Podcast Episodes

The Society's podcast, Surgical Hot Topics, features leaders in cardiothoracic surgery discussing important issues in the field. Please note: The comments included in these episodes are that of the individuals involved and not necessarily that of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Find episodes here, or subscribe via the links below:

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#22: Beyond the Abstract: Individual Surgeon Performance in Adult Cardiac Surgery
October 30, 2018
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 Performance in Adult Cardiac Surgery,” at http://bit.ly/2ACEs6b.

#21: Introduction to the New “Beyond the Abstract” Program
October 30, 2018
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.

#20: How to Recruit More Women Into Surgery
June 19, 2018
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 Ljubljana, Slovenia. It also is available at https://youtu.be/yHqijGPF9L8.

#19: Eye of the Beholder: The Reinvention of Seeing
June 15, 2018
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.

#18: STS Key Contacts: Advocates for Cardiothoracic Surgery
June 7, 2018
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.

#17: Quality and Innovation in Cardiothoracic Surgery: Colliding Imperatives?
June 1, 2018
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 2017 STS Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas, Joseph E. Bavaria, MD challenged that paradigm. He encouraged his colleagues to continually experiment and adapt, but also to always keep the patient in mind.

#16: Innovation for Life
May 25, 2018
Even though an operation or a process has been around for a long time and may seem “normal,” an innovative idea can change it all. In his Presidential Address at the 2016 STS Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, Mark S. Allen, MD described five common characteristics shared by innovators inside and outside of medicine and urged cardiothoracic surgeons to embrace innovation and ultimately make the specialty better for themselves and their patients.

#15: A New Global Health Crisis
May 18, 2018
Over the last several decades, deaths from noncommunicable diseases—including cardiovascular disease and lung and esophageal cancer—have increased in the developing world. In his Presidential Address at the 2015 STS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, David A. Fullerton, MD outlined the problem, the Society’s efforts to fund charitable surgical missions in developing nations, and STS members who are making a difference.

#14: Take It to the Limit
May 11, 2018
Taking it to the limit is what cardiothoracic surgery has done for the past 50 years and what STS has done on behalf of the specialty for that same half century; however, some things that once made CT surgery successful may now be counterproductive. In his Presidential Address at the 2014 STS Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, Douglas E. Wood, MD challenged his colleagues in the male-dominated profession to welcome in more women and transition away from a masculine, autocratic leadership style.

#13: How to Successfully Implement Surgical Innovations and New Technologies into Practice
May 4, 2018
Health care professionals tend to be traditional and conservative when it comes to practice, so incorporating new technologies and innovations into the hospital and the operating room can be a challenge. Four cardiothoracic surgery change drivers—Shanda H. Blackmon, MD, MPH, James D. Luketich, MD, T. Sloan Guy, MD, MBA, and Linda W. Martin, MD, MPH—provide advice on how to get buy-in from hospital administrators, as well as team members.

#12: The Consequences of Refusing Surgery
April 27, 2018
Two studies presented at the recent STS Annual Meeting showed that surgical therapy is superior to alternative treatment approaches for both esophageal cancer and coronary artery disease in younger patients. In light of these findings, Robbin G. Cohen, MD, MMM, Mark S. Allen, MD, Sebron W. Harrison, MD, and Alan M. Speir, MD discuss why patients refuse surgery, how they respond to patients who opt against surgery, and the obligations of surgeons in an age of patient autonomy.

#11: Discrepancies Between Evidence-Based and Real-World Practices
April 20, 2018
On average, it takes 17 years before new innovation is disseminated into clinical practice. How can cardiothoracic surgery change that statistic and speed up the process? Juan A. Sanchez, MD moderates a discussion with Michael S. Kent, MD, Kevin W. Lobdell, MD, and W. Chance Conner, MD about why there is a gap, strategies for implementation, and quicker adoption by the end user (hospital, clinician, etc.).

#10: Evolving Trends in TAVR
April 13, 2018
The volumes of two aortic valve replacements (AVR) procedures have changed dramatically over the past few years, with more transcatheter procedures now being performed than open surgical procedures. Four cardiac surgeons discuss the evolving trends in TAVR, why the changes are occurring, and what’s ahead for TAVR and SAVR. Wilson Y. Szeto, MD moderates the discussion that also features Michael J. Mack, MD, John V. Conte, MD, and Thomas E. MacGillivray, MD.

