Dr. Stelzer is a professor of cardiothoracic surgery and co-director of the Heart Valve Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. You may contact him via email at his Mount Sinai address.
Dr. Stelzer’s roots go back to middle America having been born in Minnesota and raised in Nebraska. After graduation from college in Texas he came to New York for medical school and residency training. He is known as a “people person” who enjoys spending time getting to know his patients and keeping in touch with them. Dr. and Mrs. Stelzer have two terrific, talented children, a wonderful son-in-law and three delightful grandchildren.
His interest in valvular heart surgery began with aortic homograft surgery in 1985 and quickly expanded to the Ross Procedure with Ronald Elkins at the University of Oklahoma in 1986. Establishing the root replacement modification as the standard for the Ross Procedure has been Dr. Stelzer’s most significant contribution to the field. (See History section.) He also has extensive experience with the more standard techniques of valve repair and replacement with tissue and mechanical devices as well as coronary artery surgery including multiple arterial grafting. He uses minimally invasive approaches to valve and coronary surgery when appropriate.
Dr. Stelzer’s experience with the Ross Procedure in over 400 patients over twenty years is one of the longest and most extensive in the world. He also has a wealth of experience in other complex valve procedures and correction of ascending and arch aortic aneurysms.
His experience with autografts and homografts led to an invitation to participate in 1992 as a principal investigator in the initial clinical trial of the Medtronic Freestyle ™ Valve which is one of three stentless porcine valves now approved by the FDA. His work with this valve has been presented at international meetings, and he has participated in numerous training programs for surgeons both in Europe and America.Dr. Stelzer has served on the faculties at Cornell-New York Hospital and the University of Oklahoma. Prior to joining the cardiac team at Mt. Sinai in 2007, he was an attending cardiothoracic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital for seven years and then at Beth Israel Hospital for eleven years. He served as president of the New York Society of Thoracic Surgery for the academic year 2006-2007.
He was invited to be one of the first American surgeons to use the cryo-preserved mitral homograft. He has been on the faculty for two meetings in Paris on the basis of his experience with this valve. He has traveled to Hartford, Toledo, and Dallas to teach senior surgeons this challenging operative technique.
Surgeons from many other cities as well as from within New York have come to watch Dr. Stelzer operate in person for “up close, one-on-one” exposure to these special valve procedures.
In his spare time, Dr. Stelzer enjoys building jigsaw puzzles (as large as 13,200 pieces) and music. He especially likes classical music by the major orchestras. He tinkers on the piano for his own amusement and even does a bit of composition now and then. He regularly sings with a close harmony (almost barbershop) quartet. Dr. Stelzer participates actively in the music program of the Manhattan Church of Christ where he serves as an elder.