Dr. Vaughn Starnes
Dr. Vaughn Starnes
1520 San Pablo St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033
About Dr. Vaughn Starnes,
Heart Valve Surgeon
Hello! My name is Dr. Vaughn Starnes and I am a cardiac surgeon having graduated from North Carolina (Chapel Hill) in 1977. To date, I have performed approximately 12,000 cardiac surgeries, of which 4,000 involved heart valve procedures. I regularly perform surgery at hospitals including USC Cardiac and Vascular Institute and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Read more...
I believe my greatest strength is twenty-five years experience operating on both children and adults. I feel fortunate to be gifted with the ability to carry-out extremely complex operations with relative ease. I also have a strong research and teaching interest and commitment to furthering USC's cardiac surgery discipline - specifically in areas of minimally invasive valve surgery, aortic valve surgery and congenital heart disease.
109 Patient Reviews for
"Thanks goes to Dr. Starnes for a successful mitral valve repair surgery at the right time!"
-- Debby Tomlinson, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 09/13/2011
"Dr. Starnes was very thorough and proactive leading up to my decision for surgery. He did amazing job repairing my mitral valve and he visited me a couple times in the hospital to see how I was doing. I was very calm and confident going into the surgery knowing I was in the care of an amazing surgeon. I highly recommend Dr. Starnes and his team for surgery."
-- Jeff Maljian, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 01/17/2023
"I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DR. VAUGHN STARNES!
Dr. Vaughn Starnes' approach to my surgery as well as follow-up with my wife, myself and family was outstanding. His personality was comforting and unassuming. All I can say... It was a blessing that I was referred to Dr. Starnes by Dr Clavijo, my local cardiologist.
I knew it was time for surgery based on how I was feeling, Dr. Clavijo's review and testing.
Thank you Dr. Starnes for your "skills knowledge and experience" including your dedication to the medical profession. Your Keck USC Cardiovascular Medical Center provides outstanding medical care as well as a wonderful learning environment towards building the next Generation of Cardiovascular Doctors and necessary support team members."
-- Doug Morris, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Mini-Thoracotomy / Port Access, Maze Procedure, 11/23/2022
"Dr. Starnes saved my life. The entire team at Keck - nurses and physician assistants - are outstanding.
I am 64 years old. I could not breathe. I could not walk more than 50 feet. I was not going to live much longer. Dr Starnes, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, and his team saved my life. I lost 50 pounds prior to the procedure. I suffered from swelling on my lungs and was not going to live to my 65th birthday.
Today, 27 days after surgery, I'm driving, off of all opiates, walking slowly and gaining weight. I feel fantastic.
THANKS TO DR. STARNES & HIS TEAM AT KECK!!!"
-- Steven Gold, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 11/16/2022
"Dr. Starnes and his entire team are an amazing group of professionals that execute world class results while delivering a first rate overall patient experience. Very grateful to have been in his great care!"
-- Justin Steers, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 09/13/2022
"I was born with an atrial septal defect and a cleft mitral valve. I had two open heart surgeries at 14 & 16 at a hospital in Minneapolis, MN to repair these defects.
Almost 20 years later, and now living in CA, my cardiologist informed me after my latest stress echo that my mitral valve was severely regurgitating at rest and with exercise. She indicated that the annuloplasty ring that was used to repair my mitral valve 20 years ago would now need to be removed and my valve would likely need to be replaced.
Since this was going to be my 3rd open heart surgery and I wanted it done transfusion free I knew I would need to find a very skilled cardiac surgeon at a high volume hospital.
I was so grateful to have found USC Keck and specifically Dr. Starnes. He has a lot of experience with reoperations and specifically transfusion-free reoperations. He truly is the maestro!
When my husband and I first met with Dr. Starnes he was such a calming influence and he took the time to listen to my concerns and answer our questions. My cardiologist had said a mechanical valve would be my only option as a replacement because of my age (35yo) but Dr. Starnes gave me the pros and cons of both options (tissue or mechanical) and ultimately he let me decide. Since a mechanical valve would require a life of heavy blood thinners he expressed concern over my quality of life since I am an active person who enjoys mountain biking.
This really made me feel like I was in good hands and had the right surgeon. I also have to give a hearty thanks to Bob Sachs (Dr. Starnes PA) who helped answer so many of my questions and concerns leading up to my surgery. I can’t thank Dr. Starnes, Bob Sachs, the surgery team, and USC Keck enough!
I’m now only a few days from my 3 month post-op date and feeling even better than I anticipated! "
-- Ashley Nunez, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Bloodless Surgery, 09/13/2022
"In my initial meeting with Dr. Starnes, he had reviewed my previous procedure results (TEE and Angiogram). He looked me straight in the eye and corroborated the results of my cardiologists and asked me how I felt and what I wanted out of surgery.
He stated that he could address all of my issues with a minimally-invasive procedure that could correct all of my issues and my recovery could be much shorter than a sternotomy. He did say that I would be in significant discomfort for the first 2-3 weeks.
I have nothing but positive feedback for Dr. Starnes knowledge, experience and honesty with me. His staff, including his long-time physician assistant, Bob Sachs, was invaluable in communication, coordination and follow up. I also have to state that the USC nursing, P.T., P.A.s were all excellent and helped me get through an 8-day stay at the hospital."
-- Stephen Carr, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini-Thoracotomy / Port Access, Maze Procedure, 08/23/2022
"Dr. Starnes was the utmost professional. He told me everything I needed to know about my heart procedure and answered all my questions. From the consult to post-op, Dr. Starnes and his team were by my side and my family, very supportive, having positive attitudes and encouraging. Dr. Starnes really put me at ease during this difficult time in my life, his bedside manner was outstanding.
I am two weeks post-op and already feeling better because of Dr. Starnes. A special nod as well to Dr. Starnes PA, Robert Sachs, another individual with the utmost professional demeanor and caring heart. Thanks again to Dr. Starnes and his team for all they do!"
-- Jonathan Leonard, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 08/19/2022
"Replace pulmonary valve 12 years after Ross Procedure. Dr. Starnes and team exceeded every metric of my expectations. Given that this was my second open heart surgery, I knew exactly what to expect yet my recovery was significantly better than the my first surgery. They simply have improved how they managed my post operative pain, etc."
-- Michael Glasman, Pulmonary Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/17/2022
"Dr. Starnes is a wonderful surgeon. We feel so privileged to have had him perform surgery on Micah's heart twice. As a new mom, I was so scared to have my 7-month old baby boy have open-heart surgery that I went to see Dr. Arno Hohn, director of the heart center at Children's Hospital. He said the best surgeon for my son was Dr. Vaughn Starnes. Then I asked a friend whose husband also was a doctor, and asked for the best heart surgeon for a baby and he said Dr. Vaughn Starnes. I so much wanted to have Dr. Starnes operate again on Micah at 24 years and we are so grateful that he was able to do that.
Dr. Starnes was very kind to us when we went to consult with him and we thought that the surgery date would be another four months away, but he offered us a date within 3 weeks. He knew exactly what he needed to do after all of the pre-op tests on Micah and he was quite confident that all would go well for him.
