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Surgical Hot Topics

Author: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

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Listen to leaders in cardiothoracic surgery discuss hot topics in the field. Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 7,600 surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide.

Please note: The comments included in these episodes are that of the individuals involved and not necessarily that of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
74 Episodes
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In this episode, Dr. Tom Varghese interviews Dr. Doug Mathisen, STS Historian and Past President. Listeners will discover fascinating personal details about this surgeon leader, including how playing sports helped him learn important teamwork and leadership skills that later translated into his career as a surgeon. Dr. Mathisen compares the surgical locker room to an athletic locker room, saying that it has the “same sort of camaraderie” and everyone works hard to not let down their “teammates.” He also shares that one of the greatest thrills of his life was meeting professional boxer Muhammad Ali, who has always been his favorite athlete. “Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a program from the Society designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks. Learn more about STS diversity and inclusion efforts at sts.org/diversity. Patients can learn more about cardiothoracic diseases and their treatments at ctsurgerypatients.org.
In this episode, Dr. David Tom Cooke interviews Dr. Joanna Chikwe, chair of the Cardiac Surgery Department in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai. Listeners will learn that Dr. Chikwe grew up in Birmingham, England, with a Nigerian father who “came to Britain with coins in his pocket and a lot of ambition” and a Welsh mother from a coal mining town. After high school, Dr. Chikwe spent 2 years studying art in Italy. This experience helped her realize that art was “always going to be a great hobby,” but medicine was her lifetime passion. “Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a program from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks. Learn more about STS diversity and inclusion efforts at sts.org/diversity. Patients can learn more about cardiothoracic diseases and their treatments at ctsurgerypatients.org.
In this episode, Dr. David Tom Cooke interviews Dr. Richard Prager, STS Past President and director of the Frankel Cardiovascular Center at the University of Michigan. Listeners will learn that Dr. Prager was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey, and as a young boy, longed to be just like Jackie Robinson. His career aspirations shifted after the experience of joining his physician father on house calls and carrying the “big leather doctor bag” and portable EKG machine, as well as a summer hospital job washing walls and cleaning patients’ rooms. Dr. Prager shares that he chose cardiothoracic surgery “because it was the hardest thing I could think of to do.” “Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a program from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks. Learn more about STS diversity and inclusion efforts at sts.org/diversity. Patients can learn more about cardiothoracic diseases and their treatments at ctsurgerypatients.org.
In this episode of the STS Summer Series, Keith S. Naunheim, MD, and a panel of experts in health policy, advocacy, and public relations discuss the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services plans to cut reimbursement for cardiothoracic surgeons and its likely negative effect on patients. The panel reviews a short history of Medicare reimbursement rates and shares the advocacy efforts underway to prevent these cuts, including opportunities for STS members to get involved in grassroots efforts. Panelists include: Francis C. Nichols III, MD, Alan M. Speir, MD, Liz Dahan, MA, MBA, and Noah Kristula-Green.
In this inaugural episode, Dr. Tom Varghese interviews Dr. Robert Higgins, STS Past President and surgeon-in-chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Listeners will discover that Dr. Higgins was just 5 years old when he lost his father—who was an African American general practitioner in the segregated South during the 1960s—in a tragic accident. Together, his mother and grandparents raised three “crazy, hell-raising boys,” sacrificing extraordinary things to afford them the best educational opportunities and encouraging them to always “excel in everything” they did. Dr. Higgins shares advice from his mother that he has never forgotten: “keep on keeping on”—a reminder that challenges in life should be embraced as “opportunities to persevere and show grit.”  “Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a program from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks. Learn more about STS diversity and inclusion efforts at sts.org/diversity. Patients can learn more about cardiothoracic diseases and their treatments at ctsurgerypatients.org.
“Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a new program from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks. Drs. David Cooke and Tom Varghese—both cardiothoracic surgeons themselves—will uncover the obstacles, triumphs, tradeoffs, and pivotal moments that have shaped their guests’ careers and personal missions. Episodes will feature the backstories of cardiothoracic surgeons from different backgrounds and in various career stages. These leaders and rising stars offer powerful, candid stories that are funny and fascinating, as well as heartbreaking and inspiring. Learn more about STS diversity and inclusion efforts at sts.org/diversity. Patients can learn more about cardiothoracic diseases and their treatments at ctsurgerypatients.org.
In this episode of the STS Summer Series, Gorav Ailawadi, MD, MBA, Tsuyoshi Kaneko, MD, and an expert panel debate the merits of surgical versus transcatheter treatments and review challenging mitral valve cases such as degenerative mitral regurgitation, mitral annular calcification, functional mitral valve regurgitation, and failed bioprosthetic mitral valve. Panelists include Vinay Badhwar, MD, Mayra Guerrero, MD, Robert L. Smith II, MD, Paul Sorajja, MD, Gilbert H. Tang, MD, MSc, MBA, and Dee Dee Wang, MD.
In this episode of the STS Summer Series, Rakesh C. Arora, MD, PhD, and Michael C. Grant, MD, MSE, moderate a panel of experts in Addressing the Cardiac Surgery Opioid Crisis. Two short presentations – Why Is This Even an Issue? by Daniel T. Engelman, MD, and Now What Do I Do? by Michael C. Grant, MD, MSE – explore the role of cardiac surgery as a contributor to the opioid epidemic. Then, the panel discusses alternative interventions for pain management and strategies to minimize opioid use in perioperative management of patients (both adult and pediatric) under cardiac surgical care. Panelists include: Daniel T. Engelman, MD, Michael S. Firstenberg, MD, Rita Karianna Milewski, MD, PhD, MSEd, and Nathalie Roy, MD.
In this episode of the STS Summer Series, Bernard J. Park, MD, and Dirk E.M. Van Raemdonck, MD, PhD, moderate a multidisciplinary panel of experts in a discussion about Pulmonary Metastasectomy. The moderators begin by reviewing an STS Expert Consensus Document on Pulmonary Metastasectomy, published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. The panelists discuss the efficacy of local treatment vs. systemic therapy for metastases. Panelists include: Mara B. Antonoff, MD, Frank C. Detterbeck, MD, Michael Lanuti, MD, Andreas Rimner, MD, and Stephen B. Solomon, MD.
Hosted by Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, the “Beyond the Abstract” program explores the “whys” behind articles in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. In the latest episode, Mara B. Antonoff, MD, Jessica G.Y. Luc, MD, and Jason J. Han, MD, join Dr. Varghese to examine how social media has become an “inescapable” part of academic life and its role in the academic publishing process. While social media engagements may seem fleeting, the authors agreed that durable scholarly impact of social media exists. Also discussed in this episode is how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a gap between the worlds of science and communication; so it is more important than ever to consider social media to help create pathways, form collaborations, grab attention, and explain the science. Read the related Annals article online: Does Tweeting Improve Citations? One-Year Results from the TSSMN Prospective Randomized Trial.
In this episode of the STS Summer Series, Gorav Ailawadi, MD, MBA, and Tsuyoshi Kaneko, MD, moderate a panel of cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists as they review challenging cases of aortic stenosis and debate the merits of SAVR vs. TAVR as the preferred treatment. Cases include patients with bicuspid aortic valve, failed surgical bioprosthesis, small annulus, and concomitant coronary disease. Panelists include: Vinayak N. Bapat, MD, Adam B. Greenbaum, MD, Molly Szerlip, MD, and Vinod H. Thourani, MD.
Hosted by Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, the “Beyond the Abstract” program explores the “whys” behind articles in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. In the latest episode, Robert M. Sade, MD, joins Dr. Varghese to discuss ethical considerations in the practice of cardiothoracic surgery during a pandemic. Dr. Sade mentions the application of ethical principles and ethical concerns with regard to limited resource allocation. Read the related Annals Article, “Cardiothoracic Surgeons in Pandemics: Ethical Considerations.”
