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.
116 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
"My appointments leading up to my meeting with Dr. Starnes were always on time. When meeting Dr. Vaughn Starnes, he was polite, professional, ethical and fully explained what procedure was required in simple easy to understand terms.
After surgery he visited me on two occasions (I was only admitted for 5 days) to ensure my safe status of recovery. I recommend this surgeon due to his vast knowledge, years of practice and excellence in communication.
In addition, my surgery was at USC Keck Hospital in Los Angeles. The facility was immensely clean, properly staffed and well maintained."
-- Kevin Valle, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 07/11/2023
Dr Starnes' version of the Ross procedure put me with an age expectancy of the general population! This quite possibly means no more surgeries and back to playing water polo in 6 months.
USC Keck was amazing. They took good care of me while I had umpteen tubes coming out of me whilst laid up in the recovery ICU. I'm 5 weeks post op, feeling better every day in a long recovery process, and very very thankful for Dr. Starnes."
-- Jim Lowrey, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, Ross Procedure, 06/27/2023
From the outset, Dr. Starnes' confidence and meticulous approach reassured me. Hist clear explanation of the procedure and calm demeanor alleviated any concerns I had. My successful surgery is a testament to his remarkable skill.
Equally praiseworthy is the bedside manner of Robert (Bob) Sachs PA, who is Dr. Starnes' physician's assistant. His comforting presence and attentive care played a significant role in my recovery journey. Bob also has a remarkable sense of humor.
I also wish to commend the entire staff at USC Keck Hospital for their unwavering dedication during the week after the surgery. Their professionalism and kindness greatly contributed to my comfort and well-being.
In summary, Dr. Starnes and the exceptional team at USC Keck Hospital have my heartfelt gratitude. Their combined expertise and compassion have made a profound impact on my journey to better health."
-- Ryan Born, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Ross Procedure, 06/27/2023
I knew of Dr. Starnes’ reputation and was lucky enough to have him fit me into his schedule. The first person we met was Bob Sachs who has been with Dr. Starnes many years. He was great. He is very knowledgeable and friendly. He was an invaluable point of contact for us, answering our questions or concerns in a timely manner.
From the moment we (wife and two daughters) met with Dr. Starnes, we knew I was in good hands. We were all very worried but Dr. Starnes had a friendly, reassuring, professional, and calming demeanor.
Dr. Starnes explained the details of my heart procedure and what to expect through this whole process. He answered all of our questions. We never felt rushed. Dr. Starnes has another Physician Assistant, Nidal Alkafarna, who followed up with us while I was in the hospital and after we left. He too was very friendly and conscientious as he monitored my Warfarin medication once I left the hospital.
The nursing team at USC Keck Hospital were all so kind, courteous, professional and helpful. Their job is not always pleasant so I was particularly appreciative of their kindness and care.
Dr. Starnes, his team, and the Keck nurses were nothing less than excellent! "
-- Raymond Gandara, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 06/02/2023
-- Ajit Shah, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/19/2023
-- Chris Lynch, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/12/2023
-- Jeff Maljian, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 01/17/2023
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. 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 resultant 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, Maze Procedure, 11/23/2022
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
-- Justin Steers, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 09/13/2022
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
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
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
-- Michael Glasman, Pulmonary Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/17/2022
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
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
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
-- Ulyane Garabedian, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Ross Procedure, 04/19/2022
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
-- Elizabeth Thomasson, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 03/11/2022
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
-- Reed Erickson, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Median Sternotomy, Ross Procedure, 01/19/2022
-- Sharon Orr, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Replacement, 11/09/2021
-- Darlene Keast, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/22/2021
The surgeon, his team, and Keck Hospital put my wellbeing as their top priority."
