==Professor Masud Ahmed Cheema== new article content ...

""Professor Masud Ahmed Cheema"" is one of the pioneers of cardiac surgery in Pakistan. He made phenomenal contributions in terms of developing new institutions, motivating and training young surgeons and developing indigenous surgical techniques for the repair of rheumatic mitral valve disease.

Early Life, Education & Career

Prof. Masud Ahmed Cheema was born on 20th April, 1938 in the district Sialkot of Pakistan. He did his matriculation from Central Model School, Lahore and joined Government College Lahore from where he did his FSc. He then joined King Edward Medical College (now KE Medical University) in Lahore and did MBBS in 1960. Immediately, after graduating he went on to serve as a General Duty Medical officer (GDMO) with a rank of Captain in the medical core of the Pakistan Army. After serving as a GDMO in the Pak Army from 1960-1965, Dr Cheema was selected for training in general surgery for a period of one year. After completion of his surgical training, he went on to serve for 5 year tenure (1966-1971) as a graded surgical specialist. In March of 1971 he went to UK to pursue his FRCS degree and training in cardiothoracic surgery. Dr Cheema was admitted as a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (UK) after passing his fellowship exam in 1972. Meanwhile, he trained in cardiothoracic surgery till October 1973. After his return to Pakistan, he was appointed as a Cardiac Surgeon at the Military Hospital (MH), Rawalpindi. He served at MH Rawalpindi till 1977. After getting a honorable discharge from the army in 1977, Dr Cheema went on to serve his alma mater King Edward Medical College (KEMC) as Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery. It is quite amazing that at a time when in the developed world cardiac surgery was gaining its ground as a rapidly emerging specialty, a surgeon in Pakistan was performing complex cardiac surgical procedures with comparable results.

In 1983, Dr Cheema became Professor Cheema and served KEMC for another 7 years. Professor Cheema was awarded the honorary fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan in 1990. The same year Professor Cheema became the head of department of cardiac surgery and chief surgeon at the newly developed dedicated cardiac centre in Lahore, Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC). The PIC was first dedicated cardiac center in the Province of Punjab and Professor Cheema along with Professor Muhammad Zubair were the main architects of its idea. After serving the people of Pakistan in various capacities in the field of surgery and cardiac surgery for four decades, he retired on the 29th of April 1998.

In the post retirement era Professor Cheema was called upon by the Punjab government to advise, assist and direct the various cardiac centers under development. He served as Professor Emeritus at PIC and also supervised young pediatric surgeons at Children Hospital Lahore. Another major contribution of Professor Cheema is the stewardship of [Multan Institute of Cardiology]]. The plan of Multan Institute of Cardiology was incepted as early as 1991 but failed to materialize till 2003 when its revised plan was finally approved. [1]. Even at that time the projects appeared to be a non-starter [2]. At this critical time the Government deiced to appoint Professor Cheema as its Project Director in 2003. He cleared all the administrative and technical snags, accomplished it construction work, hired man power and made it functional in less than two years when its outpatients department started [3]. Professor Cheema hired best cardiologists and cardiac surgeons form Pakistan and abroad to make it a centre of excellence aiming for cardiac transplant procedures [4]. The named of the center was later changed as Ch. Pervez Elahi Institute of Cardiology [5]. Professor Cheema retired from this assignment in 2007 and the center is currently recognized as one of the largest institutions of cardiology in Pakistan performing over 5000 angiographies and over 1500 open heart surgeries today [6].


His chief distinction will always be the introduction, development and promotion of a new specialty i.e. cardiac surgery in Pakistan. Prof Cheema was the Dean of Cardiac surgery of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan (CPSP) from 1991 to 1996. He was also the Dean of thoracic surgery of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan from 1994 to 1996. Also he was the convener and the chief examiner for the cardiac surgery and thoracic surgery examinations of CPSP. The Pakistan Society of Cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons (PSCVTS) was founded in 1991 and was initially devoted to the practice of cardiac surgery. Prof. MA Cheema along with pioneers like Prof. Muhammad Rehman, Brig. Masud ur Rehman Kiani, Prof. Jawad Sajid khan, Professor Ifthikar Hussain Rathor introduced cardiac surgery and it is due to their visionary efforts the number of cardiothoracic surgeons has steadily increased in Pakistan. Professor Cheema also served as President of PSCVTS.

He has been a member of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery of Great Britain and Ireland. Prof Cheema has also been a council member of the Association of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons of Asia. He also founded national societies to increase the awareness of heart diseases n Pakistan like the Heart Association of Lahore and Cardiac Surgery Society of Lahore, Pakistan.

Prof Cheema was the chairman and convener of the 14th Biennial Asian Congress on Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery held in Lahore in 1999[1]. He also served as the President of the Association of Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgeons of Asia [2]. Professor Cheema commands great respect amongst his contemporary colleagues, juniors, trainees and students. However, his tireless effort and great services to humanity have yet to be recognized by the higher echelons of the government.

