Cardiac Surgery | Cardiac Surgeons | MedStar Health
A team of cardiac surgeons from MedStar Health pose for a group photo in an operating room.
MedStar Health Cardiac Surgeons: (L to R standing) Jeffrey Cohen, MD; Christian Shults, MD; Yuji Kawano, MD; John Conte, MD; Rachel Harrison, MD; (L to R, seated) Ammar Bafi, MD; Keki Balsara, MD; Thomas MacGillivray, MD; and Brian Bethea, MD

Welcome to the Department of Cardiac Surgery at MedStar Health, one of the largest, and most experienced programs in the country. Our surgeons and other providers care for patients at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in our nation’s capital and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. We have been a premier destination for patients from the mid-Atlantic region, and nationally for more than half a century. From performing the first heart transplant in the nation’s capital to being the first area hospital to provide minimally invasive heart valve surgery, our program has been synonymous with outstanding care and innovation.

Our cardiac surgeons offer a wide array of heart surgeries that are tailored to each patient’s specific needs – including planned or emergency care for coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, aortic aneurysm, arrhythmias, heart failure as well as less common conditions. We care for patients in a multidisciplinary manner, working with our colleagues to seek out the best possible therapeutic option for each patient, in a compassionate and personalized manner.

As one of the highest volume heart surgery programs in the mid-Atlantic, our experience and expertise translate into outstanding outcomes for our patients. We routinely perform complex operations and successfully take care of patients who were deemed to be inoperable at other places. Cardiac surgery services are located in the Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Maryland areas.

Our staff offer the latest surgical techniques and technologies, whenever possible. We are proud of our state-of-the-art facilities that combine the most advanced technology available with expert cardiac surgeons, nurse practitioners, care nurses, and other specialized caregivers. MedStar Washington Hospital Center is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 50 cardiology and heart surgery programs by U.S. News & World Report.

At a glance

We annually perform


Innovative treatments

  • Our hospitals serve as clinical testing sites for nearly every major clinical trial for heart valve repair and replacement treatment options.
  • We were the first-and remain the most experienced- health system in the region to offer Hybrid Convergent Therapy for treatment of longstanding, persistent atrial fibrillation.
  • Participated in the testing and development of ventricular assist devices (VADs) which are now routinely used to bridge the time before heart transplantation.
  • Our surgeons developed and perfected off-pump bypass surgery, also known as beating-heart bypass surgery.

Our hospital and office support team   

Our patients interact with a number of healthcare professionals during the course of their hospital stay including:

  • Anesthesiologists

    Anesthesiologists administer the medication and general anesthesia that allow you to sleep during the surgery. The anesthesiologists will also place devices to monitor your vital signs during surgery and administer medication.

  • Perfusionists

    Perfusionists operate the heart-lung machine which may be used to support your heart and lungs during your procedure.

  • Critical care physicians

    Critical Care physicians, nurses and other health professionals are the specially trained clinicians who staff the critical care units.

  • Cardiac surgery nurse practitioners and physician assistants

    Cardiac surgery nurse practitioners and physician assistants are advanced practice clinicians who provide patient care in multiple settings.

  • Cardiac nurses

    Cardiac nurses are specially trained nurses who staff the cardiac care units.

  • Dieticians

    Dietitians provide medical nutrition therapy, evaluate and report results.

  • Therapists

    Therapists provide physical, occupational, and respiratory therapy during the post-operative hospital stay.

  • Care managers

    Care managers monitor the patient’s care during the hospital stay and develop a discharge plan.

  • Cardiac surgery office staff

    Cardiac surgery office staff manage appointments and communication with the cardiac surgeons in the office setting.

Our locations

Distance from Change locationEnter your location

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218


From offering patients all the available diagnostic and treatment options, to advancing scientific research, innovation is at the heart of the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute.

The MedStar Cardiovascular Research Network brings pioneering research in a variety of cardiovascular disease areas to patients throughout the region.  Our ongoing collaborations with the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and other leading institutions enable our participation in some of the world’s most progressive cardiovascular investigations. Current clinical trials offer our patients the newest methods of treating heart conditions.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.