About Dr. Joanna Chikwe,
Heart Valve Surgeon
Hello! My name is Dr. Joanna Chikwe and I am a cardiac surgeon having graduated from Oxford University in 1997. To date, I have performed approximately 2,000 cardiac surgeries, of which most involved heart valve procedures. I regularly perform surgery at Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai. Read more...
I believe my greatest strength is excellent results.
My main expertise is less invasive (small incision) valve repair and coronary surgery. I studied medicine at Oxford University and I completed my residency in cardiothoracic surgery at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals in London, followed by advanced fellowship training in valve repair at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
I am one of a handful of U.S. surgeons with advanced training in both reconstructive valve surgery and less invasive cardiac surgery techniques. I work closely with a dedicated plastic surgery and anesthesiology team with a specialist interest in less invasive cardiac surgery. My aim is to use valve repair to preserve natural valve tissue wherever possible, using smaller incisions to improve recovery, as well as off-pump surgery to avoid cardiopulmonary bypass for selected coronary bypass procedures.
I've written 6 surgical textbooks, including Cardiothoracic Surgery published by Oxford University Press; along with over 20 book chapters and articles on less invasive cardiac surgery. My international awards include a Fulbright Award, and the Society of Great Britain Cardiac Surgery Award, and I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.
29 Patient Reviews for
"I first discovered Dr. Chikwe on the Adam Pick’s website: https://www.heart-valve-surgery.com/ which is a welcoming wealth of information for those facing open heart surgery.
After listening to her very educational and informative videos, plus reviewing her bio I knew she would be my surgeon of choice for my open heart surgery. Dr. Chikwe and her whole team gave me a sense of security and you knew this is where excellence happens! Like a well orchestrated symphony, Dr. Chikwe's team assures a level of ease.
With Mary Alvardo, the Patient Service Representative handling the scheduling and all of the questions and the very helpful hand and beautiful smile of Vivian Burkhart, Dr. Chikwe's NP. You just know having the world’s experts at your bedside you would have the best possible outcome. They are truly pros giving you 5 star treatment. In return, I give Dr. Chikwe and her entire team and the staff at Cedars-Sinai the stars of the galaxies! Thank you saving my heart! "
-- Stan Waltemyer, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 05/19/2022
"Can’t say enough about Dr. Chikwe! There is a reason she has the reputation that she does.
She specializes in mitral valve repair with minimally invasive robotic surgery. Her bedside manner is outstanding. Such a kind and caring doctor. I am extremely happy with my results thus far and highly recommend her.
After all, you want the best of the best when it comes to the heart surgery and that she is!"
-- Scott Wallace, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, 05/04/2022
For several years I suffered from mild Mitral Valve regurgitation with no need for any intervention. In February I contracted Covid. Though fully vaccinated, my Mitral valve regurgitation became severe, only a few weeks before my highly anticipated trip to Israel for my daughter’s wedding. As soon as I was Covid clear I had a Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE), and a 3 days later I met with Dr. Chikwe. She needed to tell me that I could not go to the wedding, and that robotic Mitral valve surgery was needed as soon as possible. She was super sensitive and supportive when she told me this very sad news.
As a curious engineer I spent endless hours researching this procedure, and then asking very detailed questions. Dr. Chikwe had all the time and patience to answer my questions and alleviate my concerns. The hours of research, her impressive education and academic record, her vast experience in robotic Mitral valve repair, as well as the recommendation from another senior cardiologist paid off. I was clearly in very good hands.
I was very lucky to have the surgery within a week due to another patient’s cancelation. During this week my condition deteriorated significantly. I counted the days till the surgery. I knew that Dr. Chikwe most likely saved my life by not allowing me to wait till after my daughter’s wedding.
The surgery went very well. After the procedure there was no mitral valve regurgitation. My recovery was very fast. I was released after 5 days, and a week later I was already doing 5 miles on my treadmill. Throughout my recovery in the hospital there were frequent visits by Dr. Chikwe and her team. The first days after the surgery were not easy, but having her and her team there made me feel very well take care of and eased my worries.
One month after the surgery I am back to driving, working full time at the office, and enjoying even better health than before I contracted Covid.
Dr. Chikwe is a very special person. I consider myself very fortunate to have chosen her as my surgeon."
-- Ilan Paz, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 03/17/2022
She is so humble which was unexpected for a chief surgeon at Cedars-Sinai. She visited me every single day at the hospital and listened like my situation really mattered to her. She updated me on my progress and explained what to expect next. Her anesthesiology team, the lovely nurse practitioner, Vivian, all nurses and caregivers contributed to an experience that was beyond anything I had expected.
