Our Staff

Mount Sinai Beth Israel
Department of Cardiac Surgery
317 E. 17th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10003
(212) 420-2584


John Puskas, MD - Chairman

Dr. Puskas specializes in adult cardiac surgery and is internationally recognized for his expertise in off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery. He began performing off-pump coronary bypass surgeries in 1996, and in 1997 performed the world's first triple off-pump bypass surgery using minimally invasive coronary artery bypass grafting. In addition to his extensive leadership in less invasive coronary bypass surgery, he is recognized for his work in all arterial revascularization strategies, and robotic coronary revascularization.

At Mount Sinai, Dr. Puskas will continue his pioneering work investigating the benefits of off-pump cardiac surgery, developing new surgical techniques, and testing the latest technologies in advanced clinical trials. He is currently the national principal investigator for three ongoing U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigational device trials that will now move with him to Mount Sinai.

Dr. Puskas is a past president of the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery and a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Surgeons, International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

A summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, Dr. Puskas received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in general surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and his cardiothoracic surgery residency training at Emory University School of Medicine.

Darryl M. Hoffman, MD

After completing Medical School at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa, Dr. Hoffman trained in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Wentworth Hospital, Durban, South Africa and the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, Scotland. He was admitted, after passing the surgical examinations, as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow) and the South African College of Surgeons. After completing formal Cardiothoracic training, he was registered as a Specialist Cardiothoracic Surgeon in both South Africa and Britain.

Dr. Hoffman spent the following two years in a research appointment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Bronx, NY, teaching and performing clinical research and laboratory research focused on surgical therapy for heart failure and valvular heart disease. He spent two further years as a "superfellow" at Allegheny General Hospital in Adult Cardiac Surgery and Transplantation, and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in Congenital Heart Surgery and Thoracic Transplantation.

Since 1994 he has been an attending cardiothoracic surgeon at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and an Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Hoffman introduced use of the radial artery conduit for coronary artery bypass at Beth Israel and performs on-pump coronary bypass and beating heart surgery. His particular clinical interests include valvular heart disease and the surgical management of arrhythmia and heart failure. Dr. Hoffman has vast experience in the field of pacemaker and implantable defibrillator placement and introduced Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy at Beth Israel. He started Beth Israel's program for surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation using minimally invasive beating heart radiofrequency ablation in 2004, performing the first such operation in New York City.

Kamellia Dimitrova, MD

Kamellia R. Dimitrova, MD, an attending cardiac surgeon at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, earned her medical degree from the University of Sofia, in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1998. She then completed general surgery residencies at the University of Mississippi and Georgetown University Medical Center, and a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at New York University Medical Center, with a specialization in minimally invasive surgery. She is also a Clinical Instructor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Prior to joining Beth Israel, Dr. Dimitrova was an attending cardiothoracic surgeon at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. Dr. Dimitrova has particular clinical experience in minimally invasive approach for mitral valve repair, minimally invasive surgical treatment of double and triple valvular disease, and minimally invasive aortic valve replacement. She also performs coronary artery bypass surgery. Her clinical research interest encompasses also multi-arterial grafting in women with coronary artery disease.

Dr. Dimitrova is fluent in English, Bulgarian and Russian.

Cardiothoracic Nurse Practitioners

Sue Ann Scheer, RN, ANP

Sue Ann graduated from Hunter College in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She began her career as a nurse at New York University Medical Center in General Surgery, Cardiac Surgery, and later on the Kidney and Liver Transplant unit. Sue Ann went on to get her Masters in Nursing and Adult/Acute Nurse Practitioner degree from NYU in 1994. She has been with Mount Sinai Beth Israel since 1994, and is the senior NP on the Cardio- Thoracic team.

Carmina C. Symonowicz, RN, ANP-C

Carmina graduated from Hunter College (CUNY) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1991. She started her nursing career at New York University Medical Center, working with Cardio-Thoracic/General Surgical/Liver & Renal Transplant patients from 1991-1996; she continued as a Nurse Care Manager in the Department of Medicine from 1996-1998. She pursued her graduate studies at New York University and received her Masters in Nursing with a specialty in Adult/Acute Care in 1997. Carmina has been a nurse practitioner and a proud member of the Beth Israel Cardio- Thoracic Surgery Department since 1998.

Kristyn Elish, RN, ANP

Kristyn began her nursing career as a registered nurse in cardiac telemetry at Brooklyn Hospital, after receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1996 from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1998, she made a move to Manhattan, and she joined the Mount Sinai Health System - St. Luke's Division as a staff nurse in Cardiac Surgery Open Heart/Coronary Care Unit. Kristyn received her Masters in Nursing with a specialty in Adult Care from Columbia University in 2001. She then joined the Beth Israel Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Department as a nurse practitioner and is an integral member of their team.


Mount Sinai Beth Israel
Division of Cardiac Surgery
317 E. 17th St., 11th Fl.
New York, NY 10003

Our Surgeons

John Puskas, MD


Darryl M. Hoffman, MD

Kamellia Dimitrova, MD