STS/ACC TVT Registry leaders—Vinod H. Thourani, MD, and John D. Carroll, MD—moderate a panel of investigators, representatives from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and industry about valvular heart disease clinical research during COVID. They discuss the effects of the pandemic on research infrastructure, impediments to patient follow-ups and data collection, potential shifts in collaborative trial development guided by the FDA, and new techniques in post-market surveillance. Panelists include Dominic J. Allocco, MD, Andrew Farb, MD, Susheel K. Kodali, MD, Michael J. Mack, MD, Mark Reisman, MD, Barathi Sethuraman, PhD, Changfu Wu, PhD, Bram D. Zuckerman, MD.
STS President Joseph A. Dearani, MD, moderates a panel discussion that includes surgeons, a hospital executive, and a health care consultant on the economic impact of COVID and its implications for cardiothoracic surgery. At a time when cardiothoracic surgeons face 7%-8% cuts in Medicare reimbursement, they talked about the financial strain that COVID has had on staffing and salaries, how cardiothoracic surgeons quickly adapted to their roles on the front lines, the potential need for surgeons to begin rebuilding their referral networks, and the positive accelerated development of telemedicine opportunities. Panelists include Vinay Badhwar, MD, Richard K. Freeman, MD, MBA, Robert S. Jasak, JD, and Roberta Schwartz, PhD.
T. Sloane Guy, MD, MBA, and Husam H. Balkhy, MD, moderate a discussion with surgeons who are experts in robotic cardiac procedures. They talk about how they got started in robotic surgery, the importance of institutional support for building and training a team, and the efficacy of robotic surgery as an instructional tool for residents and fellows. Panelists include Vinay Badhwar, MD, Arnar Geirsson, MD, Eugene A. Grossi, MD, Robert L. Smith II, MD, and Francis P. Sutter, DO.
Hosted by Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, the “Beyond the Abstract” program explores the “whys” behind articles in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. In the latest episode, Francis D. Pagani, MD, PhD, joins Dr. Varghese to discuss the findings of the Intermacs 2019 Annual Report. They mentioned the percent decrease in patients listed for a transplant when they received an LVAD, introduction of new technologies, and a comparison of technologies. Read the related Annals article online: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Intermacs 2019 Annual Report: The Changing Landscape of Devices and Indications. 
STS President Joseph A. Dearani, MD, and Mara B. Antonoff, MD, moderate an interactive panel discussion with early career cardiothoracic surgeons about how COVID has affected their scope of work and how it may change going forward. They also discuss the expanding role of telemedicine and silver linings from the COVID pandemic. Panelists include Elizabeth A. David, MD, Melanie A. Edwards, MD, Gabriel Loor, MD, HelenMari L. Merritt-Genore, DO, Olugbenga T. Okusanya, MD, and Elizabeth H. Stephens, MD, PhD.
Hosted by Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, the “Beyond the Abstract” program explores the “whys” behind articles in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. In the latest episode, John S. Ikonomidis, MD, PHD, joins Dr. Varghese to discuss the findings of the 2019 STS Practice Survey. Mandatory cognitive testing, increasing the number of women in the workforce, and job satisfaction are a few of the topics that are addressed. Read the related Annals article online: https://bit.ly/2Y0uiqe
The death rate from cancer has steadily declined over the past 25 years; however, worldwide there were 9.6 million deaths in 2018, with lung cancer still number one among all cancer types. In the latest episode of “Beyond the Abstract,” a program that explores the “whys” behind an article in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Kemp H. Kernstine joins host Dr. Tom Varghese to discuss whether tumor FDG-PET avidity represents enhanced glycolytic metabolism in non-small cell lung cancer. Read the related Annals article online: https://bit.ly/3c9sXm5.
Hosted by Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, the “Beyond the Abstract” program explores the “whys” behind articles in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. In the latest episode, Lisa M. Brown, MD, MAS, joins Dr. Varghese to discuss a widespread unresolved healthcare problem—pain. Dr. Brown explains why it is important to learn more about predictors of chronic pain and the impact on health-related quality of life, known as pain interference.
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