STS 50th Annual Meeting Recap

STS News, Spring 2014

View photos from the Annual Meeting here!

Wood Urges Colleagues to ‘Take It to the Limit’
Inspired by the 1970s Eagles song "Take It to the Limit," Douglas E. Wood, MD urged all cardiothoracic surgeons to push new boundaries and adopt a leadership style that embodies the "servant leader" qualities of courage, collaboration, integrity, empathy, humility, and selflessness.

During his Presidential Address at the STS 50th Annual Meeting, Dr. Wood said that changing times demand that the male-dominated profession transition from a masculine, autocratic leadership style to one that is less authoritarian and more feminine.

He described how a zero-sum game—where there is a winner and a loser—does not work in a modern, collaborative world. "In our environments of heart teams and multidisciplinary care, winning is plural," Dr. Wood said. "Sustainable improvements depend on collaboration and agreement. Over the longer time horizon, we will see that the real winners are those that invoke the skills of sharing credit and consensus building in order to achieve shared success."

He admitted that this new paradigm may be difficult for the "hard-charging and high-achieving men" that make up a majority of the specialty: "We would all benefit from diminishing our ego and striving for modesty and kindness. Vulnerability can be our new strength."

He also encouraged the promotion of women in the specialty. "Demonstrate the excitement, innovation, and career value and satisfaction that we have as surgeons. Encourage them because that is how we will grow, that is how we will stay relevant in the 21st century, and that is how all of us, women and men alike, will learn from each other how to make a difference for our specialty and for the world," Dr. Wood said.

He also used his Presidential Address to congratulate the cardiothoracic surgeons who are taking it to the limit outside of the operating room. He recognized several surgeons—one who became the vice president of Guatemala, one who designed a health education program for elementary school kids, and another who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Prior to his address, Dr. Wood paid tribute to those in the audience who served in the Armed Forces, from World War II to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. He thanked them for their service and commended them for their inspirational work.

Highlights of the STS 50th Annual Meeting
More than 2,300 cardiothoracic surgeons and allied health care professionals gathered in Orlando January 25–29 for 5 days of exciting lectures, thought-provoking debates, important research presentations, and networking opportunities at the STS 50th Annual Meeting.

This year’s meeting celebrated the Society’s Golden Anniversary with special exhibits throughout the convention center and tributes during the General Sessions. To watch an STS history video and view other materials honoring 50 years of STS, visit

Attendees also got to hear from two very special guest lecturers. Shaf Keshavjee, MD delivered a fascinating talk on personalized medicine for transplanted organs. Egyptian cardiothoracic surgeon Bassem Youssef spoke about his rise as a political satirist and host of one of the Arab world’s most-watched television programs to become one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2013, using skills he learned during his CT surgery training.

For more details on this year’s Annual Meeting events, visit to view meeting photos, program content, and daily editions of The STS Meeting Bulletin. And stay tuned for more information on the Society’s 51st Annual Meeting in San Diego, January 24–28, 2015, which will continue to feature outstanding scientific research and discussions. The abstract submission site will open soon; keep an eye on your e-mail inbox for an announcement.

Award Winners Honored
In addition to sharing knowledge about cutting-edge science, state-of-the-art technology, and data-driven quality improvements in health care, the STS Annual Meeting also offered the opportunity to recognize those who are making an impact in the specialty. The following were honored by the Society in Orlando:

Distinguished Service Award
STS presented the Distinguished Service Award to Douglas J. Mathisen, MD. This award recognizes those who have made significant and far-reaching contributions to the Society and the specialty. Dr. Mathisen, an STS Past President currently serving as Chair of the Joint Council on Thoracic Surgery Education and Chair of the STS Council on Health Policy and Relationships, heads the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he is also the Program Director for Cardiothoracic Surgery. In addition, he is the Hermes C. Grillo Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Earl Bakken Scientific Achievement Award
The Earl Bakken Scientific Achievement Award was presented to G. Alexander Patterson, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis. The Bakken Award honors individuals who have made outstanding scientific contributions that have enhanced the practice of cardiothoracic surgery and patients’ quality of life.

President’s Award
The President’s Award was presented to Tarek Malas, MD, a cardiac surgery resident at the Ottawa Heart Institute, for his paper, "Is Aortic Valve Repair Reproducible? Analysis of the Learning Curve for Aortic Valve Repair." Selected by the STS President, this award recognizes an outstanding scientific abstract submitted to the Annual Meeting program by a lead author who is either a resident or a surgeon 5 years or less in practice.

Poster Awards

Adult Cardiac Surgery
"Complex Aortic Valve Replacement and Concomitant Procedures With Perceval S Sutureless Aortic Valve Prosthesis: Combined Results of Three Prospective Multicenter European Trials" (lead author Malakh Shrestha, MBBS, HC, PhD)

General Thoracic Surgery
"Lymph Node Assessment and Impact on Survival in VATS Lobectomy/Segmentectomy" (senior author Michael Lanuti, MD)

Congenital Heart Surgery
"A Defined Management Strategy Improves Early Outcomes Following the Fontan Procedure" (lead author Rachel Sunstrom, PA-C)

Cardiothoracic Surgical Education
"A Surgical Trainee-Driven Resource Utilization Protocol Reduces Hospital Direct Costs in Thoracic Patients" (lead author Walter DeNino, MD)