Newswise — Atlantic Health System has announced the opening of the Atlantic Aortic Center at Morristown Medical Center, under the direction of cardiac surgeon Benjamin Stephen van Boxtel, MD.  U.S. News & World Report ranks Morristown Medical Center as “#1 in New Jersey” and a top 40 program nationally for Cardiology and Heart Surgery. Morristown Medical Center is also ranked as New Jersey’s best hospital.

The Atlantic Aortic Center at Morristown Medical Center provides a comprehensive, innovative multidisciplinary approach to surgical and nonsurgical care for patients with diseases of the thoracic aorta such as aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection, aortic disorders associated with congential aortic valve disease, connective tissue disorders and other types of aortic pathology. 

The Atlantic Aortic Center’s multidisciplinary approach combines the expertise of world-class cardiac and vascular surgical teams with the knowledge of cardiologists and professionals in fields such as imaging, genetics, anesthesiology and critical care. Together with patients and their loved ones, the teams create a treatment plan that balances the risks and benefits of available treatments. 

 “The launch of the Atlantic Aortic Center provides another example of the advanced, subpecialized evidence-based care that we can offer patients as one of the nation’s leading cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery programs,” said Linda D. Gillam, MD, MPH, MACC, Dorothy and Lloyd Huck Chair, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine and Medical Director, Cardiovascular Service Line, Morristown Medical Center/Atlantic Health System. “Our patients can rest assured that Dr. van Boxtel’s team will provide the best care available.”  

“I am honored to help lead the Atlantic Aortic Center at Morristown Medical Center,” stated Dr. van Boxtel, Surgical Director, Aortic Center. “We have the most talented team, which provides the highest quality, most appropriate care.”

In addition to his Aortic Center appointment, Dr. van Boxtel serves as an attending cardiothoracic surgeon with Mid-Atlantic Surgical Associates—Morristown Medical Center, and is currently a cardiothoracic surgeon in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps.  He completed his training at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Integrated Thoracic Surgery, where he trained in open surgical and endovascular techniques in the treatment of aortic disease, as well as advanced training in the surgical treatment of heart failure and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). In addition to his surgical training at Columbia, he also served as a postdoctoral research fellow there, conducting clinical research in adult cardiac surgery including aortic surgery, heart failure,  heart and lung transplantation. Dr. van Boxtel’s medical degree is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has published a number of articles on aortic surgery and other topics in peer-reviewed medical journals.  

The Atlantic Aortic Center therapeutic strategies include active surveillance (evaluating a patient’s aortic disease and working with their primary doctor to ensure proper monitoring and follow up), medical management, and endovascular (less invasive) and/or conventional open-heart surgical procedures to treat the underlying problem. 

The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body. The thoracic aorta is the part of the aorta that is in the chest (thorax). Left untreated, diseases of the aorta may become life-threatening and require emergency surgery. 


Often diseases of the thoracic aorta don’t require surgery but require medications to control high blood pressure (hypertension). The Aortic Center team of expert cardiologists works with patients to make sure their blood pressure is well-controlled. This can prevent aneurysms from developing or progressing.  

Testing and Imaging

The Aortic Center team determines the most appropriate test to diagnose and monitor each person’s aortic disease. This may include imaging techniques such as transthoracic or transesophageal echocardiography (TTE or TEE), other ultrasound studies, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MRI) or invasive angiography.

Cardiac Surgery

Treatment of thoracic aneurysm disease may require open-heart surgery. The Aortic Center team of expert heart surgeons can discuss surgical options for treatment of patients’ aortic disease. Some of the surgical procedures the center offers include valve-sparing aortic root replacement (the patient’s own valve tissues are preserved while the diseased tissue around the valve is removed and repaired), aortic root replacement, aortic valve replacement, ascending aortic replacement, and partial or total aortic arch replacement. The team also sometimes combines a traditional surgical procedure with an endovascular or stent-based therapy (hybrid aortic procedure). 

Endovascular Surgery

When possible, the center offers endovascular or transcatheter procedures, which can be done through a small puncture in the groin and use a stent to treat the diseased aorta. These minimally invasive options generally have a decreased recovery time and shorter hospital stay. These procedures may also be offered to patients for whom conventional surgery poses a high risk to their well-being.

Follow-Up Care

The center’s comprehensive aortic surveillance program is the key to preventing life-threatening aortic emergencies. For aortic aneurysms and other conditions that do not require immediate therapy, following their progression and growth is of the utmost importance.  The team determines what tests and imaging studies are necessary and how often these should be performed. Aortic Center staff arrange and coordinate these important studies and work with patients’ other health care providers to ensure they are getting the best care possible. 

About Heart Care at Atlantic Health System

Morristown Medical Center, the hub of heart care at Atlantic Health System, is one of the top 40 programs in the country for Cardiology & Heart Surgery (U.S. News & World Report) and one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Care (Healthgrades). 

Its expert team presents research across the world and is comprised of interventional cardiologists, electrophysiologists, heart failure experts, advanced imagers and cardiac surgeons.

The program also offers specialty care in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, sports cardiology, cardio-oncology, and heart disease in women. The team works closely with community cardiologists who provide a medical home for patients with heart disease.

Atlantic Health System Heart Care is focused on offering minimally invasive and non-invasive procedures that help patients return to their lives faster. The state’s largest transcatheter valve replacement/repair program offers valve therapy options for the aortic, mitral, and tricuspid valves. Its cardiac catheterization lab is helping advance the radial (wrist) approach for coronary procedures with a new lounge for post-procedure recovery.

Morristown Medical Center is home to the largest cardiac surgery and invasive cardiology programs in New Jersey and offers the most up-to-date cardiac imaging technologies available.

About Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System is at the forefront of medicine, setting standards for quality health care in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the New York metropolitan area. Powered by a workforce of more than 17,000 team members and 4,800 affiliated physicians dedicated to building healthier communities, Atlantic Health System serves more than half of the state of New Jersey including 11 counties and 4.9 million people. The not-for-profit system offers more than 400 sites of care, including seven hospitals: Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ, Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ, Newton Medical Center in Newton NJ, Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, NJ, Hackettstown Medical Center in Hackettstown, NJ, Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ, and Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute in Madison, NJ.

Atlantic Medical Group, comprised of 1,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, represents one of the largest multi-specialty practices in New Jersey and joins Atlantic Accountable Care Organization and Optimus Healthcare Partners as part of Atlantic Alliance, a Clinically Integrated Network of more than 2,500 health care providers throughout northern and central NJ. 

Atlantic Health System provides care for the full continuum of health care needs through 16 urgent care centers, Atlantic Visiting Nurse and Atlantic Anywhere Virtual Visits. Facilitating the connection between these services on both land and air is the transportation fleet of Atlantic Mobile Health. 

Atlantic Health System leads the Healthcare Transformation Consortium, a partnership of seven regional hospitals and health systems dedicated to improving access and affordability and is a founding member of the PIER Consortium – Partners in Innovation, Education, and Research – a streamlined clinical trial system that will expand access to groundbreaking research across seven health systems in New Jersey.

Atlantic Health System has a medical school affiliation with Thomas Jefferson University and is home to the regional campus of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Morristown and Overlook Medical Centers and is the official health care partner of the New York Jets.