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Professor Cem Alhan is the first and the only “Ozaki Method Trainer” in Europe


Reconstruction of a heart valve with native or autologous pericardium rather than a prosthetic valve left its mark in the history of cardiovascular surgery. Devising this novel method 12 years ago that was named after his surname, Doctor Shigeyuki Ozaki visited Turkey in order to certify Professor Cem Alhan, who traveled to Japan and learned and successfully performed the method. Dr. Ozaki answered questions of his colleagues in the live surgery carried out at Acıbadem University Atakent Hospital. He also met the Turkish patients who underwent surgery with the same technique and got well. Dr. Cumhur Alhan is a Turkish cardiovascular surgeon, who resides in London and was operated on by his brother Professor Cem Alhan due to a heart valve problem, and his vote of thanks to Japanese Doctor Ozaki pulled heartstrings of the participants. 

The diagnosis of “cancer” that was established for the Turkish Cardiovascular Surgeon Cumhur Alhan, who resides in London, turned over an unexpected leaf in his life. When he was evaluated before the anti-cancer treatment, a problem was detected in his heart valve. It was impossible to proceed to the anti-cancer treatment before this problem was corrected. Instilling hope of life to other hearts for many years, Dr. Cumhur Alhan would, this time, strive for the treatment of his heart. However, he traveled to Turkey in no time flat. Because his brother was a cardiovascular surgeon and he was sure that he would do his best for his brother in his difficult times. Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery Cem Alhan from Acıbadem Maslak Hospital informed his brother about the method that would ensure his heart beats healthily with joy of life in the way it used to be: Ozaki… 

Cardiovascular Surgeon Cumhur Alhan, M.D., was operated on with this technique that was devised by Japanese Professor Shgeyuki Ozaki, M.D. It is significantly advantageous, as the damaged heart valve is reconstructed with the pericardium of the patient or an autologous tissue without use of a prosthetic valve. Thus, there is no risk of infection or a disadvantage, such as use of blood thinners, as the body is not exposed to a foreign material. 

Professor Ozaki visited Turkey to share his experiences in a live surgery carried out at Atakent Hospital, Acıbadem University and answered questions of his colleague. The other reason of his visit was to give the trainer certificate to Professor Cem Alhan, who is a faculty member in Cardiovascular Surgery Department of Acıbadem University and Cardiovascular Surgeon in Acıbadem Maslak Hospital, to indicate that he is the only trainer for Ozaki Technique, which is performed for adults, in Europe. Thus, Professor Cem Alhan will educate and train cardiovascular surgeons, who want to learn this technique, all over Europe. 

“A vitally important method for certain patients”

Being awarded the title “the Only Ozaki Trainer of Europe”, Professor of Cardiovascular Surgeon Cem Alhan pointed out that this method is vitally important especially for too old patients, babies, infants, women who plan pregnancy and also the patients with congenital stenosis of aortic valve. This technique also resolves the problem of a future redo operation for too old or too young patients. Ozaki method saves expectant mothers from risks of serious anomalies in babies secondary to blood thinners. 

Cardiovascular Surgeon Cumhur Alhan, who is brother of Professor Cem Alhan and was diagnosed with an aortic valve problem while he was evaluated for the diagnosis of lymphoma, is also a patient who has a heart valve reconstructed with Ozaki method. Working in the U.K. for a long time, Dr. Cumhur Alhan says “He is only three years younger than me. Our father and older brother were also doctors, who inspired us. However, Cem is the golden boy of not only our family, but also this country. I trusted him very much. Therefore, I preferred to have this surgery in Turkey rather than the U.K. and my mind was totally at peace while I was leaving my life to his hands”, while Professor Cem Alhan responds “In fact, my brother leaves me far behind in his career.  First, he attended School of Mechanical Engineering in Boğaziçi University and he completed his education in the Netherlands. Next, he studied medicine and he became a cardiovascular surgeon. Later, he studied master’s degree in philosophy. He is a marvelous person and a very good brother”. 

Stating details of his brother’s operation, Professor Cem Alhan believed that Ozaki technique was the best method for him and he performed the operation based on this belief: “Undoubtedly, you feel strong emotions before the operation, if the patient is your first degree relative, but you do not think about who you operate on once anesthesia is administered and this emotional state continues until the patient is recovered from anesthesia. It was very important to have heart of my elder brother beat healthily and keep him away from potential problems that a prosthetic valve may cause. Because he will be started on anti-cancer treatment and unfortunately, it is not an innocent therapy. It challenges some organs. Therefore, it was very important to restore full capacity of his heart. We restored his cardiac health thanks to Ozaki method. Now, it is time for other treatments…” Undergoing an aortic valve surgery one year ago, Dr. Cumhur Alhan is still maintained on treatment of lymphoma. 

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