Message from the Chair

I feel extraordinarily privileged to lead the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at Mount Sinai Morningside. Our facility offers patients an exceptional environment for care. We are a mid-sized hospital, with world-class facilities and capabilities. Being smaller means our patients get a lot of personal attention in a heart-focused hospital. We have recently opened the new Center for Clinical Cardiovascular Care, where our cardiovascular patients have office appointments and a brand new, state-of-the-art Cardiovascular Step Down Unit with comfortable private rooms and continuous cardiac monitoring to complement our superb Heart Team ICU, all staffed by an exceptional team of dedicated cardiovascular professionals.  In fact, we are the Mount Sinai Health System Center of Excellence for Coronary Bypass Surgery.

Our commitment to the well-being of each and every patient is embodied in our “Heart team” approach.

“Our Heart team is focused on two things—safety and service. We strive for the safest possible care for each and every patient. And we want every patient to leave our facility feeling that they have been extremely well cared for—even loved.” - John Puskas, MD

A Heart team approach means that the decisions about whether a patient has a medical treatment, a catheter-based treatment, a surgical treatment, or a hybrid approach are made by a collaborative team of specialists—each of whom is highly skilled, highly trained, and highly dedicated. Our cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons collaborate well, because we respect each other and love working together.

And we never lose sight of the fact that our circle of collaboration includes the patient, the patient’s family, and their primary care or referring physician. It is common for the patient and their family to be in my office at Mount Sinai Morningside, together with their referring physician on the speakerphone, as we discuss the best approach. We want you and your family to understand the benefits and risks of each procedure. We will show you pictures of the blocked arteries, leaking valve, or aortic aneurysm, and demonstrate on plastic models what needs to be done. It is important that you, the patient, have a chance to see it, touch it, ask questions about it, to make a comfortable, informed decision.

This circle of communication is also important because many of our patients have other medical conditions. For example, more than half our patients have diabetes. So, in cases like these, we engage our medical colleagues from other disciplines as needed to make a plan that works for each individual person.

The best care requires great communication. It’s simple, but it’s not always common. At Mount Sinai Morningside, cardiovascular patients can be confident that their doctors, nurses, and therapists will communicate seamlessly to ensure a great clinical outcome.

Today, coronary artery disease is the number one killer of Americans. But, thankfully, there are numerous therapies. And all of those are available at a world-class level at Mount Sinai Heart at Mount Sinai Morningside. My own particular area of interest is coronary artery bypass surgery, which is the surgical treatment of blocked coronary arteries which can cause heart attacks. Bypass surgery is common these days. But what separates us at Mount Sinai Morningside is the advanced procedures we use. Minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery, off-pump beating heart surgery and the use of multiple arterial grafts instead of veins all contribute to faster recovery time, fewer complications, and better short- and long-term outcomes. We reduce or eliminate manipulation of the aorta during coronary surgery, which greatly reduces risk of stroke. Together with my exceptional team, we have been at the forefront of groundbreaking research to develop more effective, safer and less invasive coronary bypass procedures, as well as world-class surgical treatment for heart valve disease, aortic disease, atrial fibrillation and pulmonary embolism. Moreover, our dedicated team of five superb cardiac anesthesiologists are highly trained, multiply certified and genuinely compassionate, committed to providing the safest and most comfortable anesthesia experience. Finally, our Intensive Care and Cardiac Step-Down care providers are superbly skilled, dedicated, and collaborative teams of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and therapists, each specialized in the care of cardiovascular surgery patients.

It comes down to this—we want you back on your feet, enjoying a better quality of life, with your loved ones, as quickly as possible and for many more years to come.

John D. Puskas, MD, MSc, FACC, FACS
Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Chairman, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery
Mount Sinai Morningside, Mount Sinai West, and Mount Sinai Downtown
Director, Center of Excellence in Coronary Bypass, Mount Sinai Health System