Michael Wait, M.D., is a Professor in the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Department at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He serves as the Surgical Director of the Lung Transplant Program, as well as Chief of the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Service at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital and Parkland Hospital. 

Dr. Wait holds a degree in biology from Baylor University, and he earned his medical degree at UT Southwestern, where he also completed residencies in internal medicine, general surgery, and thoracic and cardiovascular surgery. 

Certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, he joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1993. 

In addition to his surgical and administrative roles, he serves actively on the Heart and Lung Selection committees, the Parkland Surgical Chiefs Committee, the Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the Parkland OR Committee.

Dr. Wait has authored numerous book chapters and dozens of articles on cardiothoracic care. 

He has been included in D Magazine's Best Doctors list multiple times and was named a Super Doctor by Texas Monthly in 2018.

Dr. Wait is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the Dallas County Medical Society, the Texas Medical Association, the Parkland Surgical Society, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Cardiology, the Southwestern Surgical Congress, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

In 2018, Dr. Wait received UT Southwestern's Program Development Award.

Personal Note

Dr. Wait was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Colorado. He enjoys mountain climbing and spending time with his wife, Jill Scott, and their children and extended families. He also loves reading books by C. S. Lewis and John Grisham, working at his church, bicycling, landscaping, and tending to his farm animals.

Meet Dr. Wait

Heart and Lung Surgery Expert

In his three decades at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Michael Wait, M.D., has become a leading expert on cardiothoracic care and heart and lung transplantation. As Chief of the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Service at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital and Parkland Hospital, he is leading the heart and lung surgery teams into their next era of innovation.

"We’re actively pursuing advances in cardiopulmonary bypass that will allow us to do safer heart surgery on all patients,” Dr. Wait says. “We’re also anticipating improvements in organ preservation for patients who have to undergo heart and lung transplants.” These advances will improve outcomes for people who undergo heart and lung surgery and increase the number of people eligible to receive lifesaving procedures such as transplants.

Dr. Wait participated in UT Southwestern’s first use of the ECMO artificial lung machine during a lung transplant, and he is proud to be part of a team that has performed more than 750 lung transplants. But his focus is less on history and more on progress. He is part of leading-edge research at UT Southwestern and participates in several FDA-approved clinical trials, including a study of the On-X heart valve that aims to reduce or eliminate the need for blood thinners in patients with heart disease.

Another trial he’s part of studies the effects of longer-lasting pain relief medications that wear off only after three or four days – rather than four to six hours – and hopefully shorten hospital stays.

Dr. Wait has devoted his career to treating patients with advanced heart disease, but he believes people can help keep themselves out of his office by following a few simple tips: exercise, lose weight, stop smoking, and see a dentist regularly.

“A lot of heart valve infections come from people with bad teeth,” Dr. Wait says. “It’s related to the frequency and severity of bacteria that enters the bloodstream. These infections occur frequently  – and they are often worse – in patients with poor dental habits.”

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Education & Training
  • Residency - Parkland Memorial Hospital (1990-1992), Thoracic Surgery
  • Residency - UT Southwestern Medical Center (1985-1990), General Surgery
  • Residency - UT Southwestern Medical Center (1983-1985), Internal Medicine
  • Medical School - UT Southwestern Medical School (1979-1983)
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • American College of Chest Physicians (1994)
  • Society of Thoracic Surgeons (1996)
  • Southern Thoracic Surgical Association (1999-2008)
Honors & Awards
  • D Magazine Best Doctor 2020-2022
  • Program Development Award – UT Southwestern 2018
  • Castle Connolly Top Doctors 2008-2013, "Best In American Medicine"
  • Texas Super Docs 2006-2012, "Best Doctors in Texas" featured in Texas Monthly and D Magazine
  • President's Research Council Award 1993, UT Southwestern
  • Alpha Omega Alpha 1983
  • Phi Beta Kappa 1979
  • Alpha Epsilon Delta 1979, Premedical Honor Society
Books & Publications
  • Feasibility Study: A phase 3, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel-Group, Placebo-Controlled Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Intercostal Nerve Block with the Study Drug in Subjects Undergoing Posterolateral Thoracotomy
  • Randomized, Multicenter, Double-Blind, Group Sequential Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Immunogenicity, and Safety of a Single Dose of Merck 0657nI Staphylococcus aureus Vaccine (V710) in Adult Patients Scheduled for Cardiothoracic Surgery.
  • Randomized Trial of Variable Anticoagulation with On-X Valve
  • Randomized Evaluation of CABG On vs. Off Pump (RECOOP)

Clinical Focus

  • Lung Transplant Surgery
  • Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Heart Valve Repair/Replacement
  • Surgery for Thoracic Cancer & Other Disorders
  • Surgical Treatment of Thoracic Aortic Disease
  • Open Heart Surgery
  • Heart Rhythm Treatment/Electrophysiology

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