Highlights of the STS 53rd Annual Meeting

STS News, Spring 2017 -- More than 4,100 people, including more than 2,100 cardiothoracic surgeons and allied health care professionals, gathered in Houston January 21–25 for the STS 53rd Annual Meeting. To view meeting photos, program content, and daily editions of the STS Meeting Bulletin, visit www.sts.org/AMarchive.


Bavaria Urges Out-of-the-Box Thinking

The fine line between delivering quality treatment and embracing innovation may sometimes make cardiothoracic surgeons feel trapped between conflicting goals. In his Presidential Address at the STS 53rd Annual Meeting, Joseph E. Bavaria, MD challenged that paradigm.

“What if these two fundamentally important obligations, which go so far as to almost define us, are at odds with each other? If they are in fact colliding, then this is a challenge that we must sort out,” he said.

In his Presidential Address, Joseph E. Bavaria, MD urged his colleagues to experiment and continually adapt.

Pointing out that there is even conflict within innovation and quality, he asked if it was better to always be an innovator, adopting promising technology and navigating a difficult learning curve, or wait for guidelines on that new technology.

“Innovation has become absolutely critical to the survival of our specialty. We must experiment. We must continually adapt. And I know we are up to the challenge,” Dr. Bavaria said, suggesting that cardiothoracic surgery should work to build a culture of innovation by emphasizing democracy and freedom of inquiry within the specialty.

“Is a culture that requires rigid conformity capable of significant innovation by its people?,” Dr. Bavaria asked. “Liberated surgeons can be ingenious. So innovation—or importantly, early adoption of innovation—is an imperative.”

Moving to the issue of quality, STS has been a leader in this area with its long-established collection of outcomes data and its ongoing development and refinement of risk-adjustment models and metrics.

“The STS National Database has had a long evolution toward improving its ability to generate meaningful measures that can discriminate and point to a ‘quality’ program,” Dr. Bavaria said, adding that using complex data to create simple grades is a challenge. “Are the risk-adjustment models strong enough? Do they penalize or reward larger, tertiary institutions doing more complex cases?"

He suggested exploring the concept of patient-centered and patient-reported outcomes.

"Remember, we make the boxes. We construct those boxes that constrain our thinking."

Joseph E. Bavaria, MD

“The collision is not necessary if we keep the patient in mind. In this model, we convert the collision into a merger. The patients and their families become deeply involved with the decision making,” he said. “By discussing all the treatment options, with full consent, including high-risk and alternative options, we can affect a patient-centered outcome, and risk aversion can be moderated.”

Dr. Bavaria concluded his address by urging cardiothoracic surgeons to continue embracing innovation and quality: “I ask you to search for solutions for yourselves and your programs so that these two important imperatives don’t collide. This requires out-of-the-box thinking. But remember, we make the boxes. We construct those boxes that constrain our thinking.”


Award Winners Honored

The STS Annual Meeting offered the opportunity to recognize those who are making an impact on the specialty. The following were honored by the Society in Houston:

Distinguished Service Award

STS presented the Distinguished Service Award to David M. Shahian, MD. This award recognizes those who have made significant and far-reaching contributions to the Society and the specialty. Dr. Shahian is a renowned quality improvement expert and public reporting advocate who previously led the STS Workforce on National Databases and currently serves as Chair of the STS Council on Quality, Research, and Patient Safety.

Earl Bakken Scientific Achievement Award

The Earl Bakken Scientific Achievement Award was presented to Eric A. Rose, MD, who is best known for making history in 1984 when he performed the world’s first successful pediatric heart transplant. 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 Panos Vardas, MD from the Indiana University School of Medicine for his paper, “Current Status of Endovascular Training for Cardiothoracic Surgery Residents in the United States.” Selected by the STS President, this award recognizes an outstanding scientific abstract by a lead author who is either a resident or a surgeon 5 years or less in practice.

Poster Awards

Adult Cardiac Surgery
Permanent Pacemaker Placement in Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Patients Is Not Associated With Increased Mortality or Readmission (Fenton H. McCarthy, MD)

Cardiothoracic Surgical Education
Creation of a Coronary Anastomotic Checklist Using a Delphi Technique Reveals Significant Variability Among Experts (Ara A. Vaporciyan, MD)

Congenital Heart Surgery
Surgical Ligation of Patent Ductus Arteriosus in Preterm Infants: An Exceptionally Safe and Beneficial Approach to Management (Todd Crawford, MD)

Critical Care
Early Glycemic Variability Is Associated With Adverse Outcomes in Normoglycemic Patients Following Cardiac Surgery (Lily E. Johnston, MD, MPH)

General Thoracic Surgery
Long-Term Outcomes Following Surgical Management of Bronchopulmonary Carcinoid Tumors Using the National Cancer Database (Caitlin Harrington Brown)


Photo Gallery

View photos from the Annual Meeting, including highlights such as Shark Tank, the Presidential Address by Joseph E. Bavaria, MD, award winners, and popular hands-on STS University courses.


Access STS 53rd Annual Meeting Online

STS Annual Meeting Online provides access to more than 100 hours of recorded sessions. Access to Annual Meeting Online was included with Annual Meeting registration. Non-attendees can purchase the online product at www.sts.org/AMonline.


Annual Meeting by the Numbers
2,155 professional registrants
168 exhibiting companies and organizations
66 countries represented by registrants, with the most professional registrants coming from the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and United Kingdom
286 pieces of bovine and porcine tissue purchased for STS University