The Irina and George Schaeffer Distinguished Chair in Cardiac Surgery
Professor and Chairman, Department of Cardiac Surgery
Smidt Heart Institute Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Los Angeles, CA
Editor-in-Chief, The Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Dr. Chikwe is Chairman of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, and holds the Irina and George Schaeffer Distinguished Chair in Cardiac Surgery at the Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She is also Editor-in-Chief of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, the leading academic journal in cardiothoracic surgery, and official journal of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
A recognized thought leader in the field of heart valve surgery and mitral valve repair, Dr. Chikwe’s specific expertise is focused on robotic cardiac surgery. As Chairman of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Cardiac Surgery, she directs one of the nation’s premiere cardiac surgery programs, currently ranked by U.S News and World Report among the top 3 nationally, and home to the leading heart and lung transplant, structural heart, and robotic cardiac surgery programs.
Dr. Chikwe’s research encompasses the interface between interventional and surgical therapies for valvular heart and coronary artery disease, with over 200 peer reviewed publications including contributions in The New England Journal of Medicine and The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). She is the national Principal Investigator of the NHLBI sponsored pivotal randomized trial of Percutaneous or surgical Repair In Mitral prolapse And Regurgitation in patients >65 Years (PRIMARY) with the Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network. In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of The Annals, Dr. Chikwe is Section Editor for Valvular Heart Disease for The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), Associate Editor for Cardiac Surgery for The European Heart Journal; and serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. Notable research recognitions include visiting professorships and lectureships at Yale, Harvard, and Toronto university hospitals.
Dr. Chikwe has served as Chair of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) Degenerative Mitral Repair Consensus Statement, Vice-Chair of the American Heart Association Methodological Standards in Randomized Controlled Trials in Cardiac Surgery, and Vice-Chair of the American Heart Association Valvular Heart Disease Performance Measures writing committees. She serves on the New York State Cardiac Advisory Committee, the AATS Surgery Quality Gateway, the American College of Cardiology Shock Registry Steering Committee, the Mitral Valve Academic Research Consortium and the European Association for Cardiothoracic Surgery Mitral and Tricuspid Valve Taskforce.
As a dedicated educator, Dr. Chikwe was Program Director of one of the first 6-year integrated thoracic surgery residency programs in the US; founded the AATS Careers College and the Sir Magdi Yacoub Career Development Award to support diversity in cardiothoracic surgery, serves as Chair of the AATS Adult Cardiac Education Committee, Co-Chair of the AATS Evarts A. Graham Memorial Traveling Fellowship Committee, on the AATS Leadership Academy Committee and is author of three textbooks in multiple editions, published by Oxford University Press.
Dr. Chikwe studied medicine at Oxford University after spending two years in Florence, Italy studying art. She completed cardiac surgery residency training in the United Kingdom, where she was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS). She won the prestigious 2006 Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (SCTS) Cardiac Scholarship, to undertake an advanced fellowship in mitral and aortic surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where she subsequently joined the faculty until 2019 when she was recruited to Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles as the inaugural Chairman of the Department of Cardiac Surgery. She runs 10k daily, used to play piano concertos and supports Norwich City F.C. for family reasons.