Surgery went smoothly and Micah has been healing quickly. We are grateful to all of the team at Keck USC for doing such a wonderful job with Micah. Thank you so much, Dr. Starnes. Our warmest wishes for you and your family always."
-- Micah LaPointe, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 06/17/2022
"I am 22 years old, born with a bicuspid aortic value. My parents and I knew eventually it would become problematic and would need to be replaced. I decided on the Ross Procedure and it was an option for my repair.
We searched for a surgeon and once meeting Dr. Starnes, we had no doubt he was the best doctor for us! He made all of us comfortable with this procedure and his confidence gave us all confidence and peace of mind to proceed. I am now 5 weeks post op and feel great and beginning to resume my activities. The team at USC KECK was fantastic from check in to check out. (5 days total in hospital.) Believe me, I know it is a scary decision, but after meeting Dr. Starnes, my anxiety was eased and I was ready to get my valve fixed. He's the best!"
-- Alann Salci, Aortic Valve, Ross Procedure, 05/25/2022
"Dr. Starnes is a world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon. My wife and I met with him for my consultation appointment after a referral from my cardiologist. I was not sure what to expect. Dr. Starnes came in and spoke with us and I was incredibly impressed. He answered all our questions in a polite manner and reassured us that there was nothing to worry about. When he spoke with us, he made us feel like we were the only people in the world.
After meeting with Dr. Starnes, the Doctor’s Physician’s Assistant Bob Sachs came to speak with us. Bob explained the details of the surgery including showing us a representative model of the Konect Aortic root replacement and answered our additional questions. The surgery was scheduled the following week, so this was the last appointment prior to surgery.
The surgery was extremely successful!! I was out of the ICU in two days and with the aid of my walker, was able to walk from the ICU to the telemetry wing of the hospital. I was released from the hospital 6 days after my surgery. I am feeling a little stronger each day as I head toward a full recovery.
I want to personally thank Dr. Starnes and his Team at Keck Medicine at USC for saving my life!"
-- William Hatch, Aortic Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Replacement, Root Replacement, Maze Procedure, Bloodless Surgery, 05/10/2022
"All I have to say, it was by God's grace and doing that I found Dr. Starnes. Because of Dr. Starnes, I chose to go with the Ross procedure. I wouldn't trust this procedure to anyone else. Thanks to my Lord Jesus, I am here today leading a normal life. Dr Starnes is one of the most sought after and best doctors in the world. There are very few like him, he is simply amazing!"
-- Ulyane Garabedian, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Ross Procedure, 04/19/2022
"My experience with Dr. Vaughn Starnes and the Keck USC Hospital was as good as it possibly could be. Dr. Starnes is the best of the best and not only did my Ross Procedure go incredibly well, but because of his work and the work of his team, my recovery is going equally as well.
I honestly couldn't be more happy with my choice to fly from Chicago to LA to have my heart surgery done by Dr. Vaughn Starnes. He saved my life and I will be forever grateful to Dr. Starnes and his wonderful team!"
-- Patrick Rauber, Aortic Valve, Ross Procedure, 03/18/2022
"Excellent Doctor. Very Communicative, Explained the procedure thoroughly, was able to make me feel comfortable and confident in the procedure. This is his 2nd Successful Valve repair that I had him do on me and has given me the opportunity to enjoy a long and joyous life. "
-- Elizabeth Thomasson, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 03/11/2022
"I had the surgery 6 weeks ago when Omicron was raging in the Los Angeles area. As a result, the nursing care was affected. Also, I saw the chief surgeon less than I expected but the resident (Alexander Weston) had terrific bedside manner.
As I reflect on the complexity and delicacy of the surgery I am amazed and grateful. Dr. Starnes spontaneous decision to replace a thin portion of the aorta probably saved me from an aneurysm in the near future."
-- Kate McGuinness, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 02/12/2022
"Dr. Vaughn Starnes and his entire team are top notch. I was up and feeling strong about 4 days after surgery. I'm recovering quickly (though taking it easy). Leading up: Bob Sachs his PA answered all of our questions as we nervously awaited surgery day. The entire 5W ICU team at USC Keck was top notch. I've been afraid of open-heart surgery for years.... and Dr. Starnes and team made it comfortable and familiar. Can't recommend enough. "
-- Reed Erickson, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Median Sternotomy, Ross Procedure, 01/19/2022
"Dr. Starnes saved my life. My daughter sent him all the information and tests from my first open heart surgery. He knew exactly how to fix my heart. He was professional, kind and caring. Thanks to his brilliance, I have a future. He welcomed questions and followed my care after surgery in the hospital. Truly, I consider him to be the best surgeon in the world!"
-- Sharon Orr, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Replacement, 11/09/2021
"From the moment I met with Dr. Starnes, I felt I was in good hands. He and his staff were fantastic."
-- Darlene Keast, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/22/2021
"Excellent results for my surgery. Although I had several complications due to other health issues, Dr. Starnes and his team were diligent in dealing with them.
The surgeon, his team, and Keck Hospital put my wellbeing as their top priority."
-- Elizabeth Serrao, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/20/2021
"I had the best experience at Keck Hospital USC. Dr. Vaughn Starnes and his team of doctors and nurses were the best! He took the time to explain to my husband and I everything that was going to happen. Dr. Starnes is the "best of the best". I had my surgery on October 1st and my recover is going well! Thank you for such a wonderful, positive experience. I would highly recommend Dr. Starnes and the USC team to anyone needing surgery."
-- Tina Fuentes, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Bloodless Surgery, 10/01/2021
"Dr. Starnes did a wonderful job! This is my 3rd heard surgery with him, and each one is better than the last. He is very knowledgeable about the process and is the best at what he does! I owe my life to him!"
-- James Mandala, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Root Replacement, 07/28/2021
"From the moment I first met Dr. Starnes at my consultation, I knew I was in the best care possible. He went through a very thorough review of my situation, addressed all my questions and made his surgical recommendations. His bedside manner made me feel completely at ease and comfortable with what I was about to go through. His incredible team got me on the surgical calendar in short order. The surgery couldn't have been more successful, he replaced 3 valves and even completely re-did the AV canal VSD patch I had done when I was 11 years old! Dr. Starnes gave me a complete renewal on life ... I'm forever grateful for his unmatched skills and abilities. He truly is a miracle worker!!!! Thank you, Dr. Starnes!!!"
-- Pamela Sainsbury, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 05/25/2021
"Dr. Vaughn Starnes performed a very successful cardiac surgery for me (mitral valve repair and aortic valve replacement). My recovery and hospital aftercare experience was terrific; well done, team!!! I am 7 weeks post-op now and my recovery is very good at this time. I feel that I will soon enjoy a full return to my normal lifestyle and activity level."
-- Jeff Chang, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 04/28/2021
"Dr. Vaughn Starnes and his assistant Bob Sachs were very efficient, informative and well mannered. The whole procedure from first meeting through discharge was perfect. How did I not feel all the pain that I thought would occur? The whole crew was so good at their jobs that I breezed through the process. I feel lucky to have them and would recommend anyone to Keck. Such a wonderful staff!"
-- Dennis Van Daalwyk, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/14/2021
"Everything went extremely smoothly and I couldn't be happier!"
