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Katherine Klein, MD

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Cardiothoracic Surgery


Ambulatory Care Center
417 N. 11th Street
Richmond, VA 23219




Medical School

University of Toledo College of Medicine


University of Toledo Medical Center


Virginia Commonwealth University


University of Michigan, surgical critical care


A passion for heart care at every beat

The prospect of heart surgery is scary. Dr. Kate Klein knows that. That’s why, beyond being a skilled and knowledgeable surgeon, she believes it is important to get to know the patient as a person, hear their concerns, and walk them through treatment options — which may, or may not, include surgery.

“Getting to care for a patient in some of their sickest, scariest moments is a real honor, and it is one of the greatest privileges to help alleviate concerns or make a real change in someone’s life,” says Dr. Klein. “Together, we are going to review your options, decide how to best move forward, and go over the details of the decision.”

As a cardiothoracic surgeon, she chose one of the most demanding surgical specialties, requiring a lifelong dedication to “be the best you can be,” says Dr. Klein. She is part of a growing team at VCU Health focused on treating those with advanced heart failure, which is diagnosed in more than 670,000 people each year. In addition to HF, she treats an array of other cardiac conditions, including blocked vessels or abnormal valves. She specializes in advanced therapies, including heart transplantation and implanting assistive mechanical devices that help pump blood to the rest of the body.

The field of cardiac surgery has advanced significantly in recent years, allowing for fewer “open” procedures or those requiring a cardiopulmonary bypass (where a machine takes over heart and lung function) in lieu of minimally invasive techniques performed with small instruments, cameras, and resulting in faster recovery and less scarring. Clinical studies are also advancing HF therapy with more medications and smaller implantable devices.

“Our operations demand perfection and the willingness to learn, grow, and be humble that you get to have the best job in the world,” she says. “The most rewarding part of my job is getting to know the patients and their families and seeing how our treatment plan has changed their lives.”

Dr. Klein also notes that being a heart surgeon requires taking care of the whole person, not merely a single organ. “You can’t just fix the heart without also understanding the rest of the body, and how it all works together,” she says. “Cardiac surgery allows me to have a technically challenging job that is ever-changing and focused on making patient’s lives better.”

Dr. Klein joined VCU Health after completing a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at VCU Medical Center, where she also spent six months at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center treating veterans and four months at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for a complete immersion into the field of congenital heart surgery. VCU’s accredited three-year fellowship is designed to enhance knowledge of the anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of cardiovascular, respiratory and upper gastrointestinal diseases.

“During my fellowship, it became even more clear that VCU Health takes great pride and accomplishment in caring for the most complex patients, and is able to provide excellent, comprehensive services to a wide range of patients from many backgrounds,” she says. “It is that reason that I chose to stay on at VCU Health and continue the long tradition of pursuing surgical advancement and excellence.”


Advice to new patients: “Stay informed, ask questions, and bring someone with you to the appointments who can listen, take notes, and provide support.”


Research interests: Heart Failure, both right ventricle and mechanical replacement with total artificial hearts. She also hopes to work on research focused on anticoagulation (blood-clotting) management for long-term indwelling  (implanted inside the body) mechanical support.



Ambulatory Care Center

417 N. 11th Street
Richmond, VA 23219

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