Leaders in Robotic and Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery Named to Top Spots at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Emile Bacha Named Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery,<br/><br/>Dr. Michael Argenziano Named Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery Section

Jun 29, 2011


In a move aimed at further solidifying its role as a regional and national leader in cardiac care for adults and children, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center has named Dr. Emile Bacha chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Dr. Michael Argenziano chief of the Section of Adult Cardiac Surgery within the Division.

Drs. Bacha and Argenziano are part of a three-member leadership team in cardiothoracic surgery that also includes Dr. Joshua Sonett, who is chief of the Section of General Thoracic Surgery.

"Drs. Bacha, Argenziano and Sonett are each outstanding surgeons who have shown a resolute commitment to patient care, research innovation and educating the next generation of surgeons. I am confident that they and their colleagues will continue to advance the field of cardiothoracic surgery in the years ahead," says Dr. Craig Smith, chairman of surgery and the Johnson and Johnson Professor of Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and surgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Emile Bacha

In addition to his new leadership role, Dr. Bacha is director of congenital and pediatric cardiac surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital/Columbia and the Calvin F. Barber Professor of Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Bacha has developed sophisticated "hybrid" procedures that combine open surgery with minimally invasive techniques to correct complex congenital heart defects. He has pioneered methods of improving surgical safety. Among Dr. Bacha's notable innovations is the development of a less invasive surgical alternative for treating babies born with ineffective left ventricles — one of the most life-threatening birth defects. Using a stent to establish a stable connection between the pulmonary artery and the aorta and pulmonary artery bands, his approach reduces the time needed for surgery from six hours to 90 minutes and makes cardiopulmonary bypass unnecessary. In another surgical breakthrough, Dr. Bacha led a team that, in 2005, implanted a pacemaker in an infant weighing only 2 pounds — then the smallest baby to receive the device.

After receiving his medical degree from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, Dr. Bacha went on to complete an internship at the Klinikum Grosshadern University Hospital and German Heart Center. He completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston and Emory School of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals in Atlanta. He was a research fellow at Hospital Marie Lannelongue in Paris, and he completed his cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School. In 2000, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago and helped establish its pediatric cardiac surgery program, including a minimally invasive surgery program. In 2005, he returned to Harvard and Children's Hospital in Boston, serving as associate professor of surgery and senior associate in the Department of Cardiac Surgery. In 2010, he joined NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital/Columbia.

Dr. Michael Argenziano

In addition to his new leadership role, Dr. Argenziano is director of minimally invasive cardiac surgery, director of the surgical arrhythmia program and director of the thoracic surgery residency at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, and associate professor of surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

A pioneer in the use of robotic and minimally invasive surgery for heart disease, Dr. Argenziano has performed several historic firsts. In 2001, he and Dr. Mehmet Oz performed the first robotically assisted repair of an atrial septal defect, without making a chest incision. In 2002, Dr. Argenziano and Dr. Craig Smith were the first in the nation to perform a robotically assisted, totally endoscopic coronary artery bypass. Both procedures were evaluated in clinical trials led by Dr. Argenziano and both resulted in FDA approval of the procedures. Dr. Argenziano is also an expert in robotic ventricular pacing, known as cardiac resynchronization therapy, which is useful for patients with end-stage cardiomyopathy and severe heart failure.

In 2004, Dr. Argenziano was part of the surgical team to perform the first-ever combined heart-liver transplant in the New York region. Dr. Argenziano and his colleagues also helped modify the Maze procedure for atrial fibrillation by performing surgical fibrillation ablation, which limits scarring in the left atrium.

Dr. Argenziano received his undergraduate and M.D. degrees from Columbia University. He completed an internship and residency in general surgery and research fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery, pacemaker and defibrillator surgery and mechanical cardiac assistance at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. He joined NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia in 2001.

Dr. Joshua Sonett

Since 2006, Dr. Joshua Sonett has served as chief of the Section of General Thoracic Surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. He also serves as the surgical director of the lung transplant program and surgical director of the high-risk lung assessment program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, and the Edwin C. and Anne K. Weiskopf Professor of Surgical Oncology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Sonett's clinical specialties include general thoracic surgery and oncology; lung transplantation and volume reduction surgery for end-stage pulmonary failure; minimally invasive lung surgery; minimally invasive esophageal and reflux surgery; and pulmonary resection following curative-intent chemotherapy and high-dose radiation.

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The Medical Center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,353 beds. The Hospital has more than 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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