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Brian Bethea, M.D.

Assistant Professor
Cardio Thoracic Surgery

Meet Dr. Brian Bethea

Brian Bethea, M.D., has deep roots in cardiac care: His father is a cardiologist in Oklahoma, so he learned about matters of the heart at an early age and eventually joined the family business.

In the next 10 years, people will be stunned at the things we can do via small incisions and catheters. The more minimally invasive we get, the better it is for patients.”

An Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Bethea is board certified in general and thoracic surgery and performs adult cardiac procedures in patients with valvular, aortic, and chronic heart failure.

He specializes in minimally invasive valve surgery, catheter-based therapies (TAVR and TEVAR), aortic root surgery, and LVAD surgery. With TAVR, he can replace or repair heart valves by threading a catheter through the femoral artery in the thigh, thereby avoiding open-heart surgeries, which require dividing the entire breastbone.

“Cosmetically, small-incision valve surgery is more appealing to patients. They typically have less pain, recover faster, and go home sooner than with traditional surgery,” he says.

Dr. Bethea is passionate about research. As one of UT Southwestern’s Clinical Scholars, he is studying the relationship between pulmonary hypertension and right-sided heart failure in patients with ventricular assist devices.

He believes that successful outcomes require a team effort, with patients being the key decision makers and family members providing a supporting role. He does his part in surgery, and he expects patients to do theirs by rehabbing appropriately and following their recommended diet and exercise program.

“The operations we perform can be lifesaving or life-restoring,” he says. “We can get patients back to where they were before they ever became sick.”