For over 40 years, Marc de Leval has practiced pediatric cardiothoracic surgery in London. Throughout that time, he has had a close association with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), starting with his two-year time as a Graham Traveling Fellow (1973-1974). Retired from Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), today de Leval is a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Harley Street Clinic and Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of London.
A native of Belgium, de Leval was fascinated with the developing field of cardiothoracic surgery. He decided to become a heart surgeon, but there was no program in his home country. He applied for a Graham Fellowship hoping to study management of complex congenital malformations at the Mayo Clinic.
de Leval was exposed to surgery during the day and the intensive care unit at night. It was the early days of the Fontan operation — one of de Leval’s future research interests. He studied with Gordon Danielson, Dwight McGoon, and Robert Wallace. Dr. McGoon inspired de LeVal’s research on the role of human factors on surgery outcomes.
After his fellowship, de Leval was appointed Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) in London — one of the world’s leading children's hospitals. de Leval created GOSH’s heart and heart/lung pediatric transplantation program in the late 1980s. In 2002, he was named its Chair/Cardio-respiratory and Critical Care Division. He retired in 2006.
de Leval’s many clinical activities have included contributing to the development of infant and neonatal cardiac surgery (1970s) and developing surgical techniques to repair complex cardiac malformations, particularly single ventricle management of congenital heart diseases. He also served as President of the British Congenital Cardiac Association.
de Leval’s academic work has been extensive. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Leuven in his native Belgium and Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of London. In addition, he has shared his knowledge as a regular faculty member in the UK and abroad, as well as a recurring speaker and visiting professor. de Leval has over 300 publications, 70 book chapters, and co-authored Surgery for Congenital Heart Defects.
de Leval has said that his successful career “…would not have happened without the Evarts Graham Fellowship.” That award was the just the beginning of his “fascinating association” with AATS.
He has been an integral part of our mission of driving leadership, learning, and innovation. de Leval has presented papers at the AATS Annual Meeting and given lectures at the Annual Postgraduate Course on Congenital Heart Diseases, serving as its co-director in 2006. He also was on the journal editorial board for two terms and a member of the Evarts Graham Fellowship Committee.
AATS has recognized de Leval’s contributions to the organization by naming him Annual Meeting Honored Guest Lecturer and the recipient of the 2011 Scientific Achievement Award.