Professor and Chairman. Yasushi Sakata

Deliver new cardiovascular medical services from Osaka to patients
around the world

The Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine was created by combining the Departments of Cardiology in three departments of Internal Medicine during the spring 2005 departmental reorganization. Dr. Masatsugu Hori was welcomed into this new department as the first professor, followed by Dr. Issei Komuro. They have played a central role in developing Japan’s cardiovascular treatment methods. I, Yasushi Sakata, am now joining as the third professor. I intend to apply all my abilities to ensure cardiovascular treatments for both the Osaka region and throughout Japan, as well as deliver new cardiovascular treatments developed in Osaka to patients around the world.

Clinical Practice: Providing Conscientious Treatments Based on a Sense of Duty as Japan’s Last Line of Defense for Cardiovascular Medicine

The Department of Cardiovascular Medicine forms the Osaka Cardiovascular Conference with more than 30 hospitals, including the Osaka University Hospital. The members of this division fully cooperate and act as a unified team to support cardiovascular treatments for patients from the Hanshin area to the Kansai area.

At the Osaka University Hospital, we provide 24-hour medical treatment while coordinating with the advanced emergency and critical care center for all cardiovascular patients, including patients with serious illnesses such as heart failure, arrhythmia, and coronary artery disease. This department is primarily reputed for its treatment of many critically ill patients. As a certified transplant facility, the department handles cases of acute heart failure and severe forms of complex coronary artery disease across Japan. In addition, the department has some of Japan’s leading percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) specialists. Consequently, we can treat patients who have complex coronary artery lesions, such as total occlusion lesions. We treat these patients to the best of our abilities, given our sense of duty as Japan’s last line of defense for cardiovascular medicine. We established the Heart Center in 2007 in close collaboration with the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery and are treating severe heart failure and the percutaneous treatment of valve diseases through the principle of providing optimal treatment across departmental boundaries.

Going forward, I hope to secure regional medical treatment through further cooperation with the Osaka Cardiovascular Division’s member hospitals, including the University Hospital, by having each member hospital take full advantage of their areas of specialization and by connecting closely with local doctors. Furthermore, I will actively strive to introduce the latest medical treatment methods to the Osaka Cardiovascular Conference.

Research: Aiming for Truly Personalized Treatments by Understanding Diseases

Our department has conducted basic, clinical, and epidemiological research of unprecedented quality. Our basic research aims to clarify the pathology of heart failure, the mechanisms for arteriosclerosis, and the molecular mechanisms for vascular diseases. Many reports focused on cardiovascular issues in regenerative medicine are currently being published. With regard to clinical research, published research at the University Hospital has focused on clues obtained from careful observation of patients to solve clinical problems without being constrained by previously held “common-sense” perspectives. The Cardiovascular Conference, as a whole, has also published many papers, presented research results at domestic and international conferences, and is conducting high-level clinical research. We are currently establishing a new research organization and expect all members of the Cardiovascular Division to participate. This organization will undertake clinical research emphasizing on-site problems.

The final objective of the research is to establish new treatment methods and treat patients who have previously not been able to receive help. However, to do this, it is necessary to understand the nature of diseases by carefully observing information transmitted by the patient, from the micro to the macro level, and connect this data to foundational research, such as animal testing and disease modeling with iPS cells. Therefore, our entire department will continue to focus on providing personalized treatment for each individual patient.

Education: Cultivating Doctors and Medical Scientists Active on the World Stage

Our department also actively strives to provide education throughout the Cardiovascular Conference. The University Hospital emphasizes not only lectures but also experiential and problem-based learning, such as one-day training courses for catheter examinations, outpatient examinations, echocardiography, and cardiac rehabilitation. The University Hospital also provides opportunities for case studies and organizes comprehensive study sessions for clinical clerkships. We have created opportunities for candidates to study the implementation of medical treatments at the hospitals where their clinical professors practice. During the candidates’ post-graduation training, they have opportunities to learn about highly advanced medicine at the University Hospital, in addition to training as fully-developed cardiovascular specialists—not just for general knowledge and methods—given the superior standards of each hospital in the Cardiovascular Division.

Going forward, we will continue to put even more effort into education, emphasizing on the cultivation of human resources. It is my desire to cultivate powers of observation in others so that they can acquire a logical way of thinking, beginning from their time as students, and make judgments based on firsthand information, which is increasingly difficult to do in this modern era that is overflowing with information. It is my desire to cultivate a spirit of inquiry that seeks to solve questions through research. Furthermore, we are establishing an environment wherein students will become doctors and medical scientists who have accumulated experience and acquired knowledge through studies abroad, thereby enabling them to remain active on the world stage. We encourage students to learn foreign languages and develop presentation abilities in order to refine their internationalism. Of course, this must be something that follows the spirit of holistic medical treatment.

In this way, I hope to develop a unified and cooperative team through advanced clinical practices, research, and education, thereby enabling the Osaka Cardiovascular Conference to deliver new treatments across the world. I thank you all for your guidance and encouragement going forward.