Cardiothoracic Anesthesia

Unit Head


The Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesia (ACTA) Division has a fourfold mission: patient care, education, research, and faculty development. Since the first cardiac surgery was performed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in 1956, the division has been dedicated to providing excellence in the anesthetic management of adult patients undergoing cardiac and thoracic surgery, interventional cardiology and electrophysiology procedures, and perioperative transesophageal echocardiography. The ACTA fellowship, established in 1991, ensures we provide excellence in clinical and didactic education to our fellows and residents. Our research mission is to add to the knowledge base of the clinical and educational practice of adult cardiothoracic anesthesiology and perioperative echocardiography through scholarly activity. The faculty development mission is to attain extramural recognition of faculty in the field of cardiothoracic anesthesiology and seek leadership positions within and outside the department while fostering a culture of inclusion and wellness among its members.


With over 2,200 open-heart cases performed per year, we stand among the best cardiac centers in the region and in the world. We are ranked sixth in the 2023–2024 U.S. News & World Report for adult cardiology and heart and vascular surgery hospitals. Our division is involved in the perioperative care of patients undergoing complex open-heart and aortic procedures, adult congenital heart surgery, mechanical circulatory support-device procedures, robotic-assisted CABG, minimally invasive and transcatheter valve replacements, lung-volume reduction surgery, pulmonary thromboendarterectomy, and heart and lung transplants. Our division consists of highly experienced faculty members with a variety of additional training and affiliations. Our faculty serve on the New York State Cardiac Advisory Committee and on society committees, setting the national standards for our subspecialty.


The ACTA Fellowship was established in 1991 with one trainee, became fully ACGME accredited in 2007, and has since grown into the largest adult cardiothoracic anesthesiology fellowship program in New York. The ACTA division provides clinical and educational training for nine fellows per year as well as for the residents in our core program. The educational experience of the fellows and residents draws from diverse and stimulating clinical cases, a thorough multidisciplinary didactic program, a comprehensive TEE curriculum, and simulation opportunities. Educational innovations developed and implemented on ACTA include an annual pig-heart dissection, OSCE, and a state-of-the art online physiology and heart simulator.


To advance the knowledge and the practice of our subspecialty, members of our division initiate, lead, and engage in research projects. Our division is active in clinical, epidemiological, and informatics research in multidisciplinary collaboration with cardiothoracic surgery, heart-failure cardiology, high-risk obstetrics, critical care medicine, epidemiology, and informatics. Our current research projects reflect our leadership in perioperative echocardiography, correlating clinical parameters with intraoperative echocardiography findings. Our faculty and fellows participate in regional and national meetings to share our experiences in the management of challenging cases. Educational research in our division has been recognized and promoted through intramural funding grants.