The Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens. External view of the building

The atrium of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens

View of the surgery rooms of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens


The Onassis Cardiac

Τhe first of the big projects envisioned and brought to completion by the Onassis Foundations Board of Directors was the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre (OCSC); the construction works commenced in 1987 and were completed in 1992. It is a model, ultra-modern hospital, whose cost at the time amounted to more than $75,000,000 (estimated at €150,000,000 in todays prices).

The OCSC was built under the Foundations supervision on an 8,000 sq m plot of private land on Syngrou Avenue. On October 6, 1992, after it was finished, it was handed over, fully operational, to the Greek Public. Since then, it has been operating under the sole responsibility of the Greek State.

The building was designed by the architectural firm of Llwelyn-Davies Weeks, specialists in hospital design, in association with the Greek architectural firm of K. Kapsambelis and K. Stamatis. Following an international competition for the lowest bid, the construction contract was awarded to Ioannou and Paraskevaides Construction Company (Overseas) Ltd. The building has a total surface area of 21,360 sq m, and consists of a basement, a ground floor and eight more floors, arranged around a central atrium.

The 127-bed capacity hospital is designed in accordance with the modern architectural principles and technical specifications applicable to all large hospitals. It has intensive care units, intermediate intensive care units, coronary intensive care units, hemodynamic laboratories, a paedo-cardiosurgical nursing unit, a cardiosurgical nursing unit, a cardiological nursing unit and an electrophysical and pacemaker laboratory. In addition, it has outpatient departments, clinical laboratories and diagnostic departments.

An adult and paediatric heart, heart/lung and lung transplant division has been operating since June 1994. The transplant division is supported by the molecular immunopathology and histocompatibility laboratory, with state-of-the-art equipment, and its medical personnel go through a stringent selection process. By the end of 2014, 130 artificial heart transplants had been carried out and 144 heart or lung transplants in total. The survival rate of heart transplant cases reaches the 94% during the first year and the 70% during a ten year period. These rates are recognized as of the best internationally.

It is the first fully certified hospital in Greece and one of the few in Europe - ISO 9001:2000 standard (February 2004) - regarding the quality of its health services in the departments of adult and paediatric heart surgery and cardiology, including organ transplants and support services.

The spectacular results obtained by the OCSC since its first years of operation have developed a sense of security among Greek patients who have ceased resorting to medical facilities abroad for such surgery. Up to the end of 2014 the hospital had admitted more than 151,000 patients, approximately 38,000 cardiovascular operations had been performed and about 1,420,000 out-patient consultations and diagnostic tests had been logged. Also, over 92,600 cardiac catheterisations had been performed both into the Haemodynamics and Invasive Electrophysiology Laboratories, while over 10,595,000 hematology diagnostic tests and 451,000 radiology diagnostic tests had been logged.

The social security system benefits from the difference in hospitalization costs in Greece and abroad, not including post-surgical appointments and overnight stays costs, exceed $640,000,000.

As stipulated by the terms of the handover agreement between the Foundation and the Greek State and in compliance with its own statutes, the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre is administered by a seven-member Board of Directors, which includes only one representative of the Onassis Foundation. The other six members are appointed by the government currently in office.

In the spirit of the cooperation between the two bodies, the Foundation sponsors an international medical conference held every two years at the OCSC.
Between 2002 and 2005, the Foundation spent $8,500,000 on replacing all the medical and technical equipment of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, thereby confirming its reputation as one of the best-equipped hospitals in the world. In 2006 the Foundation decided to purchase and install the most up-to-date CT scanning machine, at a cost of € 1,600,000.

The replaced equipment was donated to the State Medical University of Yerevan, Armenia. The costs incurred for its transport and installation, and for training the medical personnel, were also covered by the Foundation. Yerevan University, in gratitude for the gift, named the University Cardiology Clinic after Alexandros Onassis. The opening ceremony was held on March 25, 2004, in the presence of representatives of the Foundation, Armenian Ministers and members of the medical and scientific community of Armenia.

For additional information concerning the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, please visit the official website:

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Click the link below in order to see the Onassis Cardiac Centre Fact Sheet for the period 1993-2013.

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