Dr. Chikwe calmed all my reservations and I am forever grateful."
-- Leila Saedi, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 11/18/2021
Dr. Chikwe and her team performed my robotic mitral valve repair surgery not only successfully but without any complications or even need for pain medications once discharged.
I chose Dr. Chikwe and traveled out-of-state for this procedure because of her vast successful experience and would absolutely recommend her to anyone in need of cardiac surgery."
-- Steve Rudack, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, Maze Procedure, 08/04/2021
I wished for a robotic repair so I could return to work and the gym quickly. I did not want a destabilized rib cage due to lifting weights in the gym. I scheduled a telemedicine second opinion with Dr. Chikwe hoping that she would offer me a robotic repair.
On the consultation day, my office internet went down for the first time in 18 years. I drove out 3 hours to meet Dr. Chikwe in person. When her nurse practitioner was walking me into the exam room, she said "Oh, there is Dr. Chikwe." I turned around to see Dr. Chikwe and I saw a white halo around her entire body. I had never seen a halo before.
Immediately, I felt calm and comfortable with my God-chosen surgeon. In the consultation, Dr. Chikwe said her passion was robotic mitral valve repair and it's 80 percent of what she does. She was humble, patient, and compassionate. She said she could repair my mitral valve, which had severely prolapsed P1 and P2 segments robotically.
I asked her if she was the best surgeon for my repair, which did not phase or affront her. She said there are about 6 people in the country that do a lot of robotic mitral valve repairs, including the surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic that I had my surgery scheduled with, and talked up each one. I was super impressed with her humility, not a trait I expected of a heart surgeon. She further informed me that I could not wait until my surgery date because I was symptomatic and needed to have my surgery sooner.
I asked her who would be performing my surgery since Cleveland Clinic uses fellows to open and close. She informed me that she put together a dream team that she works with and reassured me that she hand-picked everyone in the OR who works with her.
I scheduled my surgery with her but wanted my wife to be on-board with change of plans. When I told my wife that when I saw Dr. Chikwe for the first time, I saw a white halo around her... My wife shared that she has been praying for God to give us a sign for my surgeon. "
-- Vadim Gurvits, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, 07/27/2021
-- Lorrie Wright, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, Maze Procedure, 07/27/2021
I had the privilege to meet Dr. Chikwe while avidly researching my condition and the best surgeon for it. I came across Dr Chikwe's writings on mitral valve disease and thought I would seek her expertise. I left a message for her in the hopes she could give me surgeon recommendations on the East Coast as I live in Florida and she was familiar with North East facilities.
That led to an hour long telehealth video call with her personally. By the end of the call, I felt I completely understood my condition and what I should expect of the impending surgery. I also knew Dr Chikwe was the only surgeon for me.
Any anxiety I or my family might have had of the long trip to California was subdued as we were reminded that this surgeon was so very qualified and the reason for the journey. My expectations were so exceeded by Dr. Chikwe, her team, and the hospital.
This lovely physician inspired such confidence in a "We've got this!" feeling. She is meticulous in her surgery and the pre-op and post-op treatment. The Cedars-Sinai cardiac unit has some of the most professional, knowledgeable and compassionate staff I have come across. They are the most hard working - from the ICU nurses to the nurse assistants on the cardiac ward.
I was discharged in four days, I am four weeks post-op, I have had no complications other than being sore as expected, and I know so much of it is attributed to the very skilled and caring Dr. Chikwe."
-- Wendy Spector, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, 06/09/2021
-- Fatima Diop, Mitral Valve, Valve Replacement, Robotic Surgery, Maze Procedure, 05/19/2021
Dr. Chikwe has the rare ability to create a loving supportive atmosphere. She exudes enthusiasm for her work along with humility of her special skills. I sensed in speaking with her the enormous privilege she feels towards those of us who trust our hearts and lives to her skill. I have never felt such a sense of deep loving commitment toward me as a patient. Her team of doctors and nurses that took care of me in recovery were equally committed to the best care I could hope for and repeatedly expressed their admiration for her skills. With Dr. Chikwe you will always have the "A" team at your side."
-- Mark Kimball, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, 04/28/2021
-- Robert Henner, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 04/28/2021
Dr. Chikwe is confident yet modest. She always made sure to credit her whole surgical team, never taking credit for her excellent surgical skills. She explained everything in detail at my consultation. From my initial consultation with her, until my post surgery appointment she always put me at ease and took the time to answer all my questions. She visited me everyday in the hospital and genuinely cared about my comfort and well being. I would highly recommend her! I also want to mention that her whole staff both in the office and at the hospital were very helpful. They made what could have been a difficult process, seamless. You are in excellent hands if you select Dr. Chikwe. My experience at Cedars Sinai was also a pleasant one. I am 3 weeks post surgery and am surprised what I am physically able to do given the nature of my surgery."