-- Elizabeth Serrao, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/20/2021
-- Tina Fuentes, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Bloodless Surgery, 10/01/2021
-- James Mandala, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Root Replacement, 07/28/2021
-- Pamela Sainsbury, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 05/25/2021
-- Jeff Chang, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 04/28/2021
-- Dennis Van Daalwyk, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/14/2021
-- Lawrence Wallace, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 03/23/2021
-- Cheryl Samperio, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 12/15/2020
-- Michael Mahoney, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 11/11/2020
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
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 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
-- Amelia Perez, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Bloodless Surgery, 09/30/2020
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
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
-- Joan Higgins, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Replacement, 07/24/2020
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
-- Chris W, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/19/2020
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
-- Chris Corbet, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, 01/22/2020
-- Scott Phillips, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 01/15/2020
-- Ana Brusso, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 11/26/2019
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
-- James Sawyer, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 09/18/2019
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
-- Robert Walsh, Mitral Valve, 08/28/2019
-- Joseph Donovan, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/20/2019
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
-- Sue Nicolaisen, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 08/13/2019
-- Eric Laughlin, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Median Sternotomy, 06/25/2019
-- Shaun Stiles, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 06/25/2019
-- Jeffrey Schodorf, Aortic Valve, Root Replacement, 06/18/2019
-- Mimi Nuccio, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Maze Procedure, 06/14/2019
-- James Martinez, Aortic Valve, Ross Procedure, 05/24/2019
-- Henry Hoss, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/23/2019
-- Fred Padilla, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 04/05/2019
-- Andrew Marrama, Aortic Valve, Root Replacement, 03/12/2019
-- Steve Plooy, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, 03/05/2019
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
-- Shane Thompson, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 02/27/2019
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
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
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
-- Maria Philippon, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 01/25/2019
-- Carl Carlson, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, 12/21/2018
-- Gregory Ballard, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 12/21/2018
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
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
-- John Miller, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/30/2018
-- Raymond Rivera, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 10/16/2018
-- Anders Goranson, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Ross Procedure, 10/10/2018
-- Frank Meza, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 09/26/2018
-- Michael Ruhr, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 09/11/2018
-- Robert Brant, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 09/04/2018
-- Glen Moulder, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Maze Procedure, 08/29/2018
-- James Gibson, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Maze Procedure, 08/22/2018
-- Ian McInnes, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/08/2018
-- Dale Taros, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Root Replacement, 07/25/2018
-- Travis Rodriguez, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Ross Procedure, 07/18/2018
-- Lawrence Berko, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 07/13/2018
-- Michael Mulroy, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 06/27/2018
-- Bill Davis, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 06/19/2018
-- Ashleigh Wood, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Root Replacement, David Procedure, 02/28/2018
-- Silva Oganyan, Pulmonary Valve, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 09/15/2017
-- Lonnie Parker, Aortic Valve, Median Sternotomy, Root Replacement, 01/27/2017
-- Marcella Valentine, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 11/11/2016
-- Stephen Eisen, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 01/15/2016
-- Albert Dyen, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Maze Procedure, 09/08/2015
-- Deborah Shames, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 10/22/2014
-- Anthony Pecoraro, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 01/08/2013
-- Donna Russell, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 05/11/2012
-- Judy Francis, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 04/25/2012
-- John C Mackenzie, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/17/2012
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
-- Debby Tomlinson, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 09/13/2011
-- Myrna Gaskin, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Mini Sternotomy, 05/03/2011
-- Craig Kappe, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, 08/29/2010
-- Phyllis Pivo, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Median Sternotomy, Maze Procedure, 05/26/2009
-- Surya Sastry, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, 12/10/2008
-- Tim Clackett, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini Sternotomy, 11/18/2008
-- JOHN MADDALO, Aortic Valve, Root Replacement, 11/14/2008
-- David Gray, Aortic Valve, Root Replacement, 08/22/2008
-- Mara Rabin, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 02/06/2008
-- Ed Crutchfield, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 08/22/2007
-- Adam Pick, Aortic Valve, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Replacement, Ross Procedure, 12/21/2005
-- Angel Echeverria, Aortic Valve, 05/11/2002
-- Frank Thibaudeau, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 09/21/2001
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 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
-- Tomas Medina, Aortic Valve, Transcatheter, 05/12/1995
-- Angela Kurup, Pulmonary Valve, Valve Repair, 07/05/1991
-- 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
- Dr. Starnes Patient Success Story: 17 Years After Surgery, This Happened
Page last updated: August 28, 2023