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Department of Surgery Referrals Patient Clinician Researcher

What's New

The following are some highlights of recent news about cardiac surgery and cardiac surgeons at Columbia University Medical Center. To learn more about our ongoing clinical research, please click here.

Janurary 8, 2015 NYP/Columbia Participating in Clinical Trial of HeartMate III LVAD

The Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at the Department of Surgery is the only New York area surgical group to participate in a clinical trial of a new device for advanced heart failure patients, the Thoratec® HeartMate III Left Ventricular Assist System (LVAS).

Implantable LVADs take over the pumping action of the left ventricle in patients whose hearts are too weak to sustain themselves. Candidates for the HeartMate III trial include patients with advanced heart failure who need a device either as a bridge to heart transplantation, or who are ineligible for transplant and who will use the device indefinitely (called 'destination therapy').

The Department of Surgery has played an integral role in the development of many groundbreaking devices and procedures, including the FDA approval of the HeartMate® II LVAS, the predecessor to the HeartMate III. The new device provides about the same support as currently approved FDA LVADs (HeartMate II and Heartware), but improves upon the earlier designs in numerous ways.

Read more here.
October 8, 2014 3-D Printed Heart Helps to Save Baby's Life

NBC News interviews Emile Bacha, MD, Chief, Congenital and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, about his team's use of a 3-D printer to aid a recent patient's heart surgery.

The baby was born with complex heart defects including many holes and malformations. Dr. Bacha's surgical team printed a 3-D model of the heart based on a CT scan, which they were able to study before operating. This process enabled them to plan exactly how they would approach the surgery, including the order of steps and where they would put patches and sutures.

According to Dr. Bacha, using the 3-D model made a significant impact on this baby's life. In the past, surgeons operating on babies with deformed hearts would have to open the heart, see the problem at the time of surgery, and decide on the spot how to best correct it. Having the 3-D model saved precious surgical time and facilitated a better, more complete operation. "The baby went from having a limited life expectancy to normal life expectancy. And instead of needing three or four surgeries to repair the multiple defects, we were able to correct all the defects in a single surgery."

See the NBC News video here:
January 2014 Transplant Patient Reunites with Care Team

Twenty years after receiving a heart and double-lung transplant at NYP/Columbia, grateful patient Sean Kunzli and his family came to New York City for a celebratory reunion with his surgeon, Craig R. Smith, MD, and the team that performed this lifesaving surgery. Born with congenital heart disease, Mr. Kunzli underwent the risky and rare transplant in December 1993. Today, Mr. Kunzli is healthy and, according to Dr. Smith, one of the longest surviving recipients of a heart and double-lung transplant.

Transplant Patient Reunites with Care Team
Photo: Sheila Ryan, Mr. Kunzli's mother; John Siceloff and his wife, Birgit Jorgensen, NP, who was a transplant coordinator at NYP/Columbia in 1993 and is now at NYP/Weill Cornell; Deborah Songailo-Cottrill, Mr. Kunzli's cousin; Dr. Craig R. Smith, Surgeon-in-Chief, NYP/Columbia; Sean Kunzli; Chelsea Kunzli, Mr. Kunzli's daughter; Wendy Kunzli-Schaub, Mr. Kunzli's sister; and Dr. Mark E. Ginsburg, Associate Director of Thoracic Surgery, NYP/Columbia.
January 2014 NYP Named Third Top Center for Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery in the U.S.

NYP Named Third Top Center for Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery in the U.S. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is the nation's third top center for cardiology and cardiac surgery, according to the most recent US News & World Report survey. In pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery, NYP also ranked extremely well: 8th in the nation.

NYP maintains its position as the number one center in the New York metropolitan area.

To determine its rankings, US News & World Report evaluated hospital centers capable of treating difficult cases and that treated at least 1321 inpatients in need of "high level expertise" during 2009, 2010, and 2011. The survey evaluated factors including the hospital's reputation among specialists in the field, safety and survival rates, patient volume, nurse staffing, and nurse magnet status. Of all 720 hospitals included in the survey, NYP is the highest ranking academic medical center in these specialties.

Find details about NYP's rankings here.

