Heart and Vascular | Northern Virginia, MD and DC Region | MedStar Health

As a national leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, we have been the premier destination for heart and vascular care in the D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia region for more than 60 years.

With more than 170 physician specialists across 10 MedStar Health hospitals as well as physicians’ offices throughout the region, patients have access to the most advanced care available close to where they live and work.

Best Hospitals 2022-2023 for Cardiology and Heart Surgery / Society of Thoracic Surgeons logos

What sets us apart

  • Extensive research: At any given time, we also have 120 clinical research studies underway through our research arm, MedStar Cardiovascular Research Network
  • Advanced cardiovascular programs: Our physicians treat patients with all types of heart and vascular conditions, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of even the most advanced and complex conditions. 

  • State-of-the-art facilities: We’ve designed and built specialized facilities such as the Zirkin Heart Hospital, Radial Recovery Lounge, and minimally invasive vascular surgery suites to deliver the highest quality cardiovascular care and achieve the best patient outcomes.

  • 24/7 emergency transport: Through MedSTAR Rapid Transport, we have the region’s only 24/7 emergency transport team. Our fleet of helicopters and ambulances, backed by an on-site cardiac treatment team, is available when every minute matters.

Zirkin Heart Hospital

Centralized specialty care for the most complex cardiovascular conditions

Zirkin heart hospital

Opened in July 2016 on the campus of MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart and Vascular Hospital ushered in a new model of care for patients throughout Washington, D.C., and the mid-Atlantic region.

The four-story, 160,000-square-foot facility unites virtually the entire heart and vascular care delivery staff—cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, nurse practitioners, cardiac care nurses, and other specialized caregivers—into one cohesive team in one location for more effective, streamlined care. Patients with similar medical conditions are cared for in designated specialty-care units to achieve the best patient outcomes.

The facility positions MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute, already one of the busiest cardiac surgical centers in the United States, for continued accomplishments in the years ahead.

The Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart and Vascular Hospital was named to recognize longtime Washingtonians Nancy and Harold Zirkin for their generosity and extraordinary philanthropic support of the heart and vascular hospital. Their $10 million leadership gift was the largest single contribution in the history of MedStar Health.

What’s inside the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart and Vascular Hospital

Every aspect of the new hospital was designed with patients’ comfort, convenience, and safety in mind. From admission to discharge, all aspects of the new hospital-within-a-hospital help promote that goal:

  • Outpatient clinic area that includes offices for cardiologists and surgeons and an enlarged echocardiology lab
  • Expanded 54-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit, combining cardio recovery, coronary critical care, and surgical intensive care into one
  • Central booms suspended from the ceilings in ICU rooms for medical gases and electrical and data outlets, providing clinicians unrestricted access to the patient from all four sides of the bed
  • A total of 164 rooms, most of them private, furnished with couches and other amenities to increase the comfort and satisfaction of patients and their families
  • Echocardiography, X-ray, stress tests, and other noninvasive services on each patient floor for faster, more convenient examinations and evaluations

MedStar celebrates the opening of Zirkin Heart and Vascular Hospital

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A team of pioneers in heart and vascular care

We are one of the mid-Atlantic region’s premier providers of heart and vascular care. It’s a position we take pride in and a responsibility we take seriously. Our leadership team ensures we continue to push the envelope in the level of care we provide and in developing the next generation of advanced treatments. 

MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute’s leaders are dedicated to applying everything we’ve learned and plotting the course of heart and vascular care for patients in our region for decades to come. 

  • Meet our leadership team

    MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute


    Steven D. Abramowitz, MD
    Director, Vascular Program, MedStar Health

    Brian T. Bethea, MD
    Chief, Cardiac Surgery 
    MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

    Zayd A. Eldadah, MD, PHD  
    Chief, Cardiac Electrophysiology, MedStar Health

    Robert A. Lager, MD
    Chief, Ambulatory Practices, Washington Region

    Thomas MacGillivray, MD
    Physician Executive Director of Cardiac Surgery at MedStar Health and Chairman of Cardiac Surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

    Glenn R. Meininger, MD
    Chief, Cardiac Electrophysiology, Baltimore region 

    Samer S. Najjar, MD
    Regional Chief of Cardiology, Baltimore 
    Chief, Cardiology, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital 

    Sriram Padmanabhan, MD
    Chief, Cardiology, MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center 

    Lowell F. Satler, MD
    Medical Director, Interventional Cardiology, Washington Region 
    Chief, Cardiac Catheterization Lab, MedStar Washington Hospital Center 