He has been an excellent motivator and trainer. It is his unique pride that three main institutes of cardiac surgery have his former trainees as Professor and Head of Cardiac Surgery namely Professor Raja Pervez Akhtar (Executive Director of Faisal Abad Institute of Cardiology)[7], Professor Haider Zaman (Chief Cardiac Surgeon at Multan Institute of Cardiology) [8] and Professor Anjum Jalal (Chief Cardiac Surgeon at Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology) [9].

Contributions to the Field of Cardiovascular Surgery in Pakistan

""Repair of Rheumatic Mitral Valves""

The south-asian region is badly affected by the rheumatic heart disease. A large number of patients suffering from rheumatic valve disease are young kids. The valve replacement in these young patients has very bad long term implications [10]. The problems had several social and psychological dimensions as large number of these patients were generally young women of child bearing age in whom long term anticoagulation was a major hazard of valve replacement [11] [3]. Unfortunately, the valve repair was deemed inappropriate in these patients. Realizing the magnitude of this problem in Pakistan Professor Cheema started working on valve repair in these patients. He developed his original techniques for descaling of mitral valve leaflets using the dental instruments. He reported his exceptional results in several articles. To reduce the cost of treatment he developed his own technique of mitral valve annuloplasty using a strip of PTFE. Later-on he improvised a PTFE ring for such repair [12]. In his life time he successfully performed thousands of mitral valve repairs and trained several surgeons in the art of this complex surgery. This brought a paradigm shift in the surgery of rheumatic mitral valves in Pakistan. He has reported his results of mitral valve surgery in these difficult patients using novel techniques and approaches [13][4].

""Surgery of Congenital Heart Disease""

Second major contribution of Professor Cheema is in the field of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery. This again was a daunting area where challenges were to big and rewards were non-existing in the early day of 80s and 90s. Professor Cheema started operating upon children with holes in their hearts including Atrial septal defect and Ventricular Septal Defect as early as late 70s. In 1980s he operated upon many kids with Tetralogy of Fallot. This laid the foundation of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in Pakistan. In 1994 he did first Cavo-pulmonary shunt i.e. Bidirectional Glenn Procedure at Punjab Institute of Cardiology. As early as 1994-99 he performed several repairs of Atrial spetal defects through a small anterolateral thoracotomy in young girls for beter cosmetic results [14] . This in fact was preliminary form of minimal access cardiac surgery those days. Hundreds of kids who underwent heart surgery by him have gown up to mid-age, married, have had their own kids and are living healthy lives today.

""Surgery for Portal Hypertension""

Portal hypertension due to long standing diseases of liver was considered as one of the no-go areas for surgeons. The patients with portal hypertension live miserable lives with attacks of vomiting blood and attacks of unconsciousness. One of the strategies to treat this conditions is to re-route the blood from portal circulation to systemic circulation. Before the development of endoscopic procedures, this involved surgical removal of Spleen and connecting its vein to the veins coming from the left kidney a procedure variously called as Portosystemic shunt, Waren Shunt or Lino-renal shunt . The operation has many technical challenges. Professor Cheema started doing these Portosystemic shunts in 1970s with exceptional results. He remained an authority in this field. In fact no surgeon could take up this burden after him.

Personal life

Professor Cheema has been a fitness advocate throughout his career. He is member of Adventure Foundation Pakistan an avid hiker, and swimmer. He is quiet skilled in rowing and playing tennis. He loves to travel, study history and write on various aspects and issues of life. Prof Cheema likes to spend his evenings at the Lahore Gymkhana Club. Like all patriotic Pakistanis he reveres great poet philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Reading poetry of Iqbal and Rumi is one of his passions. The dynamism and optimism of Professor Cheema's personality has its roots in the teachings of Iqbal. This unfaltering optimism has pushed the frontiers of cardiac surgery in Pakistan. Throughout his career he emphasized that

"The Value of a Good Deed is Never Lost".


  10. Akhtar, R. P., Abid, A. R., Zafar, H., Sheikh, S. S., Cheema, M. A., & Khan, J. S. (2007). Prosthetic valve replacement in adolescents with rheumatic heart disease. Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals, 15(6), 476-481.
  11. Akhtar, R. P., Abid, A. R., Zafar, H., Cheema, M. A., & Khan, J. S. (2007). Anticoagulation in pregnancy with mechanical heart valves: 10-year experience. Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals, 15(6), 497-501.
  12. Akhtar, R. P., & Cheema, M. A. (2000). Rheumatic Mitral Valve Annuloplasty with Polytetrafluoroethylene Ring. Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals, 8(3), 227-230.
  13. Cheema, M. A., & Jalal, A. (1996). Trans-septal approach to the mitral valve. The Asia Pacific Journal of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery, 5(1), 25-27.
  14. Pasha, T., & Cheema, M. A. (1999). Right Anterolateral Thoracotomy for Repair of Atrial Septal Defects in Young Female Patients. Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals, 7(1), 46-48.

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