Massachusetts General Hospital surgeon travels to WVU Heart and Vascular Institute to study heart surgery

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute recently welcomed Nathaniel Langer, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, for a two-week fellowship to study the advanced atrial fibrillation surgery performed at WVU. 

Nathaniel Langer, M.D.
Nathaniel Langer, M.D.
Photo courtesy of Harvard University

Atrial fibrillation occurs when the upper chambers of the heart beat too quickly and irregularly. This can cause blood to pool and form clots, increasing the risk of embolism and stroke.

Dr. Langer, a member of the faculty at Harvard, received the prestigious James L. Cox Fellowship in Atrial Fibrillation Surgery sponsored by the American Association of Thoracic Surgery Foundation.

“Support from our national organizations allows for the exchange of knowledge with colleagues from institutions around the world,” Vinay Badhwar, M.D., executive chair of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute and the WVU Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, said. “It is an honor and privilege to be able to help them learn advanced techniques and take these back to their home institutions. This is rewarding for our teams as well because we are able to also exchange knowledge and techniques in order to continue to provide the most advanced care to the people of West Virginia and surrounding states.”

Langer said this fellowship has provided the opportunity to not only learn about the minimally invasive and robotic treatment of atrial fibrillation, but also the treatment of mitral and tricuspid valve disease, which frequently occurs concurrently with atrial fibrillation.

“I am interested in the minimally invasive surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation, as well as the frequently co-existing heart valve disease, so it was a fantastic opportunity for me to be able to come and learn from Dr. Badhwar,” Langer said. “Dr. Badhwar is an incredible mentor who took interest in me and my clinical focus. He is dedicated to this program and advancing young surgeons in the field of cardiothoracic surgery. I would like to thank the AATS for this opportunity, and I would encourage anyone with an interest in atrial fibrillation and advanced robotic surgery to come to WVU, as it has been a fantastic experience.”

Langer received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and completed his residency in cardiothoracic surgery at New York Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

For more information on the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, visit