After earning his medical degree and completing an internship at Jordan University School of Medicine in Amman, Jordan, Hijazi came to the United States to begin postgraduate training in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University. Upon earning his Master of Public Health degree, Hijazi remained at Yale for his residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric cardiology. He then spent eight years on the faculty of Tufts University School of Medicine before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1999, where he was Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and chief of pediatric cardiology. In 2007, Hijazi came to Rush to serve as director of the newly created Rush Center for Congenital and Structural Heart Disease, and in 2010, he became the James A. Hunter, MD, University Professor.
Hijazi’s major area of interest is the development of techniques and catheters/devices to help treat or cure congenital and structural cardiac disease without open-heart surgery. He has published more than 275 articles, six books and more than 40 book chapters. In 1994, he published an article describing the technique of multiple coil closure of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a new technique that enabled cardiologists to close moderate- to large-sized PDAs using multiple coils.
In 1997, Hijazi published the first results of the initial clinical use of the Amplatzer septal occluder device for atrial septal defects (ASD). He was a primary investigator for national clinical trials testing the Amplatzer family of intracardiac devices for the treatment of atrial septal defects, patent ductus arteriosus, patent foramen ovale (PFO) and ventricular septal defects. As a result of his research, the FDA approving the first ASD closure device for use in children in 2001.
Hijazi’s work has not been limited to the nonsurgical repair of cardiac defects. He was the first to describe how intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) can be used to assist in guiding transcatheter closure of ASD/PFO.
Currently, Hijazi is involved in evaluating percutaneous valve implantation (without surgery) for patients with defective pulmonary valves and senile aortic valve stenosis. He performed the first percutaneous valve implantation in the United States on Dec. 13, 2005, and is now collaborating with two companies to develop a percutaneous aortic valve for elderly patients who have degenerative aortic valve stenosis.
Hijazi established the annual Pediatric Interventional Cardiac Symposium, a four-day conference that brings together more than 750 interventional cardiologists from more than 60 countries to provide demonstratios, perform live operations and share the latest research breakthroughs in interventional cardiology for congenital heart disease. Based upon the success of this event, he is currently establishing collaborative pediatric cardiology research and clinical programs in China.
On May 11, 2008, Hijazi became the 31st president of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, the leading organization for interventional cardiologists with more than 4,000 members worldwide.