-- Sophie Arguello, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, Maze Procedure, 04/25/2021
As a retired Cedars-Sinai RN, I know that things do not always go smoothly and it is even more important to have a great team in place - just in case. And I was one of the fortunate ones. At the end of my repair I required a pacer. The hope was that in a few days the inflammation would subside and I would no longer be in heartblock. Dr Chikwe was there every morning and in consultation with the electronic cardiologist. On March 5th I received a temporary pacemaker and, because I was still in total heartblock, on March 8th I received a permanent pacemaker. I was home the next day.
In April, I had a relapse of my auto immune disease and was placed back on prednisone which caused my blood pressure to go up. So my blood pressure medication has been doubled. I feel terrific now. I'm exercising, gardening, back in classes and chorale. Visiting with friends, children and grandchildren has been wonderful. I'm so grateful to Dr. Chikwe and the entire team at Cedars- Sinai Medical Center for the comprehensive and coordinated care that I received - "just in case"."
-- Jo Friedman, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, 03/02/2021
Dr. Chikwe masterfully navigated the surgery despite the challenges posed by my dad's bone structure and was able to successfully make the repair. Few doctors know how to perform the minimally-invasive robotic heart surgery, so we were very fortunate to have Dr. Chikwe, and to have her expertise regarding this surgery.
I cannot imagine having a better surgeon for my dad than Dr. Chikwe, she really prolonged his life with a fantastic surgery and we could not be more grateful. "
-- Marie Abajann, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, Maze Procedure, 01/13/2021
-- Reginald T. Dorsey, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 11/20/2020
I called her office and was scheduled for an immediate consultation a few days later at the Smidt Heart Institute with Dr. Joanna Chikwe, Asma Hussaini (DR Chikwe's P.A.) and Mary Alvarado, the Patient Service Representative. Upon arriving at the Heart Institute I was greeted by a caring and understanding staff who made me feel safe and comfortable while talking through my options.
Dr. Chikwe was confident that she could repair my mitral valve and a replacement would most likely not be necessary as my Cardiologist had told me. I was in the Hospital for emergency Mitral Valve Surgery within a few days. The entire Cedars-Sinai hospital staff made me feel very comfortable leading up to the surgery and in the days following the procedure. I was discharged from the hospital after a few days with minor discomfort and a new outlook and hope for my life.
It has been about 3 1/2 weeks since my surgery on 10/22/20 and I am feeling great! Recovery has been surprisingly easy due to the minimally invasive procedure, and I returned to work a few days ago. As I write this, my new heart is filled with gratitude and my eyes are filled with tears for the caring and very capable Dr. Chikwe and the entire staff at Cedars-Sinai for saving my life.
I hope that each and every person reading this, who must face this unsure and frightening challenge in their lives, can take some comfort in knowing that there are special people like Dr. Joanna Chikwe and her staff that are there for us in our biggest time of need."
-- Brandon Hammer, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, 10/22/2020
Our prior research informed us that it is very important to choose a team with extensive valve repair experience, both for the surgeons and the technical support team. Drs. Chikwe and Trento are world class surgeons with extensive expertise in robotic repair of mitral valves and this team ranks as one of the best on the west coast.
Dr. Chikwe is a strong advocate for valve repair as opposed to replacement whenever possible as this leads to a more durable outcome. I came to surgery with significant regurgitation that was completely corrected by the robotic surgery. Dr. Chikwe explained the surgical outcome to my wife after the surgery in very clear terms.
I was impressed with her bed side manner and follow-up care of me. The nursing staff was exceptional in their kind care of me after surgery. I had very little pain afterwards and was up and walking the day after surgery. At two months after surgery, I was walking 10,000 steps per day. I would advise anyone needing mitral valve repair to consider Dr. Chikwe’s team for the surgery."
-- Richard Maki, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, 03/19/2020
I was told she was an excellent surgeon and top in the field of micro-robotic mitral valve repair. I researched her background and found she was indeed one of the nation’s top surgeons. Her background, education and experience was remarkable and I felt lucky to have one of the best known cardiac surgeons.
Because of her notoriety, she could have been very egotistical like some of the doctors that I know, but she was so down to earth and more importantly very easy to talk to. She was informative but very personal. I was confident going into surgery knowing I had her as my surgeon.
After surgery, while I was in the hospital, Dr. Chikwe visited me every day and made me feel at ease showing interest in my recovery. Also, the nurses, staff, and Dr. Chikwe’s assistants were all very professional and cordial.
