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Beyond the Abstract: Reporting on the STS Intermacs and Pedimacs Databases

Hosted by Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, Annals Deputy Editor, Digital Media and Digital Scholarship, the “Beyond the Abstract” program explores the “whys” behind an article in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. In the latest episode, Drs. Robert Kormos and David Morales join host Dr. Thomas K. Varghese Jr. to explore the motivation for developing registries that examine clinical outcomes and quality-of-life metrics for patients who...


Finding Your First Job in Cardiothoracic Surgery

The job market for cardiothoracic surgeons is more promising now than it has been in decades. So how can residents and fellows be successful in finding that first job? Vinay Badhwar, MD asks seasoned and early career colleagues for tips on making a good impression during an interview, making sure that the job is a great fit, how to find the best career resources, and how to engage and maintain good mentors.


Should Robotics Be Part of Cardiothoracic Surgery Training?

More cardiothoracic surgery programs are incorporating robotics training for residents and fellows. But should robotics be a standard part of the curriculum and have a presence on the in-training and board exams? Dr. Rishinda M. Reddy moderates a discussion with colleagues about the principles of robotics training, how they obtained funding for their robotics programs, and the importance having expanded minimally invasive skills.


The Value of the STS National Database—It’s Much More than Star Ratings

The STS National Database is known worldwide as the “gold standard” for quality improvement and patient safety in cardiothoracic surgery. Launched in 1989, the Database includes approximately 8 million patient records. In this roundtable discussion, Drs. Dave Shahian, Felix Fernandez, Jeff Jacobs, and Vinod Thourani explain how they’ve used data from the Database for making improvements at their own hospitals, for research projects, to understand the cost-effectiveness of various procedures,...


Breaking the Demographic and Cultural Barriers to Patient Enrollment in Clinical Trials

Despite mandates that determinants of health and differences in sex be incorporated into clinical trials, some groups—such as minorities, women, and those of lower socioeconomic status—are still underrepresented. Drs. David T. Cooke, Loretta Erhunmwunsee, and Linda W. Martin discuss why diverse groups are important, how to improve clinical trial design, and strategies to enroll more broadly representative groups into clinical trials.


The Surgical Challenges Involved with Treating Infective Endocarditis

Endocarditis is one of the most challenging infections to treat for cardiothoracic surgeons, and the opioid epidemic has led to a staggering increase in the number of infective endocarditis cases seen in the United States. Dr. Robbin G. Cohen talks with some of the world’s leading experts in treating valve disease and endocarditis—Drs. Joseph E. Bavaria, Eric E. Roselli, and Scott Goldman—about when surgeons should get involved in the treatment process, when and how long to treat with...


The Risks and Benefits of Media Exposure for Cardiothoracic Surgeons

Media coverage can be a powerful way for cardiothoracic surgeons to help more patients and their families understand important health care information. But how can you handle a reporter’s tough questions and still get your message across? Todd K. Rosengart, MD leads a panel discussion with cardiothoracic surgeons who have had experience with handling awkward media situations, connecting with a lay audience, and helping to change the course of a conversation when a reporter has incorrect...


STS Provides Personal Performance Data to Cardiac Surgeons

The Society is offering a new opportunity for self-assessment and quality improvement in cardiothoracic surgery—surgeon-specific outcomes reports from the Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD). For those who affirmatively opt in, these feedback reports will be available beginning in fall 2019 and will include data on coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), aortic valve replacement (AVR), CABG+AVR, mitral valve repair and replacement (MVRR), and CABG+MVRR. Four STS leaders, Drs. Richard...


How to Develop a Productive Mentor/Mentee Relationship

Some of the most successful cardiothoracic surgeons credit mentors for part of their achievements. Whether you are still in training, an early careerist, or a senior surgeon, taking part in a productive mentor/mentee arrangement has long-term benefits. But how do you identify a good mentor or mentee and cultivate that relationship? Drs. Mara B. Antonoff, Vinod H. Thourani, John D. Mitchell, and Elizabeth A. David describe the qualities to look for in a mentor, the importance of...


Preparing for AI and New Cyber Threats in Cardiothoracic Surgery

Artificial intelligence and electronic health technologies are changing how physicians conceptualize and treat diseases. Although these futuristic advancements are leading to improvements in quality, safety, and patient outcomes, these technologies also are dramatically changing the cyber threat landscape. Kevin W. Lobdell, MD talks with colleagues in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, and anesthesiology about embracing virtual reality, augmented reality, and machine learning, while also...