-- Lawrence Wallace, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 03/23/2021
"The best procedure I was able to get of my life. Done less-invasively, because of Doctor Starnes. Best Hospital, Keck Medical Center, and best surgeon Dr. Starnes."
-- Cheryl Samperio, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 12/15/2020
"Dr. Starnes was very professional and extremely capable. I felt very lucky to have him do my procedure. Nice man. He told me not to worry and the procedure on the 11th went quickly."
-- Michael Mahoney, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 11/11/2020
"On a scale of one to ten, I wish I could give an eleven or twelve for so many different reasons.
Dr. Starnes performed a minimally invasive surgery so that afterwards I had almost no pain. I was in intensive care one day, then transferred to a telemetry ward for another five days; so exactly a week in total. The staff at USC Keck Hospital was outstanding in every way: extremely competent, caring, and yet professional. I always felt I was in excellent hands.
Dr. Starnes is the model of what a surgeon should be: confident, empathetic, available. He is always willing to spend whatever time is necessary to answer all questions. During my recovery in the hospital, he visited me personally several times and was always genuinely concerned for my health and general well-being. His staff reveres him.
He also did his best to communicate with my husband who was understandably concerned. Immediately after my surgery was finished, Dr. Starnes personally phoned my husband to explain that all had gone well. Not only that, but during my surgery, an OR nurse on his team phoned my husband from the operating room to update him on the progress of the surgery. Then after surgery, one of his doctor assistants phoned my husband to inform him that I was safely in ICU.
I cannot recommend Dr. Starnes and his team too highly. I hope you are fortunate enough to have him as your surgeon."
-- Kirkley Wilson, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 11/03/2020
"I could not feel more fortunate than to have been referred to Dr. Starnes. His credentials are amazing, and I understand that he is one of not too many who perform the mitral valve repair using minimally invasive right anterior thoracotomy.
He made me feel very confident at our very first consultation and he didn't disappoint. I can't thank him enough for his superior skills. Again, I feel SO lucky and grateful. And his entire staff, including Bob Sachs, his PA, are all great. I had a great experience at Keck Hospital and office visits."
-- Patricia Del Papa, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/21/2020
"Dr. Starnes, along with P.A. Robert Sachs, treated my Daughter. We initially met with P.A. Sachs whose bedside manner was terrific. He made my Wife and Daughter feel so comfortable and was very professional.
Dr. Starnes examined my Daughter and determined that he would perform a Ross Procedure. P.A. Sachs and Dr. Starnes explained the surgery procedure with great detail and empathy. They both referred his staff to assist us with looking for a place to stay since we were out of state. The office staff was helpful and thorough in handling all of our arrangements.
My Wife and I were nervous as any parent would be. However, the procedure was flawless and went exactly how Dr. Starnes said it would. After the surgery we visited the office for the follow-up visit and P.A. Sachs went out of his way to accommodate us in every way possible.
For anyone who has to have any type of cardio procedure and is not sure where to go...please schedule an appointment with Dr. Starnes and P.A. Sachs. Meet with them and I can assure you that you will be making the perfect choice. Thank You Dr. Starnes and P.A. Sachs for taking such good care of our Daughter and to your staff, specifically Tiffany, for assisting us with everything."
-- Gabe Munoz, Aortic Valve, Ross Procedure, 10/07/2020
"I had a hard time finding a surgeon that would do a bloodless open heart surgery. I was so glad when Dr Starnes agreed to do the bloodless surgery. Thanks to God and my cardiologist from Kaiser for finding such a great surgeon and team. It was my fourth open heart surgery. The surgery went well and I am home recuperating. The care in the ICU was also great. Very caring team."
-- Amelia Perez, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Bloodless Surgery, 09/30/2020
"I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve and aneurysm of the aorta of 5.1 cm. I just turned 46 years old. I did my homework and consulted with three reputable surgeons.
I immediately knew that I wanted Dr. Starnes to be my surgeon. He was very caring and attentive. Dr. Starnes and his physician's assistant, Bob, explained all treatment options to my husband and I and took their time to answer all of our questions. I was also given the most options by Dr. Starnes because of his broad experience.
I thank God for directing me to him. Days and nights of prayer were answered.
On August 28, 2020 Dr. Starnes and his team performed a Ross procedure on me successfully. I had surgery on a Friday and went home on a Tuesday.
I highly recommend Dr. Starnes because of his top notch skills, experience, and caring attitude. The USC Keck cardiac team have exceeded my expectations. His office employees and hospital employees took excellent care of me from day one."
-- Alejandra Gutierrez, Aortic Valve, Ross Procedure, 08/28/2020
"My experience with Dr. Vaughn Starnes was exceptional. Vaughn Starnes is a talented, world class surgeon and I feel very grateful that he repaired my mitral valve.
Not only did Dr. Starnes repair my mitral valve regurgitation, he did the same for my father 3 years ago. On August 7th after a routine visit to my cardiologist, I was told that the regurgitation from torn cords in my mitral valve was severe and required surgery. As soon as I heard this I knew there was only once surgeon to work with, Vaughn Starnes.
He is kind, caring and supported by wonderful people that have worked with him for 25 years, such as his Physician Assistant Bob Sachs who is one of the kindest and most responsive people I have even encountered in medicine. Beyond Dr. Starnes and his wonderful team, the post surgery care team at the Keck School of Medicine USC was first class.
The nursing team had some amazingly caring people. Many of them have worked at Keck for over 10 years which says something about the hospital. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Vaughn Starnes, his incredible talent and the entire team at Keck.
I will highly recommend to anyone that needs heart surgery to please meet with Dr. Vaughn Starnes. It's been 3 weeks since my surgery and I feel like I am driving a new car. "
-- Warren Davidoff, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 08/21/2020
"Very good, his support staff were wonderful and caring."
-- Joan Higgins, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Replacement, 07/24/2020
"Due to COVID-19, my initial conference with Dr. Starnes was done via a teleconference after he had received my information. He was very forthright and advised that my situation was not something to be delayed.
He laid out the procedure and informed me that I had a good chance of making a complete recovery. After the surgery, he came into my room and we spoke about the procedure. Due the no visitor situation in the hospital because of the coronavirus outbreak, Dr. Starnes called my wife and spoke with her as well, to which I was most grateful.
He visited me again while I was in intensive care and when I was transferred to the cardio ward to recover over a period of 5 days.
Needless to say, I am very grateful for his outstanding and highly skilled work as well as his council regarding my situation.
I since have been in contact with his PA Bob Sachs who has been fantastic helping my wife when she had questions and me for my post op treatment.
He has answered all of our calls and texts quickly while providing us valuable information concerning meds and post op treatment. "5-Star" rating for Dr. Starnes and his team. Thank you all so very much.
Feeling great and on the mend in Thousand Oaks!"
-- Andrew Mckittrick, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Root Replacement, 05/12/2020
"We met with Dr. Starnes pre-COVID and he was very kind and willing to answer all of our questions. I had a tough case and he was still able to perform a mitral valve repair. Although it has been a short time, doctors are not able to hear the regurgitation any longer. "
-- Chris W, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/19/2020
"I met Dr. Starnes for the first time when I was 10 years old at Children's Hospital LA with my parents. He did my third open-heart surgery. I was very thankful to have this operation and was fascinated on how long my valve lasted.
