Cardiothoracic Surgery of New York

Welcome to the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Francis Hospital. For as long as the New York State Department of Health has reported and analyzed cardiac surgical caseload, St. Francis has had the largest surgical caseload in the state and among the best success rates. This unsurpassed experience translates not only into superior success rates, but into our ability to offer patients access to the latest innovative technology and techniques. A hallmark of the St. Francis experience is the team approach to care. As Chairman of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at St. Francis Hospital, as well as Director of Cardiovascular Services for the entire Catholic Health Services of Long Island system, I can say with great confidence that our team of cardiac surgeons work closely with our renowned colleagues in interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, and cardiac imaging, as well as with the cornerstone of patient care, our highly trained, Magnet Award-winning nursing staff. 

St. Francis Hospital is known as an innovator and an early adopter in leading edge techniques that are improving success outcomes and reducing recover times.  We are directly and primarily responsible for a dramatic growth in the routine use of arterial conduits for treatment of coronary disease (Internal Mammary Artery CABG), device therapy for treatment of sudden death, advanced operations for thoracic aortic disease, videoscopic thoracic procedures, minimally invasive cardiac procedures, the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation, the introduction of robotics to contemporary cardiothoracic surgery, and more recently, ventricular assist devices and advanced trans-catheter valve therapies. 

Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Francis Hospital has been consistently ranked as a national leader by U.S News and World Report – repeatedly ranked in the top 20 and often in the top 10 for Cardiovascular Disease treatment. The Structural Heart Program we’ve established is among the top two busiest programs in the NY metropolitan area, and among the top five busiest programs in the country.


No matter the procedure, St. Francis patients and their loved ones can count on the highest degree of reliability and safety. The hospital is large enough to employ the latest technology yet small enough to maintain the all-important human touch, so critical to success in medicine.

If you have any questions, or would like a consultation with one our surgeons, please call 1-888-HEARTNY. 

- Newell Robinson, M.D., Chairman of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery 


Cardiothoracic Surgery - An Overview

St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center® is a national leader in cardiac surgery, operating the busiest program in New York State and maintaining one of the best success rates. The Hospital’s seven cardiothoracic surgeons have the combined experience of over 20,000 open-heart procedures in the last 10 years alone and are expert in all types of heart surgery, from conventional, open-heart bypass to off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB), to the newest, minimally invasive valve procedures, including surgical techniques designed to treat certain cardiac arrhythmias or irregular heart rhythms. Two St. Francis surgeons perform nearly all of their cases off-pump, i.e., without stopping the heart or placing the patient on a heart-lung machine. And nearly 100 percent of cases of isolated heart valve repair are performed via a minimally invasive approach.  Dr. Newell Robinson, Chairman Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Francis Hospital, is listed among the top three valve surgeons in New York State, and has been recognized among New York’s Top Doctor Awards annually for over a decade.

Studies consistently show that patients fare better when they go to physicians and hospitals that perform a high volume of procedures. In a recent analysis by The New York Times, St. Francis Hospital was ranked number one in the Tri-State area in cardiac surgery caseload and in the number of surgeons with the most experience. This experience provides the Hospital with a strong foundation on which to explore new approaches to care for patients who otherwise might not have had treatment options.  For example, St. Francis Hospital recently became one of the first centers to introduce mini-maze surgery to treat atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disturbance that can cause potentially fatal symptoms. St. Francis surgeons have also begun to explore the application of robotic surgical technology to Cardiothoracic surgery, important work that is taking place today but which promises even greater benefits and faster recoveries for patients tomorrow. 

Conditions Treated

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Valve disease
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Aortic insufficiency
  • Aortic and arch aneurysms
  • Aortic dissections
  • Arrhythmia
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Mitral valve regurgitation
  • Mitral valve stenosis
  • Complex thoracic aortic disease
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial septal defects
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Endocarditis
  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis

Key Treatments

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: On and Off Pump - Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is perhaps the best-known type of Cardiothoracic surgery. Using portions or grafts of a patient’s own veins or arteries, surgeons provide a new source of blood flow around blocked coronary arteries. In on-pump bypass surgery, the surgeon opens the patient’s chest, stops the patient’s heart, and places the patient on a heart-lung machine while the operation takes place. In the newer, minimal access, off-pump procedures, surgeons are able to operate directly on the beating heart.

Valve Repair/Replacement Surgery - Heart valve disease has potentially serious consequences for heart function, often blocking or reversing the natural flow of blood through the heart. To treat valve disease, surgeons either repair the patient's valve or replace it with a tissue or mechanical valve. Minimally invasive techniques are the preferred approach to valve repair surgery for appropriate candidates. In addition, through the Everest II clinical trial, a team at St. Francis is investigating a promising non-invasive, interventional approach to valve repair using the Evalve clip.

Atrial Fibrillation Surgery - An estimated two million Americans live with irregular heart rhythms, called arrhythmias. Atrial fibrillation is a form of arrhythmia that can lead to stroke, congestive heart failure, or cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart. In addition to treatments such as radiofrequency ablation at our world-renowned Arrhythmia and Pacemaker Center, St. Francis Hospital also offers the latest minimally invasive surgical treatments, such as mini-maze procedure, that can restore proper heart rhythm function.

St. Francis Hospital’s ground-breaking accomplishments in Cardiothoracic Surgery in chronological order: 

  • Established arterial revascularization as standard for coronary artery bypass grafting (1986)
  • Performed first Automatic Cardioverter Defibrillator at St. Francis Hospital. (1990)
  • Introduced and developed one of the largest aortic surgery programs in the NY metro area.
  • Established a program for the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation. (Cox Maze II)
  • Initiated and developed the largest and most successful minimally invasive cardiac surgery program on Long Island, and the longest continually running MICS practice in the metro area; currently among the top three Valvular Heart Surgeons in NY State. (1996)
  • Performed the first insertion of a left ventricular support device (Tandem Heart) at St. Francis Hospital, and more recently the development of a modern Left Ventricular Assist Device program in partnership with Montefiore Hospital, Bronx, NY.
  • Modernized cardio-pulmonary perfusion techniques, inclusive of percutaneous access, as well as cerebral and peripheral oximetry to continually assess perfusion and oxygenation.
  • Renovated our Heart Center Operating rooms to include two of the best State-of-the-Art Cardiac Hybrid Operating Rooms in the Metro Area.
  • Extended the SFH Open Heart Surgery Program to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip.
  • Established our Structural Heart Program in conjunction with Cardiology and our departmental chairman, Dr. Richard Shlofmitz in 2009, culminating in a multiphase research effort shared with Dr. George Petrossian that has become one of the top three such programs in the nation, resulting in over 30 peer review published academic articles to date.
  • Opened the John Brancaccio Valve Center in 2012.

St. Francis Ranks Among the Best

U.S. News & World Report once again ranks St. Francis the Top Hospital on Long Island, as well as High Performing in five specialties. 

Best Nurses, Magnet Recognized

St. Francis Hospital has earned the coveted Magnet award for excellence in nursing.

Cardiac Fitness & Rehabilitation

St. Francis offers the largest medically-supervised program on Long Island

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St. Francis Ranks Among the Best

U.S. News & World Report once again ranks St. Francis the Top Hospital on Long Island, as well as High Performing in five specialties. 

Read more

Best Nurses, Magnet Recognized

St. Francis Hospital has earned the coveted Magnet award for excellence in nursing.

Read more

Cardiac Fitness & Rehabilitation

St. Francis offers the largest medically-supervised program on Long Island

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