January 2014 Emile Bacha, MD, Publishes Review of Minimally Invasive Pediatric Heart Surgery in Nature Reviews Cardiology

Emile Bacha, MD, Publishes Review of Minimally Invasive Pediatric Heart Surgery in Nature Reviews Cardiology Nature Reviews Cardiology, a prominent peer-reviewed journal, published a review of minimally invasive pediatric heart surgery by Emile Bacha, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, and David Kalfa, MD, pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian

In this review, intended for general practitioners and members of multidisciplinary teams caring for children who require heart surgery, Drs. Bacha and Kalfa provide an overview of minimally invasive techniques as they apply to sternal-sparing incisions, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), robotically assisted surgery (RAS), hybrid procedures, minimization of the effects of cardiopulmonary bypass, and other specific 'trauma-sparing' strategies.

The overarching goal is to teach practitioners how to "treat more while hurting less," according to the authors.

Please see a pdf of the article here.

July 2013 Dr. Mehmet C. Oz Protecting Your Heart: Health Tips from Dr. Oz

In an article published July 18, 2013 in the Huffington Post's Healthy Mind & Body Section, Mehmet C. Oz, MD shares three easy steps we can all do to protect our hearts. And guess what: no difficult diets or restrictions on this short list.

Read the full article here: Heart Health Tips: Dr. Oz's 3 Easy Steps to Protecting Your Heart

June 2013 Dr. Mehmet C. Oz Dr. Oz on the real threat to the Sopranos

In an article published by TIME Magazine June 24, 2013, Dr. Oz reminds us that we all need to take care to avoid what caused Soprano star James Gandolfini's untimely death. Read his full article here.

March 2013 Rare Surgery Repairs Child's Damaged Heart

Does your heart hurt now?" Tommy Ascone asks his 3 year old son. Cooper shakes his head, sports a smile, pulls up his shirt for a moment to show his scar and, the runs back into the living room.

Read more.

February 2013 Twin Brothers with Cardiomyopathy Receive Lifesaving Heart Transplants

Johan and Tariq Sookoo were living in Trinidad in 2007 with their mother, Leslie Lopez, when Johan became quite ill. Determined to avoid the fate of her first child, a daughter who had died of a heart condition, Leslie packed a suitcase, closed her business, and brought the boys to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for evaluation. Two weeks into their stay in New York, Johan deteriorated rapidly. In fact, both boys were in heart failure: the only option would be heart transplants before it would be too late. Six years later, the family tells its story in this new video.

November 2012 Devastation Hits, and the Grill Teams Get Cooking

Devastation Hits, and the Grill Teams Get Cooking In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we've seen photos and heard the inspiring stories of people helping neighbors to shovel sand out of their ravaged homes, of young people carrying water up flights of stairs for elderly neighbors and relatives, and of strangers offering sidewalk charging stations and a place to rest. But have you heard about the nurse practitioner, who happens to be a professional competitive BBQ griller, who helped to feed 6000 people in New York and New Jersey? Didn't think so!

Read more.

October 2012 Lauren's Law — One Girl's Story From Patient to Advocate to Legislator

In an effort to increase the number of organ donors in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed "Lauren's Law" on October 4, 2012. This would not have been possible, however without one of the youngest advocates for organ donation and the namesake of the law: twelve-year-old Lauren Shields.

Read More.
July 2012 NYPH ranked #1 hospital in NY City, # 7 in nation, in US News & World Report Survey

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is the best hospital in the metropolitan New York area, and ranks seventh in the nation, according to the 23rd annual U.S. News & World Report annual survey, published July 17, 2012. This marks the 13th year that NYPH was included in the report's Honor Roll.

Of the 4793 hospitals included in the survey, 3% rank highly in just one specialty. NYPH earned national ranking in 23 specialties, including nine pediatric and 14 adult specialties. It was also ranked high-performing in two other areas of care. Rankings of the hospitals are based on criteria including survival rates, safety measures, nurse-to-patient ratios, and other factors.

The 2012-2013 report comes one week after NYPH was featured in the debut of NY Med, an eight-part documentary series filmed inside the hospital for one year.

See the overview of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in the July 17, 2012 US News & World Report here.

December 2011 Yoshifumi Naka, MD, PhD Implants First Total Artificial Heart in New York City Area

Yoshifumi Naka Yoshifumi Naka, MD, PhD, has performed the first Total Artificial Heart implant in the New York City area. The SynCardia device replaces both failing heart ventricles and all four heart valves. According to Dr. Naka, implantation of the device will not only improve the patient's chances of surviving until transplant, but will reduce some of the risks of transplant surgery itself.