To prepare for my next operation, we had to request a change in medical groups so I can be able to get Dr. Starnes. My family and I believes that he is the best surgeon qualified if I needed to get another operation, which I fortunately did.
At 23 years of age, I got my fourth operation done by him again at USC Keck and it was an honor to have him as my heart surgeon again. Dr. Starnes is very admirable, passionate, and professional when it comes to his work. In addition, he is also precise when it comes to providing details to make sure, in terms of my condition, on what needs to be done to make sure I am properly taken care of before, during, and after the surgery.
By the end of the pre-op meeting, he was kind to answer questions from my parents and I. Furthermore, expressed if I had any concerns or other important questions. I followed accordingly the days leading up to my surgery. On the day of operation, his interdisciplinary team were generous and got me in a calming mood so I would not be nervous prior to the procedure and felt that I was in good hands. The results after post-op and discharge felt great and did not feel hesitant to ask questions related to the procedure. In the process of recovery, I have been doing well and staying compliant with medications, diet, exercise, and other discharge instructions.
I can not greatly thank him enough for what he did and credit to also Robert the PA, the OR staff, ICU staff, Telemetry staff, and all the nurses who watched over me in each unit day after day. To sum it up, it was a great journey and an important one for my health. I am thankful for what Starnes and his team did. Overall from my experience, I approve Dr. Starnes as a top tier heart surgeon and recommend him if anyone needs heart surgery."
-- Ivan Bautista, Pulmonary Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 04/07/2020
"Dr. Starnes and his staff did a fantastic job! After meeting with them and doing some research, I was very confident I was in good hands. Which helped take away much of the anxiety of being told I needed heart surgery. I highly recommend Dr. Starnes!"
-- Chris Corbet, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, 01/22/2020
"Dr. Starnes was fantastic! Bedside manner was great and surgery went excellent! Can’t say enough good about Dr. Starnes and his team!"
-- Scott Phillips, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 01/15/2020
"It was a Bentall procedure. Dr. Starnes knew exactly what I needed done and did it. His bedside manner is impeccable and his surgical experience shows in his results. I survived the surgery and I am in recovery. Best decision I made in choosing Dr. Starnes to be my surgeon. God bless him and may he continue to save lives. Thank you Dr. Starnes!"
-- Ana Brusso, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 11/26/2019
"I feel so fortunate to have had my cardiologist, Antreas Hindoyan MD, refer me to Dr. Starnes during this stressful time in my life.
I had recently suffered a silent heart attack, and learned that I had 4-vessel disease. Doctor Starnes and his staff were professional and compassionate. They were extremely thorough in explaining my anticipated surgery and recovery.
Dr. Starnes rounded post-operatively and made sure that all of my needs were being attended to. The staff at Keck Hospital of USC was excellent. Dr. Starnes' surgical skills are second to none. I felt very minimal pain after surgery and only needed Tylenol when I was discharged home on post-op day 5. I look forward to my continued recovery and return to work.
Each day that I see my family, my wife, my daughter and granddaughters, I thank God for bringing my Angel, Dr Starnes, into my life and giving me a "new heart", and a new lease on life. Unfortunately, not every one with heart disease is as fortunate. Thank you Dr. Starnes. Jaime Lopez MD"
-- Jaime Lopez, Aortic Valve, Median Sternotomy, 11/19/2019
"It was a great experience. The whole team was professional, friendly, and eager to answer any question. "
-- James Sawyer, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 09/18/2019
"Upon first meeting Dr. Starnes, he sat face-to-face with me and provided his full and undivided attention to my questions and those of my husband in relation to the procedure and intended results/outcomes. Responses were complete and detailed. He raised specific issues that would be addressed during surgery. Dr. Starnes is an extremely competent and talented surgeon who diagnosed and treated my heart issues completely. He answered ALL questions prior to surgery with full and understandable explanations.
The results of the surgery were very successful and within the second week out, I was back to re-establishing my daily routine. Despite chest tenderness and soreness, issues directly with my heart function have been corrected.
In addition, his PA Bob is extremely attentive and following the initial visit, corresponded with me regarding any questions that arose prior to and following procedure. Dr. Starnes and PA Bob make an outstanding team."
-- Connie Jensen, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Maze Procedure, 09/03/2019
"I was told by numerous doctors that my condition was non-operable and I was going to die - nothing could be done. Dr. Starnes reviewed my records and told me that not only was my condition operable but there was a 98% chance of success. He truly performed a miracle in my eyes. My family will be forever grateful for his knowledge, skill, understanding and confidence."
-- Robert Walsh, Mitral Valve, 08/28/2019
"Dr Starnes was excellent. Very warm and caring and informative. Plus all I heard about him was that he was the #1 surgeon in the city for this kind of surgery. Also, he had a world class staff who were kind caring and informative. Surgery went smooth as silk, no major pain during or after the surgery."
-- Joseph Donovan, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/20/2019
"Dr. Starnes again proved to be a lifesaver... After undergoing a pseudo-aneurysm repair in February 2019, there was another aneurysm found on a routine follow up echocardiogram due to tissue remodeling and scar tissue from previous heart attack.
My cardiologists approach was to keep me on warfarin for the rest of life. I asked for a referral to Dr. Starnes and the surgery was approved. Dr. Starnes performed the surgery and 6 weeks later I am doing well.
Best of all, I no longer need to take warfarin!! He is very confident and really put my family and myself at ease.
Thank you again for being my surgeon."
-- Todd Devine, Aortic Valve, Median Sternotomy, 08/20/2019
"Everything was excellent!"
-- Sue Nicolaisen, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 08/13/2019
"Dr. Starnes and his team at USC are top notch and came recommended as the best in the world. Would highly suggest you do whatever it takes to get to him. He's definitely the best."
-- Eric Laughlin, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Median Sternotomy, 06/25/2019
"Dr. Starnes is incredible and has a wonderful bedside manner. He makes you feel very confident about the surgery and his skill and results are the best in the business. "
-- Shaun Stiles, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 06/25/2019
"Dr. Starnes and his team did an exceptional job keeping me informed and answering questions in the lead up to my surgery. The surgery was a success and I believe Dr. Starnes' exceptional skill and expertise is the reason why. I had a valve-sparing aortic root replacement and, so far, my recovery has been going well. The team at the Keck Hospital at USC was professional, courteous and extremely helpful. I am grateful to Dr. Starnes, his team and the staff at Keck Hospital. Thank you!"
-- Jeffrey Schodorf, Aortic Valve, Root Replacement, 06/18/2019
"It is with the greatest gratitude that I thank Dr. Starnes for saving my husband's life. Unlike our experience with my husband's previous cardiac team, Dr. Starnes was extremely thorough and forthright in explaining every detail of my husband's condition. He put images of my husband's arteries and valve up onto four very large computer screens, and explained with the utmost clarity exactly what he could do to correct each issue. In both of our 64 years, we have never experienced a doctor or surgeon with such a profoundly calming and personal bedside manner as Dr. Starnes. The utter efficiency of his office, team of doctors, and follow up was phenomenal! In addition, USC Keck's nursing staff was extraordinarily attentive, kind, and professional!"
