New York Methodist-Cornell Heart Center Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Jul 25, 2014


A man operating Ct scan machine as patient enters
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (left) and Anthony Tortolani, MD, then director of cardiac surgery, at the launch of the New York Methodist-Cornell Heart Center in 2004. (Below) Dr. Tortolani with patients and team of specialists in the New York Methodist-CornellHeart Center today in 2014.

"Brooklyn welcomes the New York Methodist-Cornell Heart Center," said Marty Markowitz, then-Brooklyn Borough President, during a tour of the brand new cardiac surgery suite housed on the third floor of NYM's Carrington Pavilion. It was April of 2004, and after years of intensive planning, construction and the hiring of exceptionally trained and experienced staff, the Center had just opened its doors, including one of only three cardiac surgery centers in Brooklyn.

Just over ten years later, on a bright summer morning in 2014, Anthony Tortolani, MD, chairman of surgery and cardiothoracic surgery, reflected on the Center's first ten years. Dr. Tortolani led dozens of NYM physicians, nurses and other staff members in establishing the New York Methodist- Cornell Heart Center.

"The New York Methodist-Cornell Heart Center brought together experts in cardiology and cardiac surgery, and we have continued to recruit some of the best heart specialists in the country," said Dr. Tortolani. "NYM's administration also made sure that we had a state-of-the-art cardiothoracic operating room and cardiothoracic I.C.U. from the get-go."

Added Rebecca Flood, RN, senior vice president for nursing, who coordinated the training of NYM's cardiac nursing team in 2004, "By partnering with Weill Cornell, we had the opportunity to take the nurses who were going to be charged with patient care into the cardiothoracic operating room and cardiothoracic intensive care unit, and have them train for a year before the Center opened its doors. It was a huge benefit to our patients—we truly were able to 'hit the ground running'."

By the end of 2004, physicians at the Center were already performing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), open valve replacements, aneurysm repairs and off-pump bypass surgery. In the years that followed, the lineup of advanced treatments offered by the Center has continued to expand, adding mini-mitral valve repair, thoracic endovascular valve repair (TEVAR), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), laser lead extraction, the Lariat procedure and hybrid ablation, among many others.


New York Methodist Cornell Heart Center"I'm immensely proud to see how much we have grown," said Terrence Sacchi, MD, chief of cardiology, who was recruited shortly before the Center's opening. "As just one example, PCI is a bedrock procedure used to treat the most common type of heart disease. In our state, where a patient can choose from any number of medical institutions, NYM is now close to the top in terms of the number of PCI cases. That growth was not 'automatic'—rather, it is the result of the high quality of our patient outcomes. There is also strong collaboration between our cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, which is crucial because many of the procedures performed at the Center require a multidisciplinary team. None of this would have been possible without the establishment the cardiac surgery center in 2004, and the expertise and dedication of each of the staff members who have helped it to grow since then."

Said Dr. Tortolani, "NYM has proven that it is able to evolve as the fields of cardiology and cardiac surgery evolve, and that it off the newest procedures thanks to extensive training and incorporation of new technology. We have a track record of success. "But," he concluded, "though the New York Methodist-Cornell Heart Center's growth since its establishment is an indication of its success, the goal has always been achieving high-quality outcomes for our patients. That's why so many are entrusting us with their care. It's no secret—we have a world class heart center!"

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