Read the full story here.

July 2011 News from Dr. Spotnitz's Laboratory

Henry Spotnitz Dr. Spotnitz's laboratory is conducting research under a five year $3.3 million NIH grant entitled, "Biventricular Pacing After Cardiopulmonary Bypass." This grant supports both the BiPACS (Biventricular Pacing After Cardiac Surgery) and the BiBET (Biventricular Pacing BEfore Transplantation) trials. Currently in its fourth year, the BiPACS trial, under an IDE from the FDA and aided by indispensable collaboration from our cardiothoracic surgeons has demonstrated that cardiac output increases 10-15% with biventricular pacing at three time points in the first 24 hours after surgery for acquired heart disease on cardiopulmonary bypass. BiPACS has been expanded to UCLA, seeking an accelerated answer to the primary question of whether cardiac output improves overall in paced patients and what clinical benefits and cost reductions result. Pacing protocols developed under the BiPACS trial are further being tested in patients with right ventricular failure after cardiopulmonary bypass in an effort to expand the benefits of this technology. These studies include adults and children undergoing cardiac transplantation and adults undergoing pulmonary thromboendartereectomy. Multisite pacing studies are also under way in children undergoing surgery for single ventricle physiology.

May 2011 Dr. Stewart explains aortic valve surgery in new video

Do you, or does someone you know, have aortic valve disease? Are you at risk for valve disease because of other conditions you may have?

Allan Stewart, MD, Director of the Aortic Surgery Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, provides an excellent introduction the aortic valve, aortic valve disease, and aortic valve surgery. Intended for those facing the prospect of testing or treatment for aortic valve disease, this professional quality video is easy to understand. It addresses many common questions asked by families and patients with aortic valve disease.

April 2011 Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement as Good as Open Surgery, According to PARTNER Results

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement as Good as Open Surgery, According to PARTNER Results Under the leadership of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has been under study as a less invasive alternative for patients with severe aortic disease who are too sick or old to undergo surgical valve replacement.

The most recent results of the landmark PARTNER study show that TAVI is as good as open surgery in terms of long-term survival. Craig R. Smith, MD, Principal Investigator of the PARTNER study, presented long-awaited results of cohort A to the American College of Cardiology 2011 Scientific Summit in New Orleans April 3, 2011. Results of the first phase of the PARTNER trial, cohort B, were presented in December 2010.

Dr. Smith said in a statement that transcatheter aortic valve replacement "is the most exciting new treatment for aortic stenosis in the past two to three decades."

Interviews with Craig Smith, MD, about Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

TAVI vs SAVR in PARTNER with Dr Craig Smith

February 2010 February is Heart Month

Barbara Walters Heart Health Special: Celebrities share stories of heart surgery.
Featuring NYP/Columbia Surgeons

Barbara Walters Heart Health Special: Celebrities share stories of heart surgery.

Life Can Change In A Heartbeat, No Matter How Famous You Are...
On February 4, 2011, award-winning journalist and television personality Barbara Walters hosted a one-hour national special based on her experience of having heart valve replacement surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian. She was joined by President Bill Clinton, David Letterman, Robin Williams, Regis Philbin and Charlie Rose, who also underwent heart surgery. Two heart specialists from the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia appeared on the show.

Learn to Live Heart Healthy at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
February 16, 2011
Join us for a day of free events including heart screening, zumba, yoga, the Milstein Mile walk, heart-healthy meals, education, and more.
Read More. PDF File
September 2010 PARTNER Trial Results Are Big News at TCT Conference

Craig Smith, MD PARTNER (Placement of Aortic Transcatheter valves) clinical trial Principal Investigators, including Craig Smith, MD, presented groundbreaking one-year data — published in the New England Journal of Medicine — at the 22nd Annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) scientific symposium, which took place on September 21-25, 2010 in Washington, DC. Their results confirm that less-invasive heart valve replacements significantly lower rates of death in comparison to standard therapy for certain patients. The story received coverage in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsday, The Associated Press,,,,, and
August 2010 Dramatic Story of Two Heart Transplant Patients