-- Mimi Nuccio, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Maze Procedure, 06/14/2019
"I can't say enough about Dr. Starnes and his team at USC Keck Medical Center. After doing much research, I self referred myself to Dr. Starnes to discuss my bicuspid aortic valve. After meeting with Dr. Starnes, I knew immediately that he would be my surgeon. He had a sense of confidence that made both my wife and I very comfortable. We scheduled the surgery that day and 4 weeks later, he successfully performed a Ross Procedure on me. Dr. Starnes and his team are top notch! I highly recommended!"
-- James Martinez, Aortic Valve, Ross Procedure, 05/24/2019
"Thoroughly satisfied with 1st visit, surgery and conversation with Dr. Starnes. The minimally invasive Mitral Valve repair accomplished what was needed. Would I recommend Dr. Starnes and KECK School of Medicine of USC? Absolutely!"
-- Henry Hoss, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/23/2019
"Excellent care and bedside manner from Dr. Vaughn Starnes, his PA Bob Sachs and his surgical team for replacing my aortic valve and repairing an aneurysm in the ascending aorta. Care from the nurses, techs and staff in the ICU and the CCU was excellent and compassionate. I woke up from the anesthesia with the vent tube removed and no pain. Unfortunately on the 6th day I was the one out of three patients that develope A-Fib and and a rapid heart rate(170). Dr Starnes put me on an IV of Amiodarone for a few days and then a cardiac conversion treatment brought me back to a normal heart rhythm and I was able to go home the next day. Dr. Starnes replaced my aortic valve using the minimally invasive technique, but unfortunately the valve began to close down after 4 1/2 years. I cannot thank Dr. Starnes and his staff enough for their great and compassionate care."
-- Fred Padilla, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 04/05/2019
"Doctors, nurses, staff, everyone at Keck Hospital were very helpful and friendly. I feel I was fortunate to have my procedure done at Keck Hospital. I thank everyone. I was with extremely talented and compassionate people. Thank you."
-- Andrew Marrama, Aortic Valve, Root Replacement, 03/12/2019
"Everyone was very professional, and my recovery is going very smoothly. I should be back to normal in no time."
-- Steve Plooy, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, 03/05/2019
"After researching what to expect post surgery, I couldn't be more pleased with my current results. From the very beginning, this entire process happened so quickly, there was little to no time for introductions and discussions with my surgeon. I simply had to trust my cardiologist's recommendation. And man alive, I'm so glad I did. According to all accounts, my surgery went well and so far my recovery is proceeding as expected. I have extreme admiration and gratitude for both my cardiologist, Dr. Margaret Rasouli, and my surgeon Dr. Vaughn Starnes and his staff, and one day hope to have the opportunity to express my gratitude personally to Dr. Starnes.
I am truly a blessed man to have landed in such competent hands. If you want as good an outcome as possible, and you have the opportunity to go with Dr. Starnes, look no further, he is your man."
-- James Coyne, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Repair, 03/01/2019
"Dr. Starnes is professional in all respects."
-- Shane Thompson, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 02/27/2019
"Dr. Starnes was not even a choice given to me by my cardiologist when my valve pressures shot up. I was given a doctor's name in New York and my 2nd option was the Cleveland Clinic -- need I say I live in southern California.
So, after a 2nd echo to confirm the results, I met with the cardiologist to do my homework. God bless Google search. Dr Starnes at USC was only 45 miles from my home. I couldn't find anything bad about him on the internet. He had many, many years of practice and he had performed over 500 ross procedures.
So, I went and told my cardiologist I wanted my referral to see and talk to Dr. Starnes. Cardiologist was not pleased but did what I asked. I met with Dr. Starnes on 12/18/18 and was scheduled for surgery on 2/8/2019. But, I needed an angiogram before surgery could be done.
For what ever reason, I got a lot of crap from my cardiologist about a date so soon. Long story short... Angiogram was done on 1/14/2019 and i was set to go.
Everything at USC was smooth sailing. It is a very "well oiled" production from all the pre-op to discharge after surgery. Everything went as scheduled after the surgery. Doctor Starnes talked to my family and made them feel very comfortable with everything he told them. I was in ICU for 2 days and then moved to the step down cardiac unit for 2 days. So, in at 5am Friday morning and out by 11 am Tuesday.
While I was at USC, I had the best medical care I have ever received in my life. All of the staff down to the janitor coming in to clean the room were so polite and caring. I almost wanted to stay longer.
Fast forward 15 weeks post-op... I had my first echo post surgery. My cardiologist - before looking at the name on the report - said to himself, "Why is this person needed to see a cardiologist as the valve pressure # are perfect?". Then, he looked up and saw the patient name was me. Pre-surgery my valve pressure was 74. Post-op today they are 9 as close to normal as if I wasn't born with a valve problem.
So, today I say thank God for putting Dr. Vaughn Starnes on this earth to help people and God bless his golden fingers. I have a lot of living left to do which includes chasing after my 2 grandchildren and seeing my 3rd one come into the world this coming October. If you are looking for a surgeon he is one of the best."
-- Charlotte Barta, Aortic Valve, Ross Procedure, 02/08/2019
"Dr. Starnes is a lifesaver!! I was referred to him by another surgeon and Dr. Starnes inspired the utmost confidence in me.
I had a heart attack and a stent was put in by another hospital/doctor, I had complications from the heart attack.. a VSD, and pseudoanuerysym.
The other doctors told me that this was very rare and not many surgeons have performed this surgery. In my first meeting with Dr. Starnes he totally put me at ease and told me there was very little risk and that it would be no problem. (The referring surgeon pained a pretty grim picture of the risks involved in my surgery.)
Fast forward 6 weeks later and I am recovering very well and have Dr. Starnes and the professional staff at Keck USC to thank!!!"
-- Todd Devine, Aortic Valve, Median Sternotomy, 02/06/2019
"I have nothing but good things to say about Dr. Starnes, associated staff (P.A. Robert Sachs and RN Erly) and the Keck Medical Center staff. At the initial consult, Dr. Starnes suggested the Ross Procedure (pulmonary valve to aortic position with a homograft (cadaver) to replace it). This procedure allows me to avoid taking anti-coagulants for the rest of my life. Very glad he did so. After his consult, his PA,, Mr. Sachs, was able to arrange an expedited surgery date (I had a 5.2 cm ascending aorta) for which I was very grateful.
