Catherine M. Otto M.D.

Catherine M. Otto M.D.

Specialties and Expertise



Regional Heart Center




Cardiac Clinic & Services at UWMC

1959 NE Pacific St., 3rd Floor
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: 206.598.4300|Map It 


Catherine Otto is the J. Ward Kennedy-Hamilton Endowed Chair in Cardiology, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Heart Valve Clinic at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine in Seattle, Washington. She is recognized internationally as an expert in the diagnosis and management of heart valve disease, Marfan syndrome and other inherited structural heart conditions.

Dr. Otto’s research has transformed our understanding of calcific valve disease, showing that it may be amenable to medical therapy rather than being an inevitable consequence of aging. She is the author of several cardiology textbooks and cardiology editor-in-chief for the online medical textbook Up-to-Date.

Patient Care Philosophy

My practice focuses on knowledge-based decision-making using established national guidelines for patient care and involving the patient actively in the decision process.

Personal Interests

Dr Otto currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Heart, the journal of the British Cardiovascular Society, published by BMJ Publishing.

Clinical Interests

  • Aortic valve stenosis
  • Bicuspid aortic valve
  • Mitral regurgitation, mitral valve prolapse and stenosis
  • Aortic regurgitation
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Loey-Dietz syndrome
  • Cardiac involvement in systemic diseases and other inherited cardiac conditions

Teaching Interests

In addition, Dr. Otto is the author of several cardiology books: The Textbook of Clinical Echocardiography (4th Edition), The Practice of Clinical Echocardiography (4th Edition just published in 2012), Valvular Heart Disease (4th Edition, co-edited by Robert O. Bonow, MD), Atlas of Intraoperative Echocardiography (with Don Oxorn) and the Echocardiography Review Guide ( 2nd Edition  with Rosario Freeman and Becky Schwaegler).  She also is a Cardiology Editor-in-Chief for the online medical textbook Up-to-Date. The most recent addition to her collection of echocardiography books is the Otto Companion Series which includes books on Intraoperative Echocardiography, Congenital Heart Disease, Heart Failure, and Advanced Approaches in Echocardiography.

Scope of Care

All types of cardiovascular disease with a focus on valvular heart disease (aortic stenosis, bicuspid aortic valve, mitral regurgitation, mitral valve prolapse, etc.); Marfan syndrome and related disorders; cardiac involvement in systemic diseases; and adults with congenital heart disease.

Research Interests

Dr. Otto is recognized as an expert on calcific aortic valve disease. Dr. Otto’s research has transformed our understanding of this disease process, showing that it is an active disease process that may be amenable to medical therapy, rather than being an inevitable consequence of aging.  Her research on the aortic valve includes validation of noninvasive measures of disease severity, the first prospective study of disease progression, immunohistologic studies establishing the cellular and molecular mechanisms of valve disease, epidemiologic studies defining the clinical risk factors associated with calcific valve disease and a landmark study demonstrating that even mild valve thickening, called aortic sclerosis, is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. She received for the 2011 American College of Cardiology Distinguished Scientist Award (Clinical Domain) for this research.

Univ. of Washington, School of MedicineMedical education1979
New York HospitalInternshipInternal Medicine
New York HospitalResidencyInternal Medicine
UW - Division of CardiologyFellowshipCardiovascular Disease


Board Certifications

American Board of Internal MedicineCardiovascular Disease1985
American Board of Internal MedicineInternal Medicine1982
Loading Publications...