Cardiothoracic Surgery

John H. Calhoon, MD

Professor and Chair

Personal Statement:

Dr. Calhoon is both a congenital and adult cardiac surgeon. Only a few surgeons in the country have these combined areas of interest and ability. He takes pride in clear and genuine communication concerning each patients care to the best of his ability. He enjoys performing complex neonatal and congenital heart repairs in cases of all sizes and ages. The team he leads is known nationally and internationally for their results and care. Specific areas he excels and is considered by many to master are:

  • Complex aortic root reconstruction and replacement
  • Complex (often reoperative) coronary artery bypass
  • Treating severe heart valve and heart infections with surgery.
  • Tracheal and bronchial injury or tumor surgery and management
  • Ross Procedure and complications of the same (reconstruction of failed prior Ross autograft operations)

Dr. Calhoon obtained his medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas in 1981. He is Board Certified in Thoracic Surgery and Congenital Cardiac Surgery. He joined the group in 1989 and is Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. His interests and expertise include complex congenital heart surgery; heart and lung transplantation; complex adult cardiac surgery; the Ross procedure; less invasive cardiac surgery, and improving education and patient care. Nationally, he has served as President of the TSDA, President of the STSA, President of the TSF and is the former President of the STS. He was elected a Director of the ABTS and ultimately became its Chair. Locally, he has been Chairman of the Dominion Country Club, and President of the local AHA affiliate. He is a founder and now Emeritus Board Member of HeartGift San Antonio, an organization that sponsors charitable lifesaving congenital heart repair on kids from around the globe. Aside from the humbling professional honors above, he is very proud to have been selected as an Outstanding Young Texas Ex from the University of Texas. His greatest success was in finding, successfully courting, and marrying his wife, Ms. Sarah Lucero, a former award-winning local television journalist and anchor who now focuses on her own fitness and wellness brand and provides personal communications expertise through her company “Spotlight with Sarah”. They are proud of their children Satchel, Stetson, Seve and James.


MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 1981

N/A, University of Texas, Austin, TX, 1978


As an academic clinical surgeon with an interest in several areas, research has always been tied to these. When first on the faculty, blessed with mentors such as Fred Grover and Kent Trinkle, effort was directed to questions surrounding lung transplantation clinically and to collaborating with the animal lab of Dr. Charles Bryan as we looked at question of lung reperfusion/ischemia response and ways to prevent it clinically. This area of interest persists as we continue to expand the clinical success of our lung transplant program under the direction of Division Head and Surgical Lung Transplant Chair, Dr. Scott Johnson. A few years later, a strong interest in congenital heart surgery and ties to the UT Austin Biomedical Engineering department, led to a collaboration with Dr. Akif Ündar whose research our Department sponsored with clinical revenue and grants from the private sector in terms of CPB support equipment and a pulsatile pump that we helped develop. This led to very fruitful collaboration with Dr. Ross Ungerleider at Duke by Dr Ündar, Dr. Ungerleider and I to investigate pulsatile bypass in a neonatal piglet model. More recently, our group has benefited from the support of a number of Grateful donors that has led to an active Rodent Pulmonary Transplant effort. In partnership with Pulmonary Medicine, and researchers from UT Austin, we have piloted the use of inhaled nanoparticle immunosuppression techniques. This work, led by Dr. Johnson, is excellent and appears to have NIH funding potential which we are making efforts to achieve. Other areas of interest are an active clinical research effort led by Dr. Clint Baisden and investigation of the correlation of IL-18 with myocardial hypertrophy with Dr. Reddy and others. Our group has published around 100 papers over the past four years.

Clinical interests:

Ross Procedure, Heart and Lung Transplantation, Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery, Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, Complex Adult and Adult Congenital Heart Surgery, Tracheal Reconstruction, Pediatric Pulmonary Surgery, Pulsatile CPB, Education, and life balance

Awards & Accomplishments

2011 – Tiki Award winner, STSA, Outstanding slide of meeting 2011 – Chair, American Board of Thoracic Surgery Numerous top doctors, top surgeons, and outstanding doctor awards – nearly two decades – local, regional, and national 2005 – Honored as the March 2005 National Kidney Foundation of South and Central Texas, Gift of Life Gala Award 2009 – Founded and selected Chair – Department of CT Surgery, UT Health San Antonio 2004 – UT Health San Antonio Calhoon President’s Council Chair for Excellence in Surgery 2004 – Elected Director of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery 2004 – UT Health San Antonio Presidential Clinical Excellence Award 2002 – Osler-Abbott Award- STSA meeting (voted most notable discussant at annual meeting) 2000 – “Outstanding Faculty” Award, UT Health San Antonio Medical Class of 2000 2000 – Nominated candidate for the “2000 Presidential Award for Excellence” in teaching 1997 – Gender Equity Award for Clinical Medical Education Finalist 1997 – Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award (one of four University Texas alumni selected / year to honorary status) 1995 – “One of the Most Productive Members” of The Society of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery, Aldo R. Castaneda Society 1994 – Selected as Faculty recipient to AOA membership by UT Health San Antonio Chapter 1992 – Outstanding Service, American Heart Association 1986 – Outstanding Resident, Graduating Class Medical School 1986 – J. Bradley Aust Prize Essayist, Aust Society Meeting