In an August 9, 2010 article, The New York Times told the dramatic account of heart patient and upstate New York resident, Christian Volpe. Last December, when the batteries on Mr. Volpe's LVAD nearly ran out, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia nurse practitioner Khristine Orlanes arranged for nearby LVAD patient Robert Bump to bring him fresh batteries. Coincidentally both men returned to NYPH/Columbia for heart transplants in late July and had the chance to meet again. Their transplant surgeries were performed by Drs. Mathew Williams and Hiroo Takayama. Dr. Yoshifumi Naka was also mentioned in the story, which was picked up by other news media as far away as India.
November 2009 25th Anniversary of Columbia's—and the World's—first Pediatric Heart Transplant

On Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009 more than 60 pediatric heart transplant recipients and their families returned to NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital to celebrate the 25th anniversary of pediatric heart transplantation. In 1984, Columbia surgeons performed the world's first successful heart transplant in a child, giving the gift of life to a 4-year-old boy. In the intervening quarter century, more than 350 children have received new hearts at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, which today has among the largest pediatric heart transplant programs in the country.

Selected milestones of the Columbia pediatric heart transplant program:

  • In 1983, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia helped initiate clinical trials of cyclosporine, the immunosuppressive drug that revolutionized the field of transplantation. The drug is still today the most commonly prescribed immunosuppressant used in organ transplantation.
  • Surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital performed the world's first successful pediatric heart transplant in 1984.
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia led research on left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), both of which have dramatically improved the time that children with heart failure can survive until an organ becomes available.
  • In 1985, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia became the only medical center in the state to be designated as a regional heart transplant center by the New York State Health Planning and Review Council.
Coverage of the anniversary included NY1 and NY1 Noticias, the Associated Press, Daily News, New York Post, Advance for Nurses and

Read more about the 25th anniversary of pediatric heart transplant at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.
July 2009 As of July 22nd, 2009 Columbia cardiac surgeons and interventionalists have performed 100 aortic valve replacements using a catheter-based approach that does not require open-heart surgery — the most of any U.S. medical center to date. Open-heart surgery can require a two- to three-month recovery period, compared to only a few days for the transcatheter approach. The procedures were conducted as part of multiple clinical research studies of the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve. Currently ongoing is the PARTNER (Placement of AoRTic traNscathetER valves) trial, a Phase 3 multicenter study led by national co-principal investigators Dr. Martin Leon and Dr. Craig Smith and focused on the treatment of patients who are at high risk or not suitable for open-heart valve replacement surgery.

Read more.
January 2009 On January 5, 2009 ABC News Good Morning America featured the percutaneous aortic valve replacement procedure that is currently under investigation in the PARTNER Trial. The segment included a story about Sister Thomas Duggan, an aortic stenosis patient who is among the first to receive the new treatment. "In my career, this is probably the biggest thing to come along since heart transplants, which is now quite a few years ago in my career," said Craig Smith, MD, who is co-Principal Investigator in the trial with Dr. Martin Leon of the Division of Cardiology.

Read the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center press release about the procedure and the PARTNER trial.
August 2008 Dr. Yoshifumi Naka is national co-principal investigator in the DuraHeart Left Ventricular Assist System Bridge-to-Transplant Pivotal Trial for patients awaiting transplant. Reuters, Market Watch, and Medical News Today ran an August 21, 2008 press release from the device manufacturer, Terumo Heart, regarding the first patient implanted with the device. The patient was discharged home on August 14th, from the University of Michigan Health System. The press release was also picked up by the Biloxi Sun Herald.
January 2008 The PARTNER (Placement of AoRTic traNscathetER valves) trial, which is being conducted by Edwards Lifesciences in collaboration with medical centers throughout the world including NYPH/Columbia, received conditional approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to add a transapical delivery method (delivery through a small chest incision and through the left ventricle), and also to increase trial sample size from 600 patients to 1,040 patients.

