Cardiothoracic Anesthesia


The Division of Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology (ACTA) in the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University Medical Center has a fourfold mission: patient care, education, research, and faculty development. Ever since the first cardiac surgery performed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University 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 currently ranked third by U.S. News & World Report for adult cardiology and heart 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 19 highly experienced faculty members with various additional training and affiliations in the divisions of critical care medicine, obstetric anesthesiology, and medical informatics. 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 seven 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 a 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.


Jack Shanewise, MD, F.A.S.E.
Chief, Division of Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesia

Marc Dickstein, MD

Jonathan Hastie, MD

Maya Hastie, MD
Program Director of ACTA Fellowship

Mark Heath, MD

Desmond Jordan, MD

Taylor Johnston, MD
Director, Anesthesia for Cath Lab

Bessie Kachulis, MD
Director, Anesthesia for Thoracic Services

Sansan Lo, MD

Marie-Louise Meng, MD

Steve Miller, MD

Andrea Miltiades, MD

Teresa Mulaikal, MD

Ervant Nishanian, MD

Alexander Rusanov, MD

Vikram Saxena, MD
Associate Program Director of ACTA Fellowship

Jessica Spellman, MD
Director, Anesthesia for Cardiac Services

Isaac Wu, MD
Director, Perioperative Echocardiography