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Our Cardiothoracic Surgeons

Summa’s cardiothoracic surgeons are members of Summa Cardiovascular Institute (SCVI) – 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). 

Members of SCVI 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 and vascular intensive care units.

In addition to surgeries of the lung and esophagus, some of the procedures performed by Summa cardiothoracic surgeons include:

  • Cornonary artery bypass graft (CABG)
  • Aortic valve replacement
  • Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), also known as TAVR
  • 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.

  • Fellowship trained at Ohio State University Hospitals
  • Board-certified in Thoracic Surgery
  • Specializes in thoracic surgery
  • Primary location: Summa Akron City Hospital

Robert F. Debski, M.D.

  • Fellowship trained at Hospitals of University of Pittsburgh
  • Board-certified in Thoracic Surgery
  • Specializes in cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, thoracic surgery and cardiology
  • Primary location: Summa Barberton Hospital

Eric A. Espinal, M.D.

  • Fellowship trained at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Board-certified in Thoracic Surgery
  • Specializes in minimally invasive and robotic cardiothoracic surgery
  • Instrumental in bringing minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery to the Akron area
  • Nationally recognized leader in minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery techniques
  • Primary location: Summa Akron City Hospital

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.

  • Fellowship trained at The Ohio State Medical Center
  • Board-certified in Thoracic Surgery
  • Completed an advanced clinical fellowship in cardiac transplantation, heart failure and mechanical support
  • 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
  • Primary location: Summa Akron City Hospital

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