Dr. Arnar Geirsson, a pioneer in minimally invasive and robotic cardiac surgical procedures, has been appointed director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Surgical Heart Valve Program at NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University Irving Medical Center, effective Sept. 1. He will also serve as professor of surgery in the Division of Cardiac, Thoracic, and Vascular Surgery at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
NewYork-Presbyterian’s heart valve program, one of the largest and most experienced in the nation, provides advanced and comprehensive cardiac care, with a world-class team of heart specialists developing and refining minimally invasive techniques that speed recovery for patients. In his new role, Dr. Geirsson will further elevate the program as a leader in surgical innovation, with a focus on mitral valve (one of the heart’s four valves that help prevent blood from flowing backwards as it moves through the heart) and robotic mitral valve surgery. He will also prioritize the training and mentoring of the next generation of physicians specializing in robotic surgery.
“Dr. Geirsson is an exceptionally talented surgeon, researcher and leader who is committed to advancing clinical care and research for the benefit of cardiac patients,” said Dr. Hiroo Takayama, chief of adult cardiac surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Morris and Rose Milstein Professor of Surgery at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Geirsson to NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia. Dr. Geirsson is amongst the world’s leading robotic cardiac surgeons and has dramatically improved the field of cardiac valve repair. We look forward to his leadership,” said Dr. Emile Bacha, chief of the Division of Cardiac, Thoracic, and Vascular Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Roth Salzhauer Family Professor of Surgery at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Geirsson joins NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia from Yale Medicine in New Haven, CT, where he served as surgeon-in-chief of cardiac surgery of the Heart and Vascular Center at Yale New Haven Hospital. Among his notable milestones, he performed the first minimally right thoracotomy mitral valve surgery (a minimally invasive surgical technique with smaller incisions between the ribs) at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2009 and the hospital’s first robotic mitral valve surgery in 2018.
“I am excited to join the outstanding cardiology team at NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia, an organization committed to driving innovation in research and clinical care,” said Dr. Geirsson. “Robotic surgery is a team effort and I’m honored to lead such a talented care team and mentor the physicians of tomorrow as we provide the best care possible to our patients.”
Dr. Geirsson’s research interests include both basic and clinical science, with a focus on mitral valve prolapse, which is when the two valve flaps of the mitral valve collapse upward into the left upper chamber, and aortic aneurysm disease, a condition impacting the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso. He has authored more than 170 manuscripts published in leading, peer-reviewed journals and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and Annals of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Geirsson serves on numerous committees, including as the chair of the Task Force on Robotic Cardiac Surgery for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and he is an active fellow of professional societies that include the American College of Surgeons and the American Heart Association.
Dr. Geirsson earned his undergraduate degree from Hamrahlid College, Reykjavik, Iceland, and his medical degree from the University of Iceland. After completing his residency in general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, respectively, he joined Yale as the director of minimally invasive cardiac surgery. From 2013 to 2016, he served as a cardiothoracic surgeon in Iceland, until his return to Yale.