The staff at Keck USC contacted me shortly thereafter, providing me with the requisite pre-op information and also pointing me to their onsite lodging facilities so that my family could be close by. Day of surgery I did not see Dr. Starnes but the professionalism with which I was handled by his associated staff (Dr. Adt et al in pre-op) left me at ease and the fact that I am leaving this for you to read attests to his skill and success as a surgeon and the efficacy of the procedure. Post op, I again did not see Dr. Starnes but my family attests that he did address them. All room visits were handled by his associate staff (ty again Dr. Adt and there were others but I don't remember their names) and the USC staff gave me what I consider stellar care. My follow up with PA Sachs went well and again reassured me that I had been well taken care of. As for results, again I am typing this recommendation so there is that. My incisions are healing nicely, my local cardiologist (who recommended Dr. Starnes) is happy with the results, as well as my primary care physician. Again (I know I sound like a broken record), very, very happy with my experience. Some would say "but you only met him once..", to which I would say "meh, he's busy, I'm alive, his support staff never gave me reason to doubt, so no worries", but that's me. I absolutely recommend Dr. Starnes and would not think twice about having him work on me again. Thank you Dr. Starnes (and staff)! "
-- Jason Hall, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 02/01/2019
"After being diagnosed with congestive heart failure and being told I needed two (possibly three) valves replaced as well as a double bypass, I told the cardiologist I wanted a second opinion. Before I could finish my request, and without hesitation, he recommended Dr. Starnes. Less than two weeks later, my husband and I were at Keck USC meeting with Dr. Starnes. As a scared to death first-time heart patient, his professionalism, caring demeanor and reassuring confidence was a godsend. He assured me that I only needed one valve and was confident he could repair the other two. He also assured me that I only needed a single bypass. By the end of our consultation with Dr. Starnes, there was absolutely no doubt in our minds that he was the surgeon we wanted performing my operation. His entire staff, and the staff at Keck USC, were nothing short of amazing. They made us feel like family every step of the way. I was discharged from the hospital 6 days after my surgery. It's been three weeks since my surgery and I feel great. I can't thank Dr. Starnes and the staff at Keck USC enough. From the bottom of my 'new and improved' heart, thank you Dr. Starnes for my new lease on life! "
-- Maria Philippon, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 01/25/2019
"When my cardiologist recommended heart surgery, he referred me to Dr. Starnes for the procedure. It was my first invasive procedure at age 70. Don't know what I expected, but my experience with Dr. Starnes and his staff was nothing short of exemplary. Can't say enough words to convey their professionalism and attention to detail. If I ever needed a future procedure I'd run directly to Dr. Starnes and Keck Medicine of USC!"
-- Carl Carlson, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, 12/21/2018
"I was transferred to USC after 2 unsuccessful Open Heart Surgeries in Las Vegas, NV in 2011. Dr. Starnes repaired a hole in my aorta (mitral curtain) that Las Vegas surgeon damaged and then tried to repair. Then again in December 2018 - I went back to Dr. Starnes for Mitral Valve re-do and Aortic valve replacement. He is an excellent surgeon and has done extremely well with both of my very complex valve surgeries. If you are looking for the valve surgeon, go have a consult with Dr. Vaughn Starnes at Keck Medical Center (USC Medical Center). He is your guy! I will be forever grateful for him and his team of surgeons."
-- Gregory Ballard, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 12/21/2018
"I’m a believer. There is no better surgeon than Dr. Vaughn Starnes, whose staff are also outstanding... Confident, meticulous, and caring.
Post-operative care at Keck Hospital was seamless and I was sent home in five days. Recovery has been rapid with no complications. Kudos to the cardiothoracic team at Keck/USC."
-- Tom Simms, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, Maze Procedure, 11/28/2018
"Finding the best Surgeon, I mean the BEST, for your heart ailment for me is a colossal endeavor. As I work in medical services and my siblings, uncles, cousins and nephews are medical doctors, I found it compelling to convince them - besides myself - that the doctor I chose was the best.
When they learned that my doctor was Dr. Vaughn Starnes of Keck Medical Center of USC, they said only one word... WOW!
I myself am amazed that Dr. Starnes accepted my case. It's like he stepped down from his pedestal of medical supremacy to help me... a simple nobody. He is a truly humble individual and a medical wonder too.
Any one looking for a surgeon should consider Dr Vaughn Starnes' credentials."
-- Efren Dy Aguilera, Aortic Valve, 11/28/2018
"Results were successful. Dr. Starnes bedside manner was very good."
-- John Miller, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/30/2018
"Everyone at USC was very professional and follow-ups in the hospital were done on a regular basis. Never had to worry about something not being done. I was treated very nicely by Dr. Starnes and his staff."
-- Raymond Rivera, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/16/2018
"Amazing surgeon, excellent, reassuring manner. Perhaps best Ross surgeon in the country. Great support team as well."
-- Anders Goranson, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Ross Procedure, 10/10/2018
"Excellent surgeon! I experience no postoperative pain and my health appears to be back to normal after six months."
-- Frank Meza, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 09/26/2018
"Dr. Starnes and the entire team and Keck USC hospital did a great job with my surgery and recovery. I’m 3 weeks post surgery and feel great. Not a fun thing to have to go through, but I can’t imagine a better doc or facility."
-- Michael Ruhr, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 09/11/2018
"Excellent hospital and first class care."
-- Robert Brant, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 09/04/2018
"There is no way to say how thankful I am to Dr. Starnes and his team for the work they did. The planning, the execution, the management of the team were extraordinary. They did many repairs and procedures to my heart while at Keck USC. Dr. Starnes is very warm, friendly and always makes time to talk and encourage you before and after the procedure. They are, in my opinion, miracle workers; and I do not believe I would be writing this message if not for Dr. Starnes and the team he has assembled and leads at Keck USC. "
-- Glen Moulder, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Maze Procedure, 08/29/2018
"When my already repaired Mitral Valve needed replacing only one surgeon came to mind: Dr. Vaughn Starnes. His list of achievements is more than impressive and his skills are legendary. I now have a non-leaking valve and look forward to a improved future. I found him easy to talk to and attentive to my needs. "
-- James Gibson, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Maze Procedure, 08/22/2018
"His bedside manner was excellent, the moment he walked into the room it felt like we had been friends forever. The surgery consisted of replacement of the aorta valve with bypass surgery with major complications due to thickened pericardium and many adhesions. The surgery was described as a monster that could only have been accomplished by very few surgeons."
-- Ian McInnes, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/08/2018
"I believe Dr. Vaughn Starnes is the best surgeon in California. I went to surgery to replace my aortic valve and he managed to find an aneurysm in my aortic root that did not show up on my scan the day before. In addition, his entire staff was extremely nice, helpful and caring. He is the absolute best surgeon ever!"
-- Dale Taros, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Root Replacement, 07/25/2018
"I felt extremely calm and reassured about my surgery after meeting Dr. Starnes for the first time. He did a phenomenal job! I am still recovering, but I feel that he gave me a 2nd chance at life!"
-- Travis Rodriguez, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Ross Procedure, 07/18/2018
"Dr Starnes inspired confidence and all went according to plan. I’m looking forward to a full recovery."
-- Lawrence Berko, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 07/13/2018
"Dr. Starnes, in my opinion, did an excellent job with my aortic valve and root replacement. My case was complex, since I had an active infection at the valve, and Dr. Starnes successfully completed the operation. I feel much better than I expected post-surgery (this is my second open heart surgery). During the pre-op visit, Dr. Starnes came off as extremely competent yet humble, and wasn't afraid to help me choose which type of valve I wanted for my replacement (tissue vs. mechanical). Overall, I feel very lucky to have had Dr. Starnes as my surgeon."
