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Montefiore in the News

March 30, 2010

New York City, NY (March 30, 2010) - Mario J. Garcia, MD, an eminent cardiologist and a leader in the development and clinical implementation of the most advanced, non-invasive cardiac diagnostic technology used around the world today, has been recruited as co-director of the Montefiore-Einstein Heart Center (MEHC) and as chief of Cardiology within the Department of Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center.   Dr. Garcia will also hold the title professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.   The appointments become effective April 1, 2010.

Prior to joining Montefiore and Einstein, Dr. Garcia was director of Echocardiography and in turn director of Cardiovascular Imaging at the Cleveland Clinic from 2000 to 2006.  He then joined the Mt. Sinai Medical Center as professor of Medicine and Radiology and director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Center, which he helped transform into a tertiary referral center for heart patients in Metro New York.   Dr. Garcia is triple boarded in cardiovascular medicine, internal medicine and echocardiography. 

"Dr. Garcia brings an unparalleled wealth of innovation and success in all aspects of diagnostic imaging for heart disease patients, but we especially welcome his prominent track record in advancing the field of non-invasive diagnostic techniques such as cardiac CT, echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging," said Victor Schuster, MD, chairman of the Department of Medicine at Montefiore and professor and the Ted and Florence Baumritter Chair in Medicine at Einstein.  

Appointment Bolsters Clinical Expertise of  Montefiore-Einsten Heart Center

"Over the past few years, the Montefiore-Einstein Heart Center has established a reputation as a distinguished center of excellence among heart patients and cardiac physicians in the tri-state region.  This transformation stems from our comprehensive approach to heart disease, which draws on the experience of noted experts in preventive medicine, electrophysiology, medical treatments, heart failure and complex cardiothoracic surgery,"  said Robert Michler, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief, professor and chairman of  Surgery, and professor and chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Montefiore and the Samuel I. Belkin Chair at Einstein. "Dr. Garcia's reputation for excellence, clinical mastery, and deep understanding of the New York region will significantly expand these existing strengths and dramatically improve heart care for patients throughout the New York region."

"The Bronx has an extremely high prevalence of heart disease risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis and hypertension," said Dr. Garcia.  "My goal is to ensure that all heart patients first receive effective preventive medicine, but if they are ill, we will provide them with unmatched diagnostic evaluation and cutting-edge medical and surgical treatment using a full array of state-of-the art technology.  In fact, our goal is to continuously set new standards for technology and care.  Establishing an accurate diagnosis early in the course of cardiac disease is the key to improve the efficacy of therapy, prevent disability and death and reduce health care costs."

Broad Experience in Cardiac Research, Teaching

Dr. Garcia's clinical and research interests in cardiac imaging are all encompassing, and include ongoing advances in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease, diastolic heart failure, cardiomyopathies and valvular heart disease.  He has received NIH, NASA and industry funding to develop non-invasive methods to evaluate the cardiovascular system. These methods have been used to study humans in a variety of conditions, from the hospital environment to manned space flight to the battlefield via telemedicine.

Dr. Garcia is the author of several medical text books and book chapters and he has penned over 160 peer review journal articles.  He sits on the board of directors of several professional societies and national and international scientific committees. 

Developing Cardiac CT

Dr. Garcia is well known worldwide for his contributions in the development and clinical implementation of CT coronary angiography, a technology that has revolutionized the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.  This imaging technique, which was developed over the last 15 years, avoids the use of invasive arterial catheterization to image the coronary arteries.  Instead, it uses a modified CT scanner to detect even the smallest atherosclerotic plaques that can cause narrowing of the coronary vessels and lead to deadly heart attacks. 

While at Cleveland Clinic, he tested the technology in animal and controlled human studies, which led to increased accuracy and lowered the use of radiation, both of which improved clinical effectiveness. 

"CT coronary angiography is particularly valuable in making therapy decisions for patients with chest pain who are at risk of coronary events because it is readily available, fast, accurate, safe and much less expensive than invasive catheterization," said Dr. Garcia.

Dr. Garcia graduated with a Doctorate in Medicine from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriques Urena in Santo Domino, Dominican Republic in 1986.  He is fluent in Spanish and English.