Chief Pediatric Harvard Medical School, Cardiovascular Resident, Boston Children’s Hospital, 1988 Chief Resident, UT Health Science Center, Cardiothoracic Surgery, San Antonio, Texas, 1987-1988 Senior Resident, UT Health Science Center, Cardiothoracic Surgery, San Antonio, Texas, 1986-1987 Chief Resident, UT Health Science Center, General Surgery, San Antonio, Texas, 1985-1986 Resident, UT Health Science Center, General Surgery, San Antonio, Texas, 1981-1985

Board Certifications:

American Board of Surgery, 1987 American Board Thoracic Surgery, 1989 Congenital Cardiac Surgery, 2009


American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Alpha Omega Alpha Society, Texas Epsilon Chapter, American College of Surgeons – Fellow, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Aldo R. Castaneda Society, Aust Society


Holler B, Forgione DA, Baisden CE, Abramson DA, Calhoon JH. Interactive Financial Decision Support for Clinical Research Trials. J Health Care Finance 2011, Apr;37(3):25-37.

Woodward CS, Son MG, Calhoon JH, Michalek JE, Husain SA. Sternal wound infections in pediatric congenital cardiac surgery: a survey of incidence and preventative practice. Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2011, Mar,91:799-804

Reddy VS, Calhoon JH. Cardiothoracic Surgery Education: The Ideal Platform for Tomorrow’s Surgeon, Texas Heart Institute Journal 2010, Nov;37(6):656-657

Propper BW, Gifford SM, Calhoon JH, McNeil JD. Wartime thoracic injury: perspectives in modern warfare. Ann Thorac Surg 2010 Apr;89(4):1032-1035.

Fann JI, Calhoon JH, Carpenter AJ, Merrill WH, Brown JW, Poston RS, Kalani M, Murray GF, Hicks GL,Feins RH. Simulation in coronary artery anastomosis early in cardiothoracic surgical residency training: the Boot Camp experience. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2010 May;139(5):1275-1281.

Salazar JD, Coleman, RD, Griffith, S, McNeil JD, Young, H, Calhoon JH, Serrano, F, DiGeronimo R. Brain preservation with selective cerebral perfusion for operations requiring circulatory arrest: protection at 25C is similar to 18C with shorter operating times, Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2009 Sep;36(3):524-531.

Salazar, JD, Coleman RD, Griffith S, McNeil JD, Steigelman M, Young H, Hensler B, Dixon P, Calhoon JH, Serrano F, DiGeronoimo R. Selective cerebral perfusion: real-time evidence of brain oxygen and energy metabolism preservation. Ann Thorac Surg 2009 Jul;88(1):162-169.

Reddy VS, Harskamp RE, van Ginkel MW, Calhoon JH, Baisden CE, Kim IS, Valente AJ, Chandrasekar B. Interleukin-18 stimulates fibronectin expression in primary human cardiac fibroblasts via PI3K-Akt-dependent NF-kappaB activation. J Cell Physiol 2008 Jun;215(3):697-707.

Harskamp, VE, McNeil JD, van Ginkel MW, Bastos RB, Baisden CE, Calhoon JH. Postoperative internal thoracic artery spasm after coronary artery bypass grafting. Ann Thorac Surg 2008 Feb;85(2):647-649 Bastos R, Calhoon JH, Baisden CE. Flail chest and pulmonary contusion. Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2008 Jan;20(1)39-45

Martinez D, Johnson S, Miller OL, Calhoon JH. Acute Traumatic Aortic Transection, In: Kaiser LR, Kron, IL, Spray TL. Mastery of Cardiothoracic Surgery, 2nd Edition, Chapter 59, Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2007 Johnson SB; Deel J; Khandhar S; Presser E; Calhoon JH: Transplantation Emergencies: Cardiac and Lung Transplantation In: Johnson SB; Deel J; Khandhar S; Presser E; Calhoon JH: Essential Emergency Medicine: For the Healthcare Practitioner, Steven W. Slayer, Gen. Ed. Fort Worth, TX: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. p. 1147 – 1167

Khandhar S. Johnson SB Calhoon JH. Overview of Thoracic Trauma in the United States Thoracic Surgery Clinics: Thoracic Trauma 2007 Feb;17(1):1-10.