Research is an integral part of our mission in the Weill Cornell Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. We strive to understand the pathophysiologic mechanisms of cardiovascular disease, develop and improve treatment methodologies, and improve the quality of the care that we offer. We have an active clinical and translational research center that focuses on the major cardiovascular disorders including coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, and aortic pathologies, such as aneurysms and other aortopathies.
Aortic Surgery Research
Aortic Surgery Clinical Database
The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery maintains a comprehensive database of aortic operations involving all segments of the aorta from the aortic root to the ascending aorta, aortic arch, descending thoracic aorta, thoracoabdominal aorta, and abdominal aorta. We perform outcomes analyses addressing various aortic pathologies and operations using complex statistical analysis in an effort identify the best techniques for aortic surgery procedures and to achieve optimal outcomes for our patients. Our data have been presented at numerous national and international forums and published in high-impact scientific journals.
The Cornell International Consortium for Aortic Surgery
This is a network of high quality, high volume international aortic centers who collaborate with us to combine data and perform large volume, multi-institutional data analyses. We utilize blinded external analysis of the data by a dedicated group of experts. This has allowed us to compare the outcomes of various surgical techniques across multiple institutions and identify the techniques that lead to optimal outcomes.
Study of Flow Dynamics in the Aorta using 4D-MRI
Two major research projects investigating the flow dynamics in the aortic root after valve-sparing operations in an animal model and in humans are being completed in collaboration with the European Hospital in Rome, the ForeCardioLab in Milan and the Universita’ La Sapienza in Rome. This research activity uses 4D-MRI, computational dynamics and sophisticated in vitro simulators to study the flow in the aortic root. Using 4D-MRI, our group has demonstrated changes in aortic flow physiology after operations on various segments of the aorta and we have compared the physiologic changes inside the aorta using different type of grafts.
Study of the Spinal Cord Circulation and Validation of Spinal Near-Infrared Spectroscopy
The efficacy of spinal near infrared spectroscopy in reflecting the changes in spinal cord circulation is being investigated in a pig model and in clinical practice during repairs of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms. Near-infrared spectroscopy is a non-invasive method of assessing tissue perfusion that is being evaluated as an alternative to more invasive and complicated methods such as somatosensory evoked potential or motor evoked potentials.
Study of the Distribution of Retrograde Brain Perfusion
The flow distribution of retrograde cerebral perfusion during operations on the aortic arch in deep hypothermic circulatory arrest is being investigated using highly specific neuronal markers.
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Research
Randomized comparison of the clinical Outcome of single versus Multiple Arterial grafts: the ROMA trial
The ROMA trial is a randomized multi-center trial aimed at evaluating the impact of the use of one versus two or more arterial grafts for coronary artery bypass surgery. The Weill Cornell Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery is the primary sponsor of this multi-national study, which aims to evaluate the benefits of using multiple arterial grafts in CABG surgery to improve survival and reduce the rate of complications. Learn more
Radial Artery Database International Alliance
This project was conceived to overcome the limitations of the single studies published to date on the radial artery and to create a joint database including all the major RCTs and propensity matched observational studies. This joint database will allow sufficient statistical power to perform the first patient-level meta-analysis to evaluate the clinical benefits related to the use of the radial artery. If successful this project will be the first to show a RCT-based survival benefits with the use of a second arterial conduit during coronary artery bypass operations.
Radial Artery Harvesting Techniques
This project studies the effects of different harvesting techniques on the vascular integrity of the radial artery used for coronary artery bypass grafting. Open harvesting techniques are compared to endoscopic techniques. Histologically, we examine the endothelial integrity, vascular innervation, and nitric oxide synthase expression in the harvested grafts.
The Effect of Posterior Pericardiotomy on the Incidence of Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is a common complication after cardiac surgery and it requires either medical/electrical cardioversion or anticoagulation to prevent more serious sequelae. This study analyzes the efficacy of a posterior pericardiotomy in preventing postoperative atrial fibrillation after open cardiac surgery by allowing fluid in the pericardial sac to drain more easily into the pleural space.
Our department participates in numerous national trials sponsored by industry representatives. We participate in studies to evaluate a variety of novel cardiac implants, such as innovative heart valve implants, heart valve repair techniques, aortic grafts, ventricular assist devices, and end-organ preservation devices. Learn more