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Donald Low

Donald E. Low, FACS, FRCS(C), FRCSI (Hon), FRCS(Eng) (Hon)

Virginia Mason Medical Center
Head of Thoracic Surgery & Thoracic Oncology
Director, Esophageal Center of Excellence and Scientific Director, Ryan Hill Thoracoesophageal Research Fellowship
Seattle, WA  98101
United States
1 206 223-6164
1 206 625-7245 (fax)
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Donald Low, M.D., FACS, FRCS(C) FRCSI (Hon.) graduated from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario in 1981. Thereafter, he completed his residency in General Surgery at the University of Toronto, Ontario in 1986. From 1986-1988, he was a Thoracoesophageal Surgical Fellow at Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington.  He also successfully concluded fellowships in Thoracic Surgery in the United Kingdom in 1989 and 1990 and Lung Transplantation at Washington University, St. Louis in 1991. In 1991, he joined the Department of Surgery at Virginia Mason Medical Center, where he is currently Head of Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology.

Dr. Low’s areas of expertise include the surgical treatment of gastroesophageal reflux and esophageal motility disorders such as achalasia, esophageal cancer, pulmonary resection for malignant and benign disorders, minimally invasive thoracic and upper gastrointestinal surgery, management of pneumothorax, pleural effusions and pleural-based malignancy, hyperhidrosis and treatment of benign and malignant disorders of the chest wall, diaphragm, and mediastinum.  Dr. Low is affiliated with multiple professional organizations including the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Western Thoracic Surgical Association, General Thoracic Surgical Club, the British Esophageal Group, the International Society of Diseases of the Esophagus, the Esophageal Club, and the Western Surgical Association.  He is Associate Editor for two major surgical journals.  He is also board certified in General and Thoracic Surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons Canada and the American Board of Surgery, and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Canada and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland.




Paraesophageal Hernia

Barrett's esophagus
Esophageal Cancer
Lung Cancer
LVRS Benign Esophageal Surgery
Thoracic Oncology


  1. VMRC #07020
    Single Dose/High Volume Recombinant Tissue Plasminogen Activator Therapy in Patients with Multiloculated Intrapleural Infections.
  2. VMRC #06044
    A Prospective Comparison of Outcomes of Treatment of Barrett’s Esophagus with Early Neoplasia: Endoscopic Therapy vs. Esophagectomy.
  3. IRB #9010
    Outcomes Associated with Esophageal Resection
  4. IRB #06078 Primary Investigator
    Operative Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Respiratory Symptoms: 10-Year Follow-Up of Outcomes and Quality of Life
  5. IRB #08129 Primary Investigator
    Gastric Emptying After Esophagectomy: Correlation of Subjective and Objective Measurements of Function.
  6. IRB #09021 Primary Investigator
    Cost Effectiveness of Current Esophageal Cancer Management Strategies
  7. IRB #09010 Primary Investigator
    Outcomes Assessment of the Management of Acute Esophageal Perforation
  8. IRB #09090 Primary Investigator
    Assessment of Tumor Board’s Impact on Patient Management
  9. IRB #12113 Primary Investigator
    Outcomes in Achalasia Database
  10. In Preparation Primary Investigator
    Randomized Controlled Trial of Suppression of Perioperative Dysrhythmias with Hydrocortisone Prophylaxis for Near Total Esophagectomy.
  11. Coordinator for International Project to Standardize Complications Associated with Esophageal Resection.
    Sponsored by: STS, ESTS, SSAT, AUGIS, OESO, ISDE


  • Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario (M.D. 1981)
  • University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (Intern 1981-1982)
  • Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario (Residency 1982-1986)
  • Esophageal Fellowship, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA (1986-1988)
  • Thoracic Training:
    • Royal Devon & Exeter Hosp., UK
    • Heartlands Hospital, UK
    • Washington University St Louis USA

Practice Areas

  • General Thoracic Surgery
  • Chest Wall
  • Esophagus Guidelines
  • Lung
  • Mediastinum
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Pleura
  • Thoracic
  • Thoracic Guidelines