Anybody who is treated by Dr. Chikwe will be very lucky. Cedars-Sinai was very smart to recruit her from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York to head the Smidt Heart Institute. Thank you Dr. Chikwe."
-- Albert (Joey) Nakazawa, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Robotic Surgery, 03/03/2020
My father was a brain surgeon and I had a checklist of things I admire in surgeons. Dr. Chikwe met all my criteria. First, what a pair of hands she has—long and lithe fingers in perfect shape, well suited for quick and careful suturing of vessels. But more importantly, she is confident yet modest with an exemplary sense of empathy.
Almost immediately upon meeting her she put me at ease and I never worried about the result—I had a full and quick recovery. I also appreciated her post-operative care and her frequent checks on me while I was in intensive care. I recommend her highly and can’t say enough about the high quality of the care I received as a result of her skill and under her supervision at Cedars Sinai."
-- Chris Fager, Aortic Valve, Valve Repair, Median Sternotomy, 01/15/2020
-- Patricia Reuter, Mitral Valve, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, 05/14/2019
-- Robert Crowley, Pulmonary Valve, 11/13/2018
-- Maureen Ahad, Tricuspid Valve, Valve Repair, 05/14/2018
-- Arthur Hall, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 08/15/2017
-- Harry Vaughn, Aortic Valve, 10/06/2016
-- Arthur Lozeau, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, Maze Procedure, 09/07/2016
-- Anthony Bly, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, 01/31/2015
-- Gavin Masterson, Aortic Valve, Valve Replacement, 07/23/2014
-- Nancy Cruz, Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Valve Replacement, 09/14/2011
-- Bonnie Perman, Mitral Valve, Valve Repair, Mini-Thoracotomy / Port Access, 10/04/2010
My Specialities &
My heart surgery specialties include:
- Less invasive surgery, small incisions
- Mitral valve repair
- Coronary bypass grafting
In addition, I have research and clinical interests specific to:
- Mitral valve surgery
- Coronary revascularization
Education, Training & Certificates
Dr. Joanna Chikwe, heart surgeon, graduated from Oxford University in 1997.
After medical school, Dr. Chikwe completed a cardiothoracic surgery residency and fellowship training in the United Kingdom, where she was appointed a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 2006.
Upon moving to the United States, Dr. Chikwe began practicing cardiac surgery in the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, New York where she became a Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery.
In 2019, Dr. Chikwe was named the Founding Chair of Cardiac Surgery at Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
Dr. Chikwe has contributed to over 100 research publications. Her interests include structural heart disease, coronary revascularization, quality improvements and comparative surgical outcomes.
with Dr. Joanna Chikwe, MD
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Chikwe, you can:
- Call (866) 345-1289 right now
- Request an appointment by clicking here.
The office of Dr. Chikwe is located at 8700 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048. To get driving directions to this office, please click the map below.
> Click for driving directions to Dr. Chikwe’s office.
Watch Educational Videos with Dr. Joanna Chikwe
Learn about heart valve surgery from Dr. Chikwe in these videos:
Life Expectancy & Heart Valve Surgery: Patient Insights with Dr. Joanna Chikwe
Mitral Valve Surgery: Advances in Minimally-Invasive & Transcatheter Procedures with Dr. Chikwe
Go Red for Women: Heart Valve Surgery From a Woman's Perspective (with Dr. Joanna Chikwe)
Pregnancy & Heart Valve Disease: What Should Patients Know?
Robotic Mitral Valve Repair Surgery: What Should Patients Know?
- > Watch More Videos
News & Online References Featuring Dr. Joanna Chikwe
Here is the latest news featuring Dr. Joanna Chikwe:
- Cedars-Sinai Names Dr. Joanna Chikwe Founding Chair of Cardiac Surgery
- Free eBook: Advances in COVID-19 & Heart Valve Therapy featuring Dr. Joanna Chikwe
- Mitral Valve Repair: Different Approaches for Different Patients
- Expert Surgeon Profile: Joanna Chikwe, MD, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California
- Surgeon Q&A: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe for Heart Valve Patients?
- We "Go Red for Women" with Dr. Joanna Chikwe
- Pregnancy & Heart Valve Disease: 15+ Important Facts
- Life Expectancy & Heart Valve Disease: What Should Patients Know?
- 6 Heart Valve Experts Show Support for Heart Valve Disease Patients!
- Robotic Mitral Valve Repair Surgery Explained By Dr. Joanna Chikwe
- Webinar: Advances in Mitral Valve Surgery with Dr. Joanna Chikwe
Page last updated: July 2, 2022