The trial, initiated in the second quarter of 2007, is evaluating the Edwards SAPIEN valve in patients who are considered high risk or inoperable for conventional open-heart valve surgery. Dr. Craig Smith is co-principal investigator for the trial. Surgeons from the Department of Surgery performing the procedure are Drs. Mathew R. Williams and Allen S. Stewart. Read more about the procedure.
November 2007 New Book Follows Cardiac Surgery Team for Six Months The Columbia cardiac surgery team was featured in the book The Surgeons: Life and Death in a Top Heart Center, by Charles R. Morris, published in October, 2007. To research the book, the author "embedded" himself with the Section of Cardiac Surgery at NYP/Columbia, observing surgeries, as well as daily activities of surgeons in the section. Vignettes in the book include meetings of Columbia surgeons where surgeons relentlessly criticize their own performance, a "harvest run" to secure an organ, a successful heart transplant in a five-day-old baby with a major heart malformation, as well as a failed heart transplant in a four-year-old. Drs. Smith and Oz figure prominently in the book's narrative. The book also documents research, innovation, and finances of the field, submitting a perspective on the state of the U.S. health care system today. The book was reviewed by Publishers Weekly (July, 2007), New York Times (October 29, 2007) Bloomberg News (November 5, 2007).
Fall 2007 Mathew R. Williams, MD Intricate repairs to the heart can now be performed through flexible catheters threaded into blood vessels in the groin or arm. In comparison to open surgery, catheter techniques can mean less pain and faster recovery for patients. Mathew R.Williams, MD, Surgical Director, Cardiovascular Transcatheter Therapies chose to pursue both paths so that he could "combine the best of both worlds." As the first U.S. physician to have joint training and appointments in interventional cardiology (the field that employs catheter technques) and cardiac surgery, Dr. Williams performs an increasing number of what he calls "hybrid" procedures — procedures that use the best of both surgical and less invasive methods to achieve optimal solutions.

Click here to read more.
Summer 2007 The 'David' aortic root repair procedure for aneurysms of the ascending aorta preserves and rebuilds the patient's own aortic valve, avoiding the disadvantages of valve replacement. At NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia, results have been excellent among the 50-plus David procedure operations performed since 2005, with 100% short-term success.

Read more about how Aortic Aneurysm Surgery Preserves Patients' Valves.
July 2007 Dr. Mehmet C. Oz Dr. Mehmet C. Oz has been featured in a video showcase on the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital website. In the video, he covers the importance of looking at the whole picture when making surgical decisions, the significance of getting a second opinion, as well as his views on minimally invasive surgery.

Click here to view the video (2 min, 37 seconds).

May 2007 The Center for Advanced Cardiac Care provides the most advanced medical and surgical options to patients with heart failure, helping to extend the life and quality of life for end stage heart failure patients.

Click here to read more.
May 2007 Henry M. Spotnitz, MD Henry M. Spotnitz, MD, has received a five-year, $3.3 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in support of the study Biventricular Pacing after Cardiopulmonary Bypass, of which he is Principal Investigator. His earlier research has documented substantial improvements in cardiac output among heart surgery patients undergoing biventricular pacing (also known as cardiac resynchronization therapy), which involves installation of pacemakers to fix delays in heart ventricle contractions and keeps the left/right ventricles pumping together.
April 2007 Mario C. Deng, MDAn April 11 Newsday article reported on a blood test that can be used to avoid painful tissue biopsies conducted routinely on heart transplant patients as a means of predicting organ rejection. The blood test was developed through the research of a team of heart transplant investigators at eight universities around the country. Mario C. Deng, MD, director of cardiac transplant at NYPH/CUMC is one of the lead investigators in the development of the test. He presented his research at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans last month. The story was also picked up by AM NewYork.

Click here to read the press release from XDx, the biomedical company that helped develop and is marketing the test as AlloMap®.