    Stuart F. Seides, MD
    Physician Executive Director 

    Farooq Sheikh, MD
    Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure, Mechanical Circulatory Support, and Cardiac Transplantation, MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute and MedStar Washington Hospital Center

    Allen J. Taylor, MD
    Regional Chief of Cardiology, Washington 
    Chief, Cardiology, MedStar Washington Hospital Center and
    MedStar Georgetown University Hospital 

    Raghuveer Vallabhaneni, MD
    Director, Vascular Surgery, Baltimore Region 

    Ron Waksman, MD 
    Director of Cardiovascular Research and Advanced Education, MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute 

    John Wang, MD
    Medical Director, Interventional Cardiology, Baltimore region 
    Chief, Cardiac Catheterization Lab, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital 

    Michelle Frymoyer  
    Vice-President of Operations, Ambulatory Cardiology Practices 

    Cheryl Lunnen, RN, BS  
    Vice-President MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute, Baltimore Region 

    Carrie Richardson, DNP, MSN, RN-C 
    Senior Director of Nursing and Patient Care Services, MedStar Washington Hospital Center

    Yang Zhao 
    Sr. Director, Surgical Business Operations, MedStar Washington Hospital Center 


Proven excellence in heart and vascular care

Heart and vascular surgery
For more than six decades, residents of the mid-Atlantic region have turned to our doctors for the most advanced heart and vascular care. We are proud of our reputation for excellence and continue to strive to provide the highest quality care and latest research for every patient who comes through our doors. Below are some of the highlights of our long history of heart and vascular care in the region. 

We are proud of our accomplishments, but our main goal remains the same: to provide our region with the most advanced, high-quality cardiovascular care available. 

MedSTAR Rapid Transportation

Fast, reliable emergency transportation is just a call away

MedSTAR Transport takes about 10,000 patients each year to and from MedStar Health facilities in our fleet of four medevac helicopters and five ambulances. Thanks to our highly qualified air and ground transportation teams, no patient is far from advanced cardiovascular care. 

Our 24/7 communication center is always prepared to facilitate moving patients from outlying facilities into the MedStar Health system. From expediting the referral and coordinating the transport to locating an admitting physician and making bed assignments, we’re ready when patients need us most. 

Air transportation

Rapid transportation

Our helicopter bases are strategically located throughout the mid-Atlantic region to transport critical care cardiac patients. The standard flight crew includes a pilot, critical care nurse, and critical care paramedic, all of whom are trained to handle the full spectrum of adult and pediatric cardiac emergencies. 

The medical crews are required to maintain licensure in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware and to be certified in all areas of life support.

Our pilots are required to be helicopter-instrument-rated and have a Class 2 medical certificate, as well as a minimum of: 

  • 2,000 total flight hours 
  • 1,500 helicopter flight hours 
  • 1,000 helicopter hours as pilot in command (PIC) 
  • 100 hours of unaided night-flight time as PIC 
  • 500 hours of turbine time 
  • Ground transportation

    MedStar Health owns five ambulances and partners with All American Ambulance, whose medical services include basic and advanced life support and specialty care transports into or out of any MedStar Health facility. 

    The ambulance units are fully equipped for emergency cardiac care. The units are staffed by state-certified emergency medical technicians, nationally registered or state-certified paramedics, and registered nurses. A wheelchair-van service is available for clients who require assisted transportation but not an ambulance. 


    The future of cardiovascular research

    From the most effective new cardiac treatments, to staying ahead of the latest scientific advances, research and innovation are at the heart of MedStar Cardiovascular Research Network. We are committed to developing new technologies and strategies to enhance patient care. 

    MedStar Cardiovascular Research Network is a comprehensive and successful research and education program designed to improve survival and quality of life for people with cardiovascular disease. Through MCRN, we bring the benefits of pioneering research and clinical trials to patients throughout the region. 

    Led by scientists, cardiovascular investigators and physicians, research nurses, and others, MCRN is involved in up to 120 active studies on topics such as acute coronary syndrome, cardiac imaging, heart failure, gene discovery and more. Its internationally recognized Cardiovascular Core Laboratory includes dedicated facilities and experts in angiography, echocardiography, intravascular ultrasound, cardiac MRI and cardiac CT. 

    At any time, we are involved in 30 to 50 investigational trials for the treatment of heart disease, and our cardiologists and cardiac surgeons publish their findings in national and international journals. 

    Learn more

    “Leading the evolution of cardiovascular care” Capabilities, Performance, Outcomes: 2023-2024

    Discover how our commitment to teamwork, transparency, and innovation leads to the best possible results for our patients.