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:

iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | TuneIn Radio | CastBox


  • #41: Beyond the Abstract: The Future is Now

    January 16, 2020

    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, Dr. Felix Fernandez joins Dr. Varghese to reflect on the accomplishments of the STS National Database over the last 30 years and discuss the early 2020 transition to a user-friendly, cloud-based, real-time platform that will accelerate practice improvement and lead to better patient outcomes. Read the related Annals Article, “The Future is Now: The 2020 Evolution of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database."

  • #40: Beyond the Abstract: Understanding and remediating lapses in professionalism

    January 14, 2020

    When physicians regularly exhibit a lack of civility and respect, patient safety and quality of care are compromised. The latest episode of “Beyond the Abstract,” from The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and part of the Society’s Surgical Hot Topics podcast, covers a paper that explores unprofessional behavior in the workplace and recommends a new framework for the assessment, treatment, and remediation of physicians with professionalism transgressions. Lead author Dr. Betsy Williams joins host Dr. Tom Varghese to discuss why this article was written and next steps. Read the related Annals article, “Understanding and remediating lapses in professionalism: Lessons from the island of last resort.”

  • #39: Beyond the Abstract: The Resilience Bank Account

    December 2, 2019

    The numerous professional and personal stressors experienced by cardiothoracic surgeons can—if not well managed—lead to errors in clinical judgment, burnout, early departure from practice, health issues, and substance abuse. In the latest episode of “Beyond the Abstract,” a program that explores the “whys” behind an article in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Michael Maddaus joins host Dr. Tom Varghese to discuss six habits that can make a significant difference in managing stress when proactively integrated into a daily routine. Read the related Annals article online: “The Resilience Bank Account: Skills for Optimal Performance.”

  • #38: Beyond the Abstract: Attrition of the Cardiothoracic Surgeon-Scientist

    November 5, 2019

    Are surgeon-scientists a dying breed? Dr. John Ikonomidis is the lead author of a new paper that explores the decline of surgeons who are applying for and receiving grants, publishing less, and feeling that research is not a part of their role. He joins host Dr. Tom Varghese in the latest episode of “Beyond the Abstract,” a program that explores the “whys” behind an article in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and discusses next steps with authors and thought leaders. Read The Annals article online: “Attrition of the Cardiothoracic Surgeon-Scientist: Definition of the Problem and Remedial Strategies.”

  • #37: Beyond the Abstract: Reporting on the STS Intermacs and Pedimacs Databases

    June 12, 2019

    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 received FDA-approved durable mechanical circulatory support devices. They also discuss how these data will impact future devices, patient selection, and outcomes. Read the related Annals articles online: “The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Intermacs Database Annual Report: Evolving Indications, Outcomes, and Scientific Partnerships” and “Third Annual Pediatric Interagency Registry for Mechanical Circulatory Support (Pedimacs) Report: Preimplant Characteristics and Outcomes."

  • #36: Finding Your First Job in Cardiothoracic Surgery

    April 29, 2019

    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.

  • #35: Should Robotics Be Part of Cardiothoracic Surgery Training?

    April 21, 2019

    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.

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

    April 12, 2019

    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, and to demonstrate the importance of the care that cardiothoracic surgeons provide.

  • #33: Breaking the Demographic and Cultural Barriers to Patient Enrollment in Clinical Trials

    April 8, 2019

    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.

  • #32: The Surgical Challenges Involved with Treating Infective Endocarditis

    April 1, 2019

    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 antibiotics, the best candidates for surgery, and the ethics surrounding treating IV drug abusers.