Resize Text Search
  • Call 888.293.5335
  • Doctors offering 24/7 online appointment scheduling
  • Request Cancer Appointment
  • MyChart current patient scheduling
General Inquiries

Cardiothoracic Surgery Team

Summa’s cardiothoracic surgeons are members of Summa Cardiovascular Institute – the largest cardiovascular team in the region with more than 50 members. Our medical providers use a team-based approach when repairing heart conditions due to blockages in the arteries (coronary artery disease – CAD) or heart attacks, as well as valvular heart defects and congenital abnormalities (present from birth). In addition to surgeries of the lung and esophagus, some of the procedures performed by our cardiothoracic team include coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), valve repair or replacement as well as surgery of the great vessels.

Members of the Summa Cardiovascular Institute have access to innovative clinical research trials, including new therapies for patients with deep sternal wound infections and critical limb ischemia. The team also provides post-surgical inpatient care in Summa’s cardiac intensive care vascular intensive care units, the region's only intensive care unit for patients with peripheral vascular disease.

Procedures and conditions treated by Summa cardiothoracic surgeons include:

  • Aortic valve replacement
  • Mitral valve repair and replacement
  • Ventricular lead replacement for pacemakers and defibrillators
  • Intercardiac ablation
  • Pericardial repair
  • Cardiac tumor removal

Members of Summa’s cardiothoracic surgical team include:


Robert A. Baranek, M.D. 

Primary location: Summa Akron City Hospital

Robert A. Baranek, M.D., is board-certified in Thoracic Surgery and fellowship trained at Ohio State University Hospitals. He specializes in thoracic surgery.


Robert F. Debski, M.D.

Primary location: Summa Barberton Hospital

Robert F. Debski, M.D., is board-certified in Thoracic Surgery and fellowship trained at Hospitals of University of Pittsburgh. He specializes in cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, thoracic surgery and cardiology.


Eric A. Espinal, M.D.

Primary location: Summa Akron City Hospital

Eric A. Espinal, M.D., is board-certified in Thoracic Surgery and fellowship trained at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital (Pittsburgh, PA). He specializes in minimally invasive and robotic cardiothoracic surgery. 

Dr. Espinal was instrumental in bringing minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery to the Akron area and is a nationally recognized leader in minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery techniques. 

New procedures pioneered by Dr. Espinal and his team include:

  • Robotic transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMR)
  • Multivessel “off-pump” coronary bypass surgery
  • Robotic / minimally invasive pericardial window
  • Robotic left ventricular lead placement for cardiac resynchronization therapy
  • Robotically-assisted CABG
  • Robotic mediastinal mass resection
  • Robotic thymectomy
  • Surgical management of atrial fibrillation
  • Comprehensive management of aortic root disease with new bioprostheses


Michael S. Firstenberg, M.D.

Primary location: Summa Akron City Hospital

Michael S. Firstenberg, M.D., board-certified in Thoracic Surgery and fellowship trained at The Ohio State Medical Center, completed an advanced clinical fellowship in cardiac transplantation, heart failure and mechanical support. He specializes in re-operative surgery and surgical management of coronary artery, valvular and complex aortic diseases with special interests in heart failure and high-risk patients.

For more information about Summa’s cardiothoracic surgery or our Summa Cardiovascular Institute team, contact us at (888) 219-9813.