Can anyone recommend the BEST surgeon to do a pericardiectomy in New York City

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/28/2009 11:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Can anyone recommend the BEST surgeon to do a pericardiectomy in New York City? My husband will be having an angiogram by Dr. Alan Schwartz at New York Presbyterian, but he's not sure who will do the surgery (assume it is constrictive pericarditis). Dr. Oz, who is also at NYP has been mentioned. He has also looked into the Mayo in Minnesota. Someone mentioned St. Francis Hospital on Long Island. How do we find out who's the best (and who's done the most of them)? He and I would prefer that he stay close to home in New York rather than travel to the Mayo. Thanks!
Edit:  I gave your thread a topic.  :)

Post Edited By Moderator (stkitt) : 9/28/2009 1:09:08 PM (GMT-6)

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 9/28/2009 2:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  I certainly understand your wanting to choose the best surgeon for your husband.
Here are a few pointers in helping you make your final decision.
A good sign of a surgeon's competence is certification by a surgical board that is approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Surgeons who are board-certified in a surgical specialty have completed years of residency training and demonstrated knowledge and competence by successfully completing a rigorous examination.
The letters FACS (Fellow of the American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon's name mean the surgeon has passed a thorough evaluation of both professional competence and ethical fitness. Fellows are board-certified surgeons who are committed to placing the welfare of their patients above any other consideration.
Consider asking your surgeon how many pericardiectomies  he has performed in the past year. Many studies suggest that surgical outcomes tend to be better when surgical volume (the number of cases) is highest. A surgeon who does many  pericardiectomies each year will probably be a better choice than one who does few. But how many is “many”? Unfortunately, there is no definite answer. While some excellent surgeons can maintain their skills in doing a specific operation without continuing practice, if a doctor is not performing an operation like your husbands  at least every few weeks, you have reason to consider whether a more practiced surgeon might lead to a better outcome. If your surgeon practices in a teaching hospital, be sure to insist that your chosen surgeon, rather than an intern or resident, perform the operation.
Choosing a doctor who practices at a highly reputable, accredited hospital, usually  improves the chances of surgical quality while, again, not guaranteeing it.
Am I correct in believing the physician you are referring to is Dr. Alan Schwartz, the chief of cardiology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia? 
I wish you the best in choosing a surgeon. Perhaps another member will know of someone on the East Coast they can recommend to you. 


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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/29/2009 4:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your quick response and helpful pointers. My husband was released from our local hospital today. He had been experiencing recurrent pericarditis and, now, it is assumed that he has constrictive percarditis. When he was admitted to the hospital on Sunday, he was experiencing the worst pain that he'd ever felt. He was receiving 2mg of dilaudid every three hours and his indocin dosage was doubled. He's home and pain-free now. He has an appointment with Dr. Alan Schwartz (yes, the Chief of Cardiology @ NY-Presbyterian/Columbia) on Monday. Dr. Schwartz performed an angiogram on him 13 years ago. My husband's plan is to have Dr. Schwartz perform another angiogram and then have the surgery at NY-P/C, mostly likely with whomever Dr. Schwartz recommends.
Any feedback or suggestions from people who have had pericardiectomy experience at NY-P/C would be much appreciated.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/20/2009 2:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there -- I will be having a perichardietomy at the Mayo (Rochester) in January .-- which is where I had my original open heart surgery six years ago to repair the tricuspid valve (a congential heart condition, Ebsteins Anomaly). Although a former New Yorker, I now live in Santa Fe, NM, and though Rochester was far from home it was not a problem at all flying back after the surgery. Just a suggestion to not rule out Mayo (Rochester) because they do many perichardectomies (100 a year) and my surgeon, Dr. Joe Dearani, says he does about 25 a year. I can provide more info if you are interested.
Warm regards, EbHeart
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