-- Michael Mulroy, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 06/27/2018
"Dr. Starnes is the best heart surgeon around I interviewed 15 surgeons before deciding on Dr. Starnes and he was the only one who was 100% confident that he could repair my valve and my surgery went exactly like he said. He and his staff took unbelievable care of me and made sure I understood everything that was going on at all times. I am recovering faster than I could ever imagine and back to my everyday routine after just three weeks. USC Keck Hospital is also an amazing facility."
-- Bill Davis, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 06/19/2018
"Dr. Starnes saved my life this past February 28, 2018. I was supposed to have my aortic valve replaced, but he was able to perform his magic and repair my valve instead (so no Coumadin). He also replaced my ascending aortic root with a Dacron graft due to 4.9 cm aneurysm. Dr. Starnes was always available to answer any of my questions. It is now three months after my surgery, and I am feeling better than I have in years! I am very grateful to Dr. Starnes and his surgical team."
-- Ashleigh Wood, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Root Replacement, David Procedure, 02/28/2018
"Dr. Starnes and his team are the best. I started feeling better immediately after meeting him even before surgery. He infuses so much confidence, I can not even describe it in words. Every doctor he has in his team is excellent. You can tell , they were trained by him. They are polite, confident and caring. As a surgeon , he is arguably the best in the world, not just in United States. He also has impeccable support staff. The ICU staff and nurses are exactly like his surgical team. They are very well trained, adequately rested and unbelievably caring. I had one of the most complex surgeries medical world has invented, and I was home and recovering on the 8th day. Unbelievable.... So with my whole heart, including 3 brand new valves courtesy of Dr. Starnes, I recommend Dr. Starnes and his team. Excellent .."
-- Silva Oganyan, Pulmonary Valve, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 09/15/2017
"Dr. Starnes put me at ease immediately during our first meeting I knew he was my guy. He did the Bentall procedure for me (includes aortic valve & ascending aorta aneurysm) plus one bypass. I had complications but him and his team took care of them. Dr. Craig Baker is also very excellent. I am here today because of him and his team including Dr Mitra Nadim. Wouldn't go anywhere else for heart surgery."
-- Lonnie Parker, Aortic Valve, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 01/27/2017
"Surgical results were excellent. I was back to normal within a few months. Excellent bed side manner. I’d recommend Dr. Starnes to anyone."
-- Marcella Valentine, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 11/11/2016
"Excellent Surgeon! Never saw him in person after surgery though, only his staff."
-- Stephen Eisen, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 01/15/2016
"We initially met Dr. Starnes during August 2015. He was highly recommended to us by several cardiologists. Dr Starnes gave us a feeling of confidence the minute we met him. He made us think that my surgery, which was very complicated, two valve replacements, one valve repair, and a Maze procedure, would not be hard. He lived up to our expectations. I am leaving the hospital today, have had minimal amount of pain, his surgery team and nurses and doctors taking care of me at USC Keck have been wonderful and I have nothing but praise for everyone. Thank you Dr. Starnes, nurses, and surgery team for everything you have done for me."
-- Albert Dyen, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Maze Procedure, 09/08/2015
"Dr. Starnes was fantastic. When three other surgeons said my valve needed to be replaced, Starnes said he could repair it and he did. He said it is now as if I was born with a perfect heart and he's right. I'm not on any medications, like blood thinners. And in truth, I never think about it. He's the best."
-- Deborah Shames, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/22/2014
"Dr. Vaughn Starnes, MD performed minimally invasive without the robot. His confidence is evident. He answered all of our questions and was reassuring. He has a team that handles the follow-up beyond his last check-in on you after the surgery. The USC team is very professional and helpful."
-- Anthony Pecoraro, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 01/08/2013
"Friends and family marveled at my rapid recovery at age 78 from minimally invasive mitral valve repair for severe regurgitation thanks to the experienced and gifted Dr. Vaughn Starnes and his team at Keck USC Hospital. At my initial consultation, Dr. Starnes won my confidence and trust and that of my family. He was kind, compassionate and carefully answered all our questions. My surgery, with an incision of about two inches made under my right breast, was without problems. My stay in intensive care was less than 24 hours. I was up and walking and by my third day climbing stairs under the guidance of a physical therapist. Scheduled for release on the fifth day, my heart went into atrial fibrillation, a common occurrence with mitral valves. I remained in the hospital another five days until my heart stabilized. During my hospital stay, Dr. Starnes visited me four times including once in intensive care. Each time he was unhurried, caring and answered all my questions. When I arrived home, I immediately started walking outdoors with my husband. With the recommendation of my cardiologist, Dr. Mark Lurie, I soon entered the excellent cardiac rehab program at Torrance Memorial Medical Center near my home in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Today, eight months since my surgery, my heart sings with grateful renewal thanks to my world class surgeon and his dedicated team and the excellent care at Keck USC. "
-- Donna Russell, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 05/11/2012
"Dr. Starnes had to leave Los Angeles immediately after the surgery, so I can't comment on his bedside manner. However, his manner pre-surgery was reassuring and friendly. He did an excellent job overall and I'd recommend him without reservation."
-- Judy Francis, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/25/2012
"Dr. Vaughn Starnes is stunningly good. Loaded with the appropriate quotient of gravitas, I felt completely confident and in great hands with Dr Starnes. I met with two other surgeons prior to Starnes and I wouldn't let them cut my toe nails -- let alone perform open heart surgery. As soon Dr Starnes opened his mouth, I knew he was the guy. Trust your instincts. "
-- John C Mackenzie, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/17/2012
"I am 9 years post surgery and have had excellent results. I have every year marked on my calendar and am reminded about how fortunate I was to have Dr. Starnes for my surgeon.
I am followed annually and have seen very little change in the function of both valves. I am thankful everyday for Dr. Starnes and his team. In addition to being an amazing surgeon, he has a great bedside manner."
-- Michael Glasman, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Median Sternotomy, 09/15/2011
"Dr. Starnes did a minimally invasive, non robotic successful repair on my mitral valve at USC. Personal contact was minimum. He has a team in place to carry-out post operative care. The important thing was that he was able to complete a successful repair."
-- Debby Tomlinson, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 09/13/2011
"Dr. Starnes was excellent, very caring, personable, and answered all questions. The results were outstanding."
-- Myrna Gaskin, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 05/03/2011
"I also had my ascending aorta replaced (Bental Procedure). Dr. Starnes is a highly rated cardiothoracic surgeon who is the head of USC University Hospital. Since this is a teaching hospital, I knew before the surgery that he would be leading residents and students through his rounds. I wasn't as concerned about his bedside manor since I knew he was a highly skilled surgeon."
-- Craig Kappe, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 08/29/2010
"Although I didn't have much contact with him, except on the initial interview, I felt confident in his ability in that my recovery went very smoothly without much pain or complication."
-- Phyllis Pivo, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Maze Procedure, 05/26/2009
"It was a wonderful experience. He was kind, caring, accessible and diligent. The whole team worked very efficiently and were very caring especially with me and my family members . I did very well post-operatively and am still doing well. I went back to India in 2009 and look forward to visiting USA again and I will surely visit Dr Starnes."
-- Surya Sastry, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 12/10/2008
"Excellent experience with the my surgeon's office, staff, surgical team and hospital (USC University Hospital). Limited contact with Dr. Starnes himself, as I had a fairly straight forward procedure (as if heart surgery is ever straight forward) but he was always personable, interested and confident. 100% successful and happy!"