Click here to read more about the AlloMap® test.
April 2007 Mechanical Circulatory Support Therapy In Advanced Heart Failure
Advanced Heart Failureby Mario C. Deng, MD and Yoshifumi Naka, MD, PhD
This book provides a state-of-the-art overview of mechanical circulatory support devices and their role in the care of patients with advanced heart failure. Perspectives of professional teams and their patients are presented side-by-side in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the process of care in its entire scope. With evidence-based medicine perspectives of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, nurses, coordinators, social workers, psychologists, and physical therapists, as well as patients and their relatives, the book is targeted at healthcare teams around the world involved in patient care, research and teaching in advanced heart failure, those in training, and the interested lay public.
March 2007 Dr. Mehmet Oz was cited regarding acupuncture as a complementary medicine treatment in a March 29, 2007, article. "It's definitely effective in some cases," said Dr. Oz.
March 2007 Jonathan Chen Pediatric heart transplantation at MSCHONY will be prominently featured in an upcoming PBS special entitled "The Mysterious Human Heart." Dr. Jonathan Chen, pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Linda Addonizio, nurses, social workers and transplant coordinators were interviewed for the story. The special follows the case of one 9-year-old patient throughout the entire transplantation process, from before surgery, including transplant team meetings and retrieval of the donor organ, to the surgery itself and its successful result. The series is scheduled to air in November, 2007.
March 2007 Mehmet Oz, MD was interviewed for the March 12, 2007 LIFE magazine cover story, "Ready for the Reverse Diet?" which queried health experts about the secret of dieting and the larger meanings we attach to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
March 2007 A March 7, 2007 Daily News article reported on lifesaving efforts of multiple individuals whose actions saved heart attack victim FDNY Deputy Chief Patrick Savage during February 16-24. One of these was Yoshifumi Naka, MD. After Savage had suffered multiple cardiac arrests and been resuscitated as many times, Dr. Naka was summoned by his colleagues at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He implanted a bi-ventricular assist device (BiVAD) to support Savage?s ailing heart temporarily, and four days later performed triple bypass surgery. Savage walked out of the Hospital on March 6, thanking staff for saving his life.
February 2007 The February 12, 2007 Daily News reported the story of 17-year-old heart-attack victim Daniel Walker, whose heart stopped beating and was revived by an NYPH medical team including Dr. Yoshifumi Naka. Daniel had been brought to NYPH for a heart transplant. After four days of depending on heart-support devices, the boy?s heart began functioning on its own, stunning the doctors. Dr. Naka and a surgical team subsequently fixed a flaw in the boy?s coronary artery.
January 2007 On Wednesday, January 31, 2007, Reuters reported that SIGA Technologies Inc. said Eric A. Rose, MD, was elected chairman and will become the chief executive officer of the company on March 1.
November 2006 Mastery of Cardiothoracic Surgery New York magazine's 2006 "Best Hospitals" issue, published the week of November 20, ranked NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where Columbia's cardiac surgeons perform surgery, #1 in the cardiac surgery subspecialty.
November 2006 A study of heart transplant outcomes, in which several members of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery were co-investigators, has found that severity of damage from diabetic complications, not diabetes alone, determines heart transplant success. The study analyzed data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a national organization that coordinates transplant organ procurement and distribution, and discovered that heart transplant recipients with uncomplicated diabetes have live just as long as non-diabetic recipients. Click here to read more.

The study was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The article's co-authors include Mark Russo, M.D., M.S., a researcher at Columbia University's International Center for Health Outcomes and Innovation Research (InCHOIR) and a surgery resident at NYPH/Columbia. Department of Surgery faculty who participated in the study include: Michael Argenziano, MD, Jonathan M. Chen, MD, Mehmet C. Oz, MD, Allan S. Stewart, MD, and Yoshifumi Naka, MD, PhD, who is the study's senior author.
October 2006 Mastery of Cardiothoracic Surgery The Second Edition of Mastery of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Kaiser, Kron, and Spray, Eds.), the standard-setting text/atlas from the acclaimed Mastery of Surgery series was published in October, 2006. Mehmet C. Oz, MD and Yoshifumi Naka, MD, PhD, are the authors of the book's chapter on LVADs.
Summer 2006 Since the 1970's, heart transplant patients have had to regularly undergo the uncomfortable, and potentially risky test endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) for signs of rejection, a leading cause of death among heart transplant recipients. Now, a quick, easy-to-administer blood test is rapidly replacing EMB as the gold standard for diagnosing rejection of the donor heart. Columbia was one of the centers participating the five-year, multicenter study CARGO (Cardiac Allograft Rejection Gene Expression Observational Study). The study was conducted with biomedical company XDx.
June 2006 Dr. Mehmet Oz was interviewed on the American Public Media radio program Speaking of Faith. The hour-long segment was broadcast by public radio stations across the US on June 22, 2006. During the segment, entitled "Heart and Soul: The Integrative Medicine of Dr. Mehmet Oz," Dr. Oz talked about his career as a cardiac surgeon and an innovator of devices and procedures to heal the heart, and about the mind and energy-oriented therapies like meditation, reflexology, and massage that he has introduced into operating and recovery rooms at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia.
June 2006 On June 10, the New York Times ran an article on surgeons playing music in the operating room and featured the operating rooms of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Columbia surgeons Drs Eric Rose, Marc Bessler, and Jonathan Chen, figured in the article. Of surgery and music, Dr. Rose said "The whole issue of performing in a finite period of time is very analogous." The Times article cited research indicating that playing music during surgery is beneficial to both surgeons and patients.
May 2006 Dr. Oz is co-writer, with Dr. Michael Roizen, of the May 2006 Esquire Magazine 13-page lead story, "What's Your BQ [Body Quotient]." The article tackles the issue's theme, 'The Better Man,' with a roadmap to achieving health and longevity through healthy living and eating. Drs. Oz and Roizen have collaborated on two bestselling books about health, longevity, and consumer healthcare.
March 2006 Dr. Mehmet Oz was interviewed on NPR's Talk of the Nation on March 14, 2006 regarding his book You: The Smart Patient, which he co-authored with Dr. Michael Roizen. When asked "What's the most important thing to bring with you to the doctor's office, a living will, your spouse, or a crisp $50 bill?" Dr. Oz replied that the answer is an accurate health profile backed by advance research into your problem.
February 2006 Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz are the authors of YOU: THE SMART PATIENT. Written in conjunction with the health care community's leading oversight group, The Joint Commission, the book shows readers in clear, easy steps how to take control of their own health care and deal with all matters that may come up when facing a medical case.
January 2006 NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia Sets World Record for Number of Heart Transplants in One Year, with 119
Fall 2005 The Health Corps

