staff. I cannot say enough positive comments about my experience with Dr. Castro, his surgical team and Sequoia Hospital. I would not hesitate to recommend Dr. Castro, his surgical team, and Sequoia Hospital to my family and/or friends."
-- Patricia K., Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 06/14/2014
The surgery itself was very successful, thanks to Dr. Castro's approach and to the team that he assembled, and my recovery has been smooth, rapid, and free of complications since my surgery a month and a half ago. Dr. Castro continues to be available for any follow up questions and concerns that I may have, which is a further extension of his caring, patient-centered approach to consultations and treatment.
After conducting extensive research into treatment and caregiver options prior to surgery, I am certain that I made the right choice in selecting Dr. Castro to perform this critical valve repair operation."
-- Paul K., Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 06/03/2014
-- David Baga, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 05/20/2014
-- Daniel SWISHER, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 05/08/2014
-- Jim Ciamarro, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, 08/13/2013
I'm riding my dirt bike, jogging and riding my mountain with no issues whatsoever. I feel 20 again. Thanks Dr. Castro. "
-- charles weems, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 07/11/2013
-- kent dorwin, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 05/15/2013
-- mickey king, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 03/22/2013
-- Brian Newkirk, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 03/01/2013
-- Linda Gaudet, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 11/28/2012
-- Aaron Blum, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 07/19/2012
-- Dr. Joseph Busey, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 07/18/2012
-- Betty Vieira, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 06/25/2012
-- Joanne Layne, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Maze Procedure, 06/14/2012
-- Constance Codding, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 06/09/2012
-- Tracy Collins, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 05/15/2012
-- Gary Norris, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/26/2012
-- Jan Tepper, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/19/2012
-- Gladys Francis, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 03/14/2012
-- DiMitri Hage, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 02/28/2012
-- Kenneth Campbell, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, 02/23/2012
-- Christopher Watkins, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 02/23/2012
-- Marilyn Bolei, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 02/09/2012
-- Dorayne Likely, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 01/24/2012
-- Dean Forbes, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 01/09/2012
-- Shelly Gould, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/14/2011
-- Alfred Kildow, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 09/29/2011
-- Patrick C., Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/01/2010
-- Ken Klug, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 08/23/2010
-- Brian R, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 03/10/2010
-- Jo Ann Bunton, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 10/16/2009
-- Vallangiman Srinivasan, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 10/09/2009
-- Martin Harband, Aortic Valve, Median Sternotomy, 05/11/2009
-- Eddie Williams, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 11/08/2008
Specific to heart valve surgery, you should know that I have several specialties including:
In addition, I have research and clinical interests specific to:
Dr. Luis Castro, heart surgeon, graduated from Stanford School of Medicine in 1984.
I am the medical director of cardiac surgery at Sequoia Hospital Heart and Vascular Institute. I practice with Dignity Health Medical Group – Sequoia Cardiovascular Surgery.