#9: Mentorship in Cardiothoracic Surgery
April 6, 2018
Mentorship is an important component to success for many up-and-coming cardiothoracic surgeons. For established surgeons, being a good mentor is equally as important. Vinay Badhwar, MD moderates a discussion that includes Shanda H. Blackmon, MD, MPH, Melanie A. Edwards, MD, and David D. Odell, MD, MMSc talking about how mentorship is critical to the future of the specialty and what STS is doing to promote mentorship for early career surgeons.

#8: The Debate Over Exercise Restrictions in Cardiac Surgery
March 30, 2018
Should patients remain active before, during, and after cardiac surgery? Some surgeons have opposing views. Thomas G. Gleason, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh, and Edward P. Chen, MD, from Emory University, discuss the role of exercise in the treatment and recovery process following surgery for various forms of heart disease, especially among active patients.

#7: The STS National Database Expands
March 23, 2018
The STS National Database recently expanded to include a registry for clinical outcomes of patients who receive a mechanical circulatory support device to treat advanced heart failure. The STS Intermacs Database adds important longitudinal data to an already comprehensive, highly respected clinical outcomes database. David Shahian, Frank Pagani, and Robert Kormos discuss how Intermacs will complement the STS National Database and how the data can be used for research and performance improvement.

#6: Emerging Game-Changing Technologies in the Management of Lung Cancer
March 16, 2018
New technologies and innovative treatments are making it easier to successfully diagnose and treat patients with lung cancer. Douglas E. Wood, MD (University of Washington) moderates a discussion with Leah Backhus, MD, MPH (Stanford University), Elizabeth David, MD (UC Davis), and Moishe Liberman, MD, PhD (University of Montreal) about how low-dose computed tomography, wearable devices, energy sealing devices, and robots are changing patient outcomes and experiences.

#5: Transcatheter-Based Mitral Valve Repair and Replacement
March 9, 2018
The latest advances in mitral valve repair and replacement include a shift toward the transseptal platform. Gorav Ailawadi, Vinay Badhwar, Steven F. Bolling, and T. Sloan Guy discuss how catheter-based techniques will re-emulate the gold standard for mitral valve surgery, the important role of 3D echo technology, the need for transseptal puncture skills, and navigating the local politics.

#4: Addressing the Impending Shortage of Cardiothoracic Surgeons
March 2, 2018
Numerous studies predict growing shortages in the physician workforce in the United States, especially among cardiothoracic surgeons. Five cardiothoracic surgeons and a fourth-year medical student discuss ways to address this impending shortage, including increasing the cap on residency slots, reducing the burden of training costs, and improving work-life balance.

#3: Anticoagulation During Cardiopulmonary Bypass
February 22, 2018
In January, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, and the American Society of ExtraCorporeal Technology released a clinical practice guideline on the use of blood thinning medication (anticoagulants) during heart surgery. In this episode, guideline coauthor John Hammon, MD speaks with two cardiothoracic surgeons (Gaetano Paone, MD and Richard Engelman, MD) and a perfusionist (Theron Paugh, CCP) about how the guideline will change clinical practice.

#2: Diversity in Cardiothoracic Surgery
February 15, 2018
Recognizing the growing diversity of the population and patients in the US, STS created a special Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion to help cultivate an environment of inclusion and diversity within the Society, as well as the cardiothoracic surgery specialty. Task Force Chair David T. Cooke, MD hosted a roundtable discussion about diversity and inclusion in cardiothoracic surgery. His guests were Africa Wallace, MD, Luis Godoy, MD, and Jackie Olive.

#1: How the Opioid Crisis Is Affecting Cardiothoracic Surgery
February 9, 2018
Opioid addiction is a national epidemic. Moderator Keith S. Naunheim, MD and panelists Alexander A. Brescia, MD, David T. Cooke, MD, and James D. Luketich, MD discuss how the crisis is affecting cardiothoracic surgeons and their patients.