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Thoracic surgical procedures at Vienna General Hospital were first performed in the 1950s at the 2nd Surgical Department.

In 1994, the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery was founded (headed by Prof. Wolner) and the thoracic surgical profile underwent a continuous upgrade, mainly driven by the senior physicians Walter Klepetko, Michael Müller and Franz Eckersberger.

In 2010, the thoracic surgery became an independent clinical division under the direction of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Walter Klepetko. Subsequently, the divison continued to develop into an international reference center for complex thoracic surgical procedures, advanced oncological operations and a world-leading lung transplant center.

As of January 1st, 2021 the Department of Thoracic Surgery was founded and designated as the first thoracic surgical university department in Austria. After temporary management by Prof. Konrad Hoetzenecker, the department is now chaired by Prof. Clemens Aigner since July 1st, 2023.