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Heart Health Program

NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue’s Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Departments are world-renowned. Our team of cardiologists provide a wide range of outpatient and inpatient diagnostic, clinical, and surgical services for cardiology patients, and we are the only public hospital in New York City where open-heart surgery is performed.

The Heart Health Program provides non-invasive and minimally invasive diagnostic tests and procedures to address a variety of conditions related to the heart, such as congestive heart failure, hardening of the arteries, and hereditary conditions. The Cardiology Service, led by Chief of Cardiology, Dr. Norma Keller, and the Cardiothoracic Surgery Service, led by Dr. Alfred Culliford, work in close connection with the Departments of Pediatrics, Vascular Surgery, Women’s Services, and Stroke Service to ensure a full complement of care for our patients.

Bellevue is at the forefront of cardiac care, providing a full range of services and employing a true multidisciplinary team approach to result in excellent patient outcomes. Like all of the clinical services at Bellevue, our Cardiology Service and Cardiothoracic Surgery Service are affiliated with New York University School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center.

Bellevue physicians are leaders in their fields as teachers and educators, researchers, clinicians, and hands-on health care providers. They are skilled surgeons, expert diagnosticians, and compassionate caregivers. Working with their team of experienced physician’s assistants, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and other health care providers, they are committed to providing the very best professional medical care for their patients, while practicing kindness and empathy.

Leaders in Health Care

In the always-advancing field of cardiology, technology and training are paramount to positive outcomes for our patients. NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue continually invests in lifesaving equipment and staff development to always be competitive in the New York City regional health care marketplace.

Our heart health program includes preventative care, emergency care, and follow-up care. Clinical office hours are offered in the specialized fields of advanced congestive heart failure, congenital cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, thoracic surgery, and many others. Our specialists hold office hours in our modern, new ambulatory care facility. Heart patients are seen in outpatient appointments Monday through Saturday for a variety of issues, including medication management, testing, non-invasive procedures, and other pre- and post-operative care.

Our Emergency Department (ED) features a dedicated Cardiac Catheterization Lab (Cath Lab). This gives patients having an acute heart attack who arrive in the ED an increased chance of survival. They are taken directly to the Cath Lab so specialists can open blocked arteries immediately.

The standard average time for this procedure, which is called “door-to-balloon,” is 90 minutes. At NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, we achieve this 90-minute goal 100% of the time. In fact, our average door-to-balloon time is under 50 minutes. This is one of the reasons NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue has received multiple awards and accolades for outcomes, including the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines™ Heart Failure GOLD PLUS Achievement Award two years in a row and its “Mission: Lifeline® STEMI Receiving Center Silver 2015 Quality Achievement Award.”

Cardiology Team

Cardiology – Appointments 212-562-1312


Norma M. Keller, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Chief of Cardiology, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue


Alfred Culliford, M.D.

Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue


Every day there are advancements in the fields of Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue boasts the very latest systems, technology, and knowledge in the field, such as our high-tech Cardiothoracic Operating Room for thoracic cancer surgery and endovascular stenting. Our Cardiovascular Post Anesthesia Care Unit (CV PACU) has the most modern, state-of-the-art equipment available today. Our physicians are experts in diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterization, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, and every other phase of cardiology, including invasive and non-invasive surgical heart procedures. Our physicians are authorities in cardiac medicine.

We are a Center of Excellence and offer sophisticated technology. Our physicians have many specialties, including cardiac emergency, congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure (CHF), and the complexities of women and heart disease. We are experts in the care of complex cardiovascular conditions using cardiac catheterization, cardiopulmonary bypass, hemodialysis, pediatric and adult cardio-cooling, and cardiovascular surgery (CV). NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue serves a population as diverse as New York City.

The Heart

The heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body, carrying oxygen and nutrients to your organs and removing dangerous carbon dioxide. A healthy heart is a vital component of well-being. There are many conditions that could cause your heart to not function properly—whether caused by genetics, lifestyle, trauma, or disease. NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue is committed to helping prevent and treat cardiovascular disease by promoting healthy lifestyles and providing the most advanced and comprehensive heart care for our community.