Pain Management in Cardiothoracic Surgery

The opioid epidemic, especially in the United States, has prompted many physicians to re-evaluate their prescription writing habits when it comes to narcotics. Because pain management is an important part of the recovery process after cardiothoracic surgery, Dr. Robbin Cohen recently moderated a panel discussion with both cardiac and general thoracic surgeons about ways they are modifying surgical techniques and pharmacological strategies, deploying multidisciplinary team-based efforts, and...


Current Advances in Lung Cancer Early Detection and Therapy

Lung cancer morbidity and mortality remains high in the United States and beyond despite major changes over the past few years in early detection and treatment for advanced disease. Dr. Douglas E. Wood, from the University of Washington in Seattle, moderates a roundtable discussion with prominent lung cancer surgeons—Drs. Shanda H. Blackmon, Lisa M. Brown, and Mitchell J. Magee—who explain how results from the recent NELSON study are game-changing, ways to improve access to screening, how...


Maintaining Good Relationships with Referring Physicians

An important element of building and maintaining a successful cardiothoracic surgery practice is the relationship with referring physicians such as cardiologists and primary care physicians. Dr. V. Seenu Reddy moderates a panel discussion about the elements of forming good relationships, breaking through the anonymity resulting from electronic health records, creating a patient-centered experience, how to communicate bad news, and building a solid reputation.


TAVR and the Value of the STS/ACC TVT Registry

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is reevaluating the scientific evidence supporting volume requirements for hospitals and heart team members who perform transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedures. Drs. Joe Bavaria, Tom Gleason, Richard Shemin, Vinod Thourani, and Michael Deeb discuss the value of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons/American College of Cardiology Transcatheter Valve Therapy Registry for quality improvement initiatives, outcomes research, and device...


Beyond the Abstract: Culture of Safety and Gender Inclusion in Cardiothoracic Surgery

Hosted by Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, Annals Deputy Editor, Digital Media and Digital Scholarship, the “Beyond the Abstract” program explores the “whys” behind an article in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. In this episode, Leah M. Backhus, MD and David T. Cooke, MD join Dr. Varghese to discuss the importance of gender diversity in the specialty. Read the Annals article, “Culture of Safety and Gender Inclusion in Cardiothoracic...


Beyond the Abstract: Individual Surgeon Performance in Adult Cardiac Surgery

Hosted by Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, Annals Deputy Editor, Digital Media and Digital Scholarship, the “Beyond the Abstract” program explores the “whys” behind an article in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. In this episode, David M. Shahian, MD and Keith S. Naunheim, MD join Dr. Varghese to discuss the motivation for developing surgeon-level outcomes metrics and why it’s important. Read the Annals article, “Individual Surgeon...


Introduction to the New “Beyond the Abstract” Program

The Society has expanded its Surgical Hot Topics podcast series with a new program called “Beyond the Abstract.” Hosted by Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, Annals Deputy Editor, Digital Media and Digital Scholarship, the program explores the “whys” behind an article in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. This brief introductory episode explains what you can expect in each episode.


How to Recruit More Women Into Surgery

Women make up 46% of medical school graduates; however, only 22% of cardiothoracic surgery trainees are women. Of the 8,617 people who have been certified by The American Board of Thoracic Surgery to date, only 308 (3.6%) are women. STS Director-at-Large Shanda H. Blackmon, MD, MPH says that has to change. She provides 10 tips on how to attract more female candidates into the specialty. Her talk originally was given at the 2018 European Society of Thoracic Surgeons Annual Meeting in...


Eye of the Beholder: The Reinvention of Seeing

Cardiothoracic surgeons and their professional societies must be leaders in accountability and transparency. In his Presidential Address at the 2018 STS Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Richard L. Prager, MD noted that surgeons must embrace their failures and always think about getting better—not winning, but getting better—in order to be successful.


STS Key Contacts: Advocates for Cardiothoracic Surgery

One way that cardiothoracic surgeons can have a direct impact on federal policy affecting the specialty is by participating in the STS Key Contact program, which offers grassroots advocacy opportunities. In this episode, experienced Key Contacts share why they participate in political advocacy, describe the importance of STS-PAC, and role-play a meeting with a Congressional staff member—showing both how things can go wrong and how to make them go right.