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Dr. Aitchison is a UK certified Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon with great clinical exposure, he helped to set up the new Thoracic Surgery Service at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City Hospital (SSMC) with Mayo Clinic in Abu Dhabi. He was previously Head of Thoracic Surgery at SSMC and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor in Surgery at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi. Dr. Aitchison previously worked as Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and has four years’ experience working within the UAE. Prior to this Dr Aitchison worked at The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre, Basildon Hospital, England for twelve years as a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Lead for Thoracic Surgery , where he set up their successful minimal access lung cancer surgery service.

His medical expertise includes adult cardiac and thoracic surgery. Cardiac surgery includes coronary artery bypass grafts (on and off pump), aortic valve replacement, surgery of the aorta. Thoracic surgery includes lung cancer surgery (minimal access including uniportal surgery and thoracotomy where necessary), emergency rib and sternal fixation for major trauma, pleural disease (empyema, pneumothorax surgery), chest wall resection and reconstruction for tumours, mediastinal tumour excision including thymectomy, mediastinoscopy, rigid and flexible bronchoscopy, Endobronchial Ultrasound-Guided Sampling (EBUS), lung nodule excision, lung metastasectomy. Thoracic surgery is performed minimal access (thoracoscopy, VATS) where possible.
In addition, Dr Aitchison is a member of the Thoracic Surgery Chapter of Emirates Thoracic Society (ETS) and of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (UK) along with Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Dr. Aitchison received First Class Honours for his bachelor of medical sciences degree in Cardiac Electrophysiology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK, and the medical degrees of MBBS the following year.

He completed House Officer posts at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne and trained in general surgery in the North-Eastern region, receiving the FRCS from both London and Edinburgh along with the G B Ong medal for the highest FRCS(Edinburgh) examination mark. He trained in cardiothoracic surgery on the Northern Regional Rotation at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle and James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough as well as at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge.

He received a research MD with distinction on Lung Transplantation from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, receiving both the Garfield Weston Trust and the Royal College of Surgeons of England Augustus Newman Research Fellowship Awards. He undertook a senior clinical fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at Barnes Jewish and Christian Hospital North-East with Washington University in St. Louis, USA.

Dr James received his FRCS in Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2006 and Certificate of Completion of Training UK (CCT PMETB) in 2007. He received a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 2019. He was Negotiating Committee Chair and Foundation (two-year UK internship) Programme Director for Basildon Hospital, along with Deputy Foundation Programme Director for his region in England.

He has publications on cardiac and thoracic surgical topics in eminent journals including: Transplantation, Heart, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Journal of Cancer and Tumour International and an abstract in Circulation.


Special Interests:

Thoracic Surgery

● Lung cancer surgery – lobectomy, segmentectomy, pneumonectomy
● Uniportal video-assisted thoracic surgery
● Localization biopsy of lung masses
● Chest trauma
● Mediastinoscopy
● Mediastinal staging
● Endobronchial Ultrasound and biopsy (EBUS)
● Chest wall tumours
● Mediastinal tumours
● Thymoma
● Pneumothorax
● Decortication for empyema (pyothorax)


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