Medical Student Elective in Clinical Cardiovascular Physiology in Cardiac Anesthesiology



Weill Cornell Anesthesiology offers a 4-week elective in Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology, specifically designed for advanced-year medical students to build on the foundations of anesthesiology gained during the early years of training.

This elective aims to reinforce understanding and applied knowledge of the clinical sciences through immersive experience. By engaging as an active member of the cardiac anesthesiology team, students have opportunities to hone both core and advanced practical skills in a dynamic and high-stakes perioperative environment.

By the end of the rotation, students will have an understanding of basic cardiovascular physiology and the anesthetic considerations for a patient undergoing cardiac surgery.  Those interested in applying for an anesthesiology residency will have repeated exposure to and be observed by a small group of cardiac anesthesiologists, giving them the opportunity to form a meaningful mentor relationship throughout the ensuing interview process. 

(Please note: participation in our elective does not guarantee an invitation to interview during our residency application season.)

What does a typical day look like?

  • Students work closely with an anesthesiology resident to participate in the preoperative evaluation of the patient the day before, and on the day of surgery prepare for the day’s cases before the patient arrives to the operating room.  
  • Students participate in discussions with the resident, fellows and attendings regarding patient management undergoing simple and complex cardiothoracic surgical procedures with and without mechanical circulatory support.
  • Students have the opportunity to place intravascular catheters, manage the patient’s airway, review real-time echocardiographic imaging, and participate in the anesthetic management of their patient in a highly-supervised environment.  
  • At the conclusion of the case, the student will accompany the patient and anesthesia team to the intensive care unit and participate in the transfer of care.  Secondments to the cardiothoracic ICU (CTICU) and thoracic anesthesia can be arranged by individual arrangement.

Teaching occurs daily on an informal basis in the operating rooms, and you are encouraged to attend any lectures given to residents and fellows throughout the four-week period.  Additionally, you are welcome to attend daily lectures on the fundamentals of anesthesia given to categorical interns rotating through anesthesiology.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this elective, the student will be able to:

  1. Perform a complete pre-anesthesia Evaluation of a patient undergoing cardiac surgeries and related procedures.
  2. Gather relevant studies and identify critical information necessary to form an anesthetic plan for a patient undergoing cardiac surgery and related procedures.
  3. Present the above findings to the attending anesthesiologist.
  4. Explain the anesthetic implications of major cardiac lesions, including how the lesions impact decisions in medication selection and monitoring.
  5. Learn how to interpret data obtained from a pulmonary artery catheter in conjunction with other clinical information to aid in patient care.
  6. Recognize basic anatomy, function and pathology of intracardiac structures using transesophageal echocardiography.
  7. Prepare the necessary equipment and supplies in the operating room for a cardiac surgery or related procedure.
  8. Function as part of the cardiac anesthesia team by communicating with daily resident and attending staff.
  9. Perform a variety of procedures with supervision, including but not limited to: endotracheal intubation; arterial access; peripheral and central venous access; pulmonary arterial catheterization.
  10. Communicate relevant perioperative and intraoperative data to the critical care team during the transfer of care.
  11. Give a brief presentation on a topic of their choosing.

How to Apply

We offer 2 positions per 4-week rotation throughout the academic year.

For visiting students interested in applying for the elective, please visit the Weill Cornell Office of Medical Education for further information.

Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Student Elective

Core Administrative Faculty

Maria Walline

Maria Walline, MD

Course Director, Clinical Cardiovascular Physiology
Director of Congenital Cardiac Anesthesiology
Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology

Meghann M. Fitzgerald, MD

Meghann M. Fitzgerald, MD

Chief, Cardiac Anesthesiology
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

Contact Us

Dept. of Anesthesiology
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine
525 East 68th Street, Box 124
New York, NY 10065

Office of the Chair
Phone: (212) 746-2962
E-mail:  Office of the Chair,

Residency and Fellowship Education
Direct all inquiries to:
Phone: (212) 746-2941
For trainee verification inquiries:

Patient Billing Inquiries
Phone: (646) 962-5700