History of Firsts

Here are just a few examples of how NYU Langone doctors have transformed the practice of cardiovascular medicine by pioneering innovative research and treatment approaches:


The first outpatient cardiac clinic in New York is established by NYU's Dr. Hubert V. Guile.


Dr. William S. Tillett conducts groundbreaking studies of enzymes involved in blood clotting. His work leads to the development of streptokinase, an anticlotting agent used to combat heart attacks.


Dr. Frank C. Spencer's seminal work on coronary artery bypass grafting and other techniques helps form the foundation of modern-day cardiac surgery. Building on this research, NYU's Dr. George Green becomes the first surgeon in the country to use an internal mammary artery (rather than a leg vein) for a coronary artery bypass graft, significantly improving the durability of this surgical procedure. Also in this decade, Dr. Anthony Imparato, of the Division of Vascular Surgery, pioneers the new field of vascular surgery.


Dr. Thomas S. Riles and his colleagues in the Division of Vascular Surgery develop the first long-term follow-up database to study carotid stenosis.


NYU's Noninvasive Cardiology Laboratory is the first in New York to perform two-dimensional echocardiography, advancing the technology used to image the beating heart. In 1979, the lab is the first in New York to perform Doppler ultrasound of the heart, a technique that allows doctors to noninvasively visualize blood flow.


Dr. Stephen B. Colvin, former Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at NYU School of Medicine, introduces a new surgical technique for repairing (rather than replacing) leaky mitral valves.


Dr. Robert J. Rosen establishes the Division of Interventional Radiology at NYU Medical Center, and introduces new instrumentation for angioplasty that is now in use worldwide.


The first multidisciplinary clinic for the management of children and adults with congenital vascular malformations is established at NYU Medical Center. This clinic, jointly run by Dr. Robert J. Rosen (Interventional Radiology and Endovascular Surgery), Dr. Francine Blei (Pediatric Hematology), and Dr. Nolan Karp (Plastic Surgery), is now recognized as a world leader in this field, both in clinical research and as a referral center for patients with arteriovenous malformations.


The Noninvasive Cardiology Laboratory becomes the first center in New York to perform transesophageal echocardiography, an examination that produces images of the heart and aorta of a quality higher than those obtained using conventional echocardiography.


The Divisions of Vascular Surgery and Interventional Radiology embark upon clinical trials for the development of endografts to repair abdominal aortic aneurysms. Dr. Thomas S. Riles, now Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and Dr. Robert J. Rosen, now Director of Interventional Radiology and Endovascular Surgery, perform the first endovascular repair for these aneurysms. With the use of a new minimally invasive surgery technique, patients experience less pain and can go home one to two days after this procedure.


NYU cardiac surgeons participate in one of the first robotic surgery clinical trials. Today, they are evaluating a novel robotic surgical system to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures, particularly those involving repair of the mitral valve.


NYU cardiac surgeons perform the world's first minimally invasive mitral valve repair using a "port-access approach," which accesses the heart via small chest incisions and allows the patient to recover more quickly than traditional open-heart surgery. That same year, NYU surgeons also use the port-access approach to perform the country's first minimally invasive triple bypass surgery. Our surgeons have completed over 1,500 surgeries of this type, more than any other group worldwide.


Dr. Colvin and his colleague, Dr. Aubrey C. Galloway, Director of Cardiac Surgical Research, announce a major advance in heart valve repair technology with the launch of the Colvin-Galloway Future Band -- a new semi-rigid band used to repair leaky mitral valves. Also in 2001, NYU's Division of Vascular Surgery begins performing novel minimally invasive treatments for varicose vein surgery, called VNUS and Trivex.