-- Tim Clackett, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 11/18/2008
"I was diagnosed with two aortic aneurysms. Dr. Starnes did the repairs and I survived to this day with excellent results."
-- JOHN MADDALO, Aortic Valve, Root Replacement, 11/14/2008
"Following an aortic valve replacement nine months earlier, my aortic connective tissue continued to dissect. Due to two previous valve surgeries, I was referred to Dr. Starnes to take on the monumental task of replacing the aortic arch and descending artery to mid-chest. Dr. Starnes masterfully accomplished the mission and gave me a third opportunity at life."
-- David Gray, Aortic Valve, Root Replacement, 08/22/2008
"Outstanding surgeon. Pleasant bedside manner. But most importantly he is an extraordinary surgeon and in other hands I would most likely have ended up with a mitral valve replacement rather then a repair. I feel very fortunate."
-- Mara Rabin, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 02/06/2008
"This was my husbands 2nd surgery with Dr. Starnes. In July of 2003 Dr. Starnes performed a mitral valve repair and then the latest surgery was the aortic valve replacement. He was the BEST...We went from Arizona back to him for the 2nd surgery..the office staff, the PA"s all the residents and Dr. Starnes himself were very comforting and kept was informed each step of the way. We would always return to Dr. Starnes."
-- Ed Crutchfield, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/22/2007
"I consider Dr. Starnes to be the "Michael Jordan" of heart valve surgery. I conducted a very extensive surgeon selection process and was thrilled to learn that one of the best in the business was only 10 miles from my home in Los Angeles. I strongly recommend Dr. Starnes."
-- Adam Pick, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Replacement, Ross Procedure, 12/21/2005
"Incredibly calming, reassuring bedside manner. I was resisting open-heart surgery because before 2002 I had seen too many of my friends who had been cut open and were living with constant pain. But Dr. Starnes and Dr. Lawrence Laughlin put me at ease. The operation, triple by-pass, took less than 3 hours. Because of Dr. Starnes expertise, I was on my feet and back to dancing (I'm a tango teacher) within a few weeks. I've not had any heart-related problems since... and I'm 78!"
-- Angel Echeverria, Aortic Valve, 05/11/2002
"I was only 40 and need Valve repair and Dr Starnes was preforming an experimental procedure and I fit the requirements. It's now been 17 years with no additional problems. Thank you Doc!"
-- Frank Thibaudeau, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 09/21/2001
"My Son (Kevin A Weaver 10/27/1996) had been misdiagnosed since birth by our then healthcare provider. We changed our coverage so we could have a access to doctors and specialists outside of their plan. We were diagnosed by Dr. William Vincent at Pomona Valley hospital by Dr. William Vincent and he recommended CHLA to us.
By this time, my son was in congestive heart failure, extremely malnourished, failing to thrive, projectile vomiting and lethargic. We were terrified we would lose him. His surgery was performed on February 6th. He had a resection of his aorta and a repair of a PAPVR. His recovery was slow for the first year following his surgery.
Today he is 22 years old, in excellent health and living a productive life. Each February, I think of Dr. Vincent and Dr. Starnes working together to save the life of my son. I am so deeply thankful."
-- Kim Weaver, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Repair, 02/06/1997
"Dr. Starnes really cares about his patients. First and foremost, he fought hard for me to be able to have my procedure performed at USC by him. He performed my surgery flawlessly and was kind and compassionate when updating my family about the procedure.
Dr. Starnes followed up with me post-op as well and personally ensured I was doing well prior to discharge. Dr. Starnes was phenomenal and I am beyond thankful he was able to perform my Ross procedure!"
-- Savannah George, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Ross Procedure, 11/19/1995
"Excellent. Dr Starnes is a 10+."
-- Tomas Medina, Aortic Valve, Transcatheter, 05/12/1995
"Just wanted to say thank you for saving my life. July 2, 1991, I was born with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome and Pulmonary Atresia. Dr. Starnes performed the first of four surgeries, BT shunt, on July 5. Without this surgery and the three following ones, I wouldn't have survived. Thank you just does not seem enough for all you've done. "
-- Angela Kurup, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Repair, 07/05/1991
"Dr.Starnes is simply my hero. He repaired my heart when I was seven at Stanford and saved my life almost 32 years ago. Dr. Starnes is simply amazing, a miracle worker who's saved thousands. My heart belongs to Dr Starnes!!! "
-- Melissa Patania, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Repair, Transcatheter, 06/12/1984
My Specialities &
My heart surgery specialties include:
- Aortic valve replacement including the Ross Procedure
- Mitral valve repair
- Minimally invasive valve repair
In addition, I have research and clinical interests specific to:
- Minimally invasive surgical approaches (robotic, transcatheter)
- Pediatric surgery
Education, Training & Certificates
Dr. Vaughn Starnes, heart surgeon, graduated from North Carolina (Chapel Hill) in 1977.
After medical school, Dr. Starnes completed a General Surgery Residency at Vanderbilt University and a Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency at Stanford University. Dr. Starnes also completed a fellowship in pediatric cardiovascular surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in London, England.
Dr. Starnes is the Chair of the Department of Surgery, Surgeon-in-Chief at USC Norris Cancer and Keck Hospital. In addition, Dr. Starnes is the H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair for Cardiovascular Thoracic Research at the Keck Medical School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, California.
Dr. Starnes was 100th president of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.
with Dr. Vaughn Starnes, MD
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Starnes, you can:
- Call (888) 536-1766 right now
- Request an appointment by clicking here.
The office of Dr. Starnes is located at 1520 San Pablo St., Los Angeles, CA 90033. To get driving directions to this office, please click the map below.
> Click for driving directions to Dr. Starnes’s office.
Watch Educational Video with Dr. Vaughn Starnes
Learn about heart valve surgery from Dr. Starnes in this video:
Mitral Valve Surgery: What Should Patients Know?
News & Online References Featuring Dr. Vaughn Starnes
Here is the latest news featuring Dr. Vaughn Starnes:
- Dr. Vaughn Starnes Announced 100th President of American Association for Thoracic Surgery
- Jimmy Kimmels Son Has Life-Saving Cardiac Operation by Dr. Starnes
- Arnold Schwarzenegger: 10 Years After Heart Surgery by Dr. Vaughn Starnes
- Surgeon Q&A: Pediatric Mitral Leaflet Repair with Dr. Starnes
- Patient Story: Nathan Travels from Louisville to Los Angeles for Procedure by Dr. Starnes
- Why Is AFib Treatment My Standard of Care During Heart Valve Surgery?
- Surgeon Q&A: What Should Patients Know About Mitral Valve Surgery?
- COVID-19 Innovation: Telehealth & Cardiac Care
- Expert Surgeon Profile: Vaughn Starnes, MD, at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, California
- 8-Year Old Gets Successful Heart Valve Surgery Thanks to Dr. Vaughn Starnes
- Patient Success Story: Reed is "Changed" Thanks to Dr. Vaughn Starnes
- Dr. Vaughn Starnes Gets 100 Patient Testimonials at HeartValveSurgery.com
Page last updated: March 20, 2023