The Health Corps

The Health Corps helps developing bodies in the same way the Peace Corps helps developing nations. In this ambitious program, created by Columbia heart surgeon Mehmet C. Oz, MD, well-trained volunteers go into the public schools to teach the basics of self-care.

Fall 2005 Diane Amato

Putting People First

As Administrator of Columbia's Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Diane Amato plays a dual role: She uses her business acumen to keep the office running smoothly, streamlining billing procedures, and managing a staff of 22 health care professionals. In addition, she serves as an outreach coordinator for Craig Smith, MD, Chief of the division, providing medical information, practical support, and a good old-fashioned dose of TLC for all those in his care. "This is a passion, not a job," she says. "People are my number one priority."

November 2005

The Fauth Center for Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and the Center for Chest Disease are sponsoring a COPD Awareness Day—Breathless Not Helpless in the Clarke Conference Room on November 16, 2005 from 8:30am–1:00pm for patients and their families.

For more information please contact Patricia Jellen at or 212.305.1158.

May 2005 Cardiac health features prominently in three recently published books with ties to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia.
  • Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz are the authors of YOU: THE OWNER'S MANUAL. Part fitness motivator, part home medical reference, yet completely unique, YOU: THE OWNER'S MANUAL is a personal do-it-yourself handbook for keeping any body primed to live younger longer.
  • In The Grateful Heart, Diary of a Heart Transplant, Candace Moose chronicles her sudden illness and eventual heart transplant, performed by Yoshifumi Naka, MD, after travel vaccinations triggered a typically fatal autoimmune disease.
  • Finally, in the Spanish-language book, LLEGAR a 100, Ra?l Guerrero and Dr. Edward Schuster team up to discuss health issues facing Hispanic communities and offer tips for reaching the age of 100 in good health.
Spring 2005 The Spring 2005 issue of NewYork-Presbyterian Heart, which is written for healthcare professionals, focuses on angiogensis research, LVADs for heart failure, ablation pof arrhythmias, and low-dose statins.
Winter 2004 Published in Winter 2004, the third issue of the Assist Newsletter focuses on the Mechanical Circulatory Assist Program at NYPH/Columbia, including its role in establishing destination therapy as a viable option for cardiac assist devices. The Heart Hope Initiative is a collaboration between leading heart centers committed to advancing clinical outcomes associated with mechanical circulatory assist devices and other advanced therapies in the treatment of heart failure.
September 2004 Transplant Services Team Up: First Combined Heart-Liver Transplant at NYPH/Columbia
September 2004 Presidential Treatment: Dr. Craig Smith Performs Bypass on Former President Bill Clinton and Statement From The Office Of Former President Bill Clinton
Summer 2004 Dr. Craig Smith Named 'Practitioner of the Year' at the Peak of his Career
March 2004 Heart surgery without the surgeon: Columbia University researchers test new cardiovascular repair system for mitral valve regurgitation
Thoratec HeartMate

Medicare Expands Coverage of Heart Pumps for Destination Therapy

Historic decision gives hope to thousands of end-stage heart failure patients

May 2003

Drs. Rose and Oz Quoted in New York Times about OP-CAB

Dr. Eric A. Rose and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz were featured in the Science Times section of the New York Times, May 13, 2003, in a front-page article entitled, "Heart Pump and Brain Injury: A Riddle Deepens With Time." The article, by Times science writer Gina Kolata, described the mental problems, including confusion and forgetfulness, that often accompany coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). The problems were assumed to be associated with the heart-lung pump that allows surgeons to stop the heart during the operation.

