Since the regents approved the formation of an independent department in 2011, the Department of Cardiac Surgery has continued to move forward at an accelerating pace. In 2016 the department performed its 700th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Research in basic science and translational research continues to expand with the addition of Zhong Wang, PhD in 2013, a stem cell and epigenetics researcher specializing in heart cells, and Bo Yang, MD, PhD in 2011 who specializes in aortic surgery and stem cell research. The Section of Health Services Research and Quality (HSRQ) formed in 2012 under the leadership of Donald Likosky, PhD. In 2012, the Section of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and the Congenital Heart Center moved to the new C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. The six-year integrated surgical residency began in July 2013 where doctors enter cardiothoracic (CT) residency directly out of medical school.
Below are milestones leading up to the formation of an independent department.
- 2011: U-M Board of Regents approve a new, independent Department of Cardiac Surgery.
- 2009: The University of Michigan purchased the North Campus Research Complex, a former Pfizer Inc. property. The site includes 2 million square feet across 28 buildings and 173 acres of land.
- 2007: The Frankel Cardiovascular Center opens as a leader in collaborative care for cardiovascular diseases with specialists in cardiovascular medicine, cardiac surgery, interventional radiology, vascular surgery, critical care, and cardiac anesthesia. The Department of Cardiac Surgery took the opportunity to mark the occasion by celebrating its history through writing: Michigan's Century of Cardiovascular Excellence.
- 1998: The Section of Thoracic Surgery is reorganized into two administratively automatous academic sections, the Cardiac Surgery with Sections of Adult and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, and the Section of General Thoracic Surgery.
- 1991: Dr. Edward Bove publishes a new standard for survival in infants undergoing surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
- 1988: First Total Artificial Heart implanted at the University of Michigan.
- 1984: Dr. William O'Neill performs the world's first coronary atherectomy.
- 1968: Dr. Donald Kahn performs the U-M’s first coronary artery bypass graft surgery, as well as the first heart transplant.
- 1967: Heart lung machine, created in collaboration of Dr. Herbert Sloan and engineer Richard Sarns, is the machine used in the first human heart transplant in Cape Town, South Africa.
- 1961: Drs. Richard D. Judge and Joe D. Morris implant a pacemaker transthoracically.
- 1960: Dr. Herbert Sloan performs the first successful pediatric open-heart surgery in Michigan.
- 1950: Dr. Herbert Sloan and associates perform a successful repair of an aortic aneurysm.
- 1928: Dr. John Alexander created the first formal two-year Thoracic Surgery Residency in the United States at the University of Michigan
- 1925: A new hospital designed by Albert Khan is built in which the Heart Station is established.
- 1909: Dr. Albion Walter Hewlett advocates for the value of the electrocardiogram as a diagnostic tool.
- 1871: James B. Angell becomes president of the U-M. By the 1880s he has set up the first university hospital in the U.S.
- 1848: The University of Michigan establishes its medical school.
For more milestones, see the Cardiovascular Center timeline.