NYP/Columbia Celebrates Landmarks in Heart Surgery

Craig R. Smith, MD, Chair of the Department of Surgery, with cardiac nurses.

On March 29, 2017 NYP/Columbia celebrated 60 years of innovation in open-heart surgery with a gathering of patients, doctors, surgeons, nurses, and an official proclamation from the New York State Assembly and Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer.  

In 1956, Dr. George Humphreys performed the institution’s first open-heart surgery on a child with a congenital heart defect. NYP/Columbia has completed tens of thousands of heart procedures since and now performs more than 2,200 open-heart surgeries each year.  

“The continued success of our cardiothoracic surgery program is a testament to the dedication of our multidisciplinary team, including surgeons, cardiologist, nurses and researchers,” said Craig Smith, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery. 

Other newsworthy accomplishments: 

  • 2016  Drs. Emile Bacha and Paul Chai implant a ventricular assist device in the world’s youngest patient who later received a successful heart transplant. 
  • 2013  Dr. Emile Bacha is the first surgeon in the world to use 3D printing in the surgical repair of a heart defect. 
  • 2010  The landmark PARTNER trial, led by Drs. Craig Smith and Martin Leon, paves the way for the approval of transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR) for aortic stenosis. 
  • 2001-2002  Drs. Michael Argenziano, Craig Smith and Mehmet Oz perform the first totally endoscopic, robotic open heart operation as well as the first robotic coronary artery bypass operation in the US. 
  • 2001  NYP/Columbia  team performs the country’s first ABO blood-type incompatible heart transplant in a child. 
  • 1989  NYP/Columbia doctors are the first in the nation to successfully transplant a child with complex single ventricle after an unsuccessful corrective surgery. 
  • 1985 NYP/Columbia becomes the only medical center in the state to be designated a regional heart transplant center by the New York state Health Planning and Review Council.
  • 1984  A team of NYP/Columbia surgeons led by Dr. Eric Rose performs the world’s first pediatric heart transplant.
  • 1980s and 1990s  NYP/Columbia leads  research on left ventricular assist devices  (LVADs) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) dramatically improving the time children with heart failure can survive while waiting for a transplant.
  • 1977 The institution establishes its heart transplant program.
  • 1963 NYP/Columbia physicians publish their approach for managing patients with Tetralogy of Fallot, a standard for many years to come. 

“We will continue to put our patients first and provide the best possible outcomes for the next 60 years and beyond,” said Dr. Smith.