Here is a list of some of the cardiac conditions we treat and services we offer. For more information, contact us at 212-562-1312.

  • Aortic Disease
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Cardiac Care Unit (CCU)
  • Cardiac Catheterization (cath lab) and other diagnostic and interventional therapies
  • Cardiac Imaging
  • Cardiogenic Shock
  • Cardiovascular Disease/Heart Disease/Circulatory System Disease
  • Congenital Heart Defect (adult)
  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
  • Coronary and Peripheral Artery Disease
  • Device Implantation (pacemaker/defibrillator)
  • Echocardiogram (Echo)
  • Electrophysiology Studies (EP)
  • Endocarditis
  • Heart Attack (Acute Myocardial Infarction)
  • Heart/Event Monitoring
  • Heart Valve Surgery
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  • Hyperlipidemia (High Cholesterol)
  • Percutaneous Coronary and Peripheral Intervention/PCI
  • Stress Testing
  • Syncope (Fainting)
  • Women and Heart Disease


NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue is the recipient of numerous accreditations, awards, and other accolades, including:

  • The American College of Cardiology has recognized NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue’s heart program as a Center of Excellence for our commitment to high standards of medical practice, dedication to providing quality cardiovascular care, and excellent clinical outcomes.
  • The Joint Commission’s Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® program recognizes accredited hospitals that attain excellence on accountability measure performance. The program is based on data reported in the previous year about evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to be the best treatments for certain conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, inpatient psychiatric services, stroke, venous thromboembolism, immunization, and perinatal care.
  • American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines® (GWTG)–Heart Failure GOLD PLUS Achievement Award Hospital: “The American Heart Association recognizes this hospital for achieving 85% or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines® Heart Failure Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12 month intervals and at least 12 consecutive months of 75% or higher compliance with 5 or more Get With The Guidelines® Heart Failure Quality measures to improve quality of patient care and outcomes.”
  • American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke (GWTG), Silver Plus and Target Stroke Elite Award – The American Heart Association’s in-hospital program for improving stroke care by promoting consistent adherence to the latest scientific treatment guidelines. Numerous published studies demonstrate the program’s success in achieving measurable patient outcome improvements.
  • American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Resuscitation, Silver (Adult Population) Award – The primary goal of this American Heart Association collaborative quality improvement program is to help hospital teams save more lives threatened by cardiopulmonary emergencies through consistent application of the most up-to-date scientific guidelines for in-hospital resuscitation and post-cardiac resuscitation care.
  • FDNY Designate Center for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention for Acute Myocardial Infarctions
  • FDNY Designate Center for Hypothermia Post Cardiac Arrest
  • HHC Patient Safety Award 2012 A hugely successful study in 2008 yielded excellent results to reduce treatment times for STEMI heart attack patients, the most deadly form of heart attack. For those patients requiring percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), this study reduced the “door to open vessel” time for patients, ultimately saving lives.


There are many things we can do to live healthier lives. Risk factors for cardiac complications include high cholesterol, hypertension, tobacco/drug/alcohol use, diabetes, being HIV positive, and a family history. Other less obvious risk factors include homelessness, malnourishment, limited English proficiency, incarceration, lack of social support, and not having a primary care provider.

Our team can help patients gain access to a primary care physician and other vital, often free, services to help reduce risk factors. In addition NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue offers heart health programs and services to help you:

  • Increase physical activity – a sedentary lifestyle increases the risks of heart disease
  • quit smoking – one of the common risk factors for heart attacks
  • eat a heart healthy diet – our nutrition counselors can help create balanced diets, prevent obesity, and help people maintain healthy weight
  • control high blood pressure – our “Treat to Target” program is led by nurses who closely monitor your care.
  • learn more about your condition – we are committed to helping patients recognize signs of heart attack and seek immediate treatment.
  • prevent heart attacks and strokes – we make sure you get screened regularly for blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes