James Wisheart has voluntarily stepped down from clinical duties and from his post as medical director of the United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust in order to co-operate with the independent review.
The decision followed two years of controversy at the Bristol Royal Infirmary where Mr Wisheart was an influential member of the cardiac unit using a pioneering technique to operate on babies.
But the operations were later halted after an internal audit revealed higher-than-average number of deaths among children between 1990 and 1995.
An internal review revealed friction among senior staff and a subsequent inquiry has now decided that although case notes show deaths were average, Mr Wisheart's performance will be investigated by a panel of experts. Louise Jury