January 2003

Dr. Eric A. Rose provides "Perspective" on Off-Pump Coronary-Artery Bypass Surgery in New England Journal of Medicine

Deployed Stabilization Device for Off-Pump Coronary-Artery Bypass Surgery.

In a "Perspective" article published in the January 30, 2003 issue of New England Journal of Medicine, Eric A. Rose, MD, Chairman, Columbia University Department of Surgery, assesses results of a study about the "OP-CAB" procedure. The article is entitled, "Are There Advantages to Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery?"

November 2002

Dr. Argenziano Reports Shorter Hospital Stay, Improved Recovery Time with Robotically Assisted Heart Surgery

Preliminary results of study presented at American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, held in Chicago

Michael Argenziano, MD
Director, Robotic Cardiac Surgery

Dr. Michael Argenziano presented preliminary findings of a study to investigate the benefits of robotic open-heart surgery for correcting atrial septal defect (ASD). In July 2001, using a surgical robot, Dr. Argenziano led a team at Columbia University Medical Center that performed the first open-heart surgery without opening the chest. Since then, 17 patients have received the procedure. Preliminary results point to improvements in recovery time and quality of life, Dr. Argenziano told scientists in a presentation at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, held in Chicago in November 2002. "We've seen dramatic improvements in hospital stay and recovery time. Also, patients experienced comparatively improved social functions and less pain postoperatively." The study showed that hospital stays were two to four days shorter than with open-chest heart surgery, and that patients were able to return to work 50 percent faster than those having open-heart surgery.

Individuals with ASD are born with an abnormal opening between the two upper chambers of the heart. Untreated, ASD can result in pulmonary hypertension, congestive heart failure, atrial arrhythmias, and an increased risk of stroke.

© 1999 Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

© 2000 Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

For Elderly Heart Patients, Extra Weight May Be Beneficial

A new study by a group of Columbia researchers led by
Mathew S. Maurer, MD, indicates, surprisingly, that elderly patients (75 and over) who had a BMI (body mass index) of 25 and over had a lower risk of complications and death from cardiovascular surgery than did those with a lower BMI.

January 2002

CUMC Surgeons Perform Nation's First Robotically-Assisted Coronary Artery Bypass

Dr. Michael Argenziano, Director of Robotic Cardiac Surgery, and Dr. Craig R. Smith, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center, performed the nation's first robotically-assisted coronary artery bypass operation in January 2002. Coronary artery bypass surgery is one of the most common operations performed in the U.S., and this historic operation follows the successes of other robotically-assisted surgeries at Columbia University Medical Center.


The Future Is Now: Columbia University Medical Center Surgeons Perform Nation's First Robot-Assisted Atrial Septal Defect Heart Surgery

© 1998 Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

On July 24, 2001, cardiac surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Columbia University Medical Center performed the first robotically-assisted atrial septal defect repair, without a chest incision of any kind. Michael Argenziano MD, Director of Robotic Cardiac Surgery, and Mehmet C. Oz MD, Director of the Cardiovascular Institute, performed the surgery on a 33-year-old mother of two young children. The young woman chose to become a pioneer by participating in the FDA-sanctioned clinical trial because it promised a fast recovery time that would allow her to return to her husband and children quickly, and it also left minimal scar tissue. It was expected that her hospital stay would be several days less than if she had had open-heart surgery, and that her recovery period would be significantly reduced as well.

News of the surgery was presented at a news conference at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital with the surgeons and the patient and her family. The surgery was featured by ABC-Good Morning America, Bloomberg Radio and Bloomberg News, Crain's Health Pulse, all of New York's major television news programs including the Daily News, New York Newsday, Hurriyet (Turkish news), Ch. 41 (Univision), the Fox News Channel (national), and the Charlie Rose Show.

Landmark REMATCH Trial Proves Benefits of Heart Pumps for Heart Failure Patients
Radiofrequency Pulmonary Vein Isolation in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

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