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 | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | TuneIn Radio | CastBox


  • #102: Beyond the Abstract: Women in Thoracic Surgery Scholarship—Impact on Career Path and Interest in Cardiothoracic Surgery

    July 30, 2021

    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, Lauren C. Kane, MD and Leah M. Backhus, MD, MPH, join Dr. Varghese to discuss how women remain underrepresented in cardiothoracic surgery. In this male-dominated specialty—only 5% of practicing surgeons are women—what needs to be happen in order to improve the pipeline into cardiothoracic surgery? Dr. Varghese suggests—and Drs. Kane and Backhus agree—that pragmatic, active interventions such as mentorship and scholarship can directly influence “outstanding results” and actually effect change in a meaningful way. Hear what else Drs. Kane and Backhus have to say about “doing the work” and helping to form a strong and committed community of women cardiothoracic surgeons. Read the related Annals article online: Women in Thoracic Surgery Scholarship: Impact on Career Path and Interest in Cardiothoracic Surgery.

  • #101: How to Start a Surgeon-Led Lung Cancer Screening Program

    July 23, 2021

    In the latest episode of the STS Webinar Series, an expert panel discusses the surgeon’s role in program development and increasing screening rates. The discussion also includes a review of the new United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines for lung cancer screening and the implications for surgeons of expanded screening. Participants include: DuyKhanh P. Ceppa, MD, Loretta Erhunmwunsee, MD, Cherie P. Erkmen, MD, Christopher R. Gilbert, DO, Mark W. Onaitis, MD (moderator), Elliot L. Servais, MD, Betty C. Tong, MD, MHS, MS (moderator). 

  • #100: The Resilient Surgeon: Dorie Clark

    July 23, 2021

    In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus interviews accomplished self-reinvention expert and communication coach Dorie Clark. Listeners learn why we “say yes to everything”—a habit that often results in constant busyness and overwhelm. Dorie explains that while saying yes is often “easy,” saying no—even to good things—is important and can be life-changing. Use a checklist to evaluate an opportunity and help you decide when to say no, she advises. Dr. Maddaus draws attention to highlights from Dorie’s new book, “The Long Game” (publishing on Sept. 21), including recommendations for breaking out of the endless cycle of being on autopilot and creating interesting, meaningful lives. What small changes can we make that could have enormous impact on our success? Dorie offers strategies on how to leverage our time in more efficient and powerful ways. Hear also what she says about “optimizing for interesting” and embracing the 20% time concept to explore “experimental” projects. “The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers.

    Dorie can be reached at dorieclark.com and @dorieclark, and you can download "The Long Game" strategic thinking self-assessment for free at dorieclark.com/thelonggame.

    Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness.

  • #99: The Resilient Surgeon: Dr. Monique Valcour

    July 9, 2021

    “The Resilient Surgeon” is a new program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers. Host Dr. Michael Maddaus will talk to game changers in the high-performance and wellness space who can share real-world strategies for building and maintaining resiliency.

    In this inaugural episode, Dr. Maddaus interviews executive coach Dr. Monique Valcour, who shares advice and strategies on integrating work and life and thriving in a high-demand world. According to Dr. Valcour, burnout is fundamentally a state of resource depletion. She recommends thinking about “what are the elements of my work, what are the moments where I feel most alive, where I have a sense of meaning, and where I have a sense of contributing something of value.” Then, “really lean into” those activities and relationships. Listeners will discover that being on “autopilot” puts them at risk for a less-than-optimal mind, body, energetic state, and focus. The goal instead should be to become more “conscious and intentional” of the choices that are being made. Hear also what Dr. Valcour says about having a sense of meaning in every moment and how to “keep the life force within you bright and shining.”

    Dr. Valcour can be reached at moniquevalcour.com and @moniquevalcour.

    Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness.

  • #98: HVAD Is Off the Market - Now What?

    June 30, 2021

    Following the market removal of the HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device (HVAD) system, surgeons and industry representatives from the US and Europe discuss patient care implications, including new data from the Intermacs Database on survival benefits from a device exchange. The latest episode of the STS Webinar Series is presented in conjunction with the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Participants include: Jennifer A. Cowger, MD, MS, A. Pieter Kappetein, MD, PhD, Arman Kilic, MD, Robert L. Kormos, MD, FRCSC, Nahush A. Mokadam, MD, Francis D. Pagani, MD, PhD (moderator), Diyar Saeed, MD, PhD.

  • #97: STS Webinar Series: Ask STS—A Town Hall with Surgeon Leaders

    June 18, 2021

    In this episode of the STS Webinar Series, Society President Sean C. Grondin, MD, MPH, FRCSC, moderates an interactive Q&A session about issues facing the Society and the cardiothoracic surgery specialty. Dr. Grondin and a number of STS surgeon leaders respond to member questions on a variety of topics, including: efforts to meet the educational needs of members during and after the pandemic; new awards and traveling fellowships developed by The Thoracic Surgery Foundation; plans for the in-person 2022 STS Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Florida; new initiatives to help career development and promote wellness (including the forthcoming Resilient Surgeon podcast); and ongoing advocacy efforts related to Medicare reimbursement cuts and updated lung cancer screening criteria. Panelists include: Vinay Badhwar, MD, Joseph E. Bavaria, MD, Shanda H. Blackmon, MD, MPH, Melanie A. Edwards, MD, Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, John D. Mitchell, MD, Alan M. Speir, MD, and Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS.

  • #96: Beyond the Abstract: STS Advocacy Concerning CMS Reduction in the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule to Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons

    June 4, 2021

    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, Alan M. Speir, MD, joins Dr. Varghese to discuss “easily one of the biggest issues that impacts the care of cardiothoracic surgical patients today”—the Medicare reimbursement cuts. In December 2020, Congress approved legislation that prevented the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from implementing the cuts. But what was happening—much behind the scenes—to help earn this major victory for cardiothoracic surgeons and their patients? Dr. Varghese and Dr. Speir take a deep dive into this topic, covering the potential rationale for the “Draconian” cuts in reimbursement and the details of the close coordination and collaboration with other surgical societies that helped make a difference. Dr. Speir also shares his thoughts on future advocacy efforts. Read the related Annals article online: STS Advocacy Concerning CMS Reduction in the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule to Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons.

  • #95: The Resilient Surgeon: Strategies to Be Your Best Self, In and Out of the OR—No Matter What

    May 21, 2021

    In this episode of the STS Webinar Series, Michael A. Maddaus MD, moderates a panel of game changers in the high-performance and wellness space, including a cardiothoracic surgeon, a former Navy Seal, and a clinical psychologist. Topics include: the crucial habits that make up the “resilience bank account,” the role of meaning, wonderment, and relationships in countering despair, and the myth of a balanced life. Panelists include: Brian Ferguson, Cynthia S. Herrington, MD, Michael A. Maddaus, MD, and Wayne M. Sotile, PhD.

  • #94: ECMO Strategies during COVID

    May 7, 2021

    Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) strategies during COVID are discussed in this spirited and fast-paced episode of the STS Webinar Series. J.W. Awori Hayanga, MD, MPH, and an esteemed panel consider sedation or cannulation when placing a COVID patient on ECMO. They do so while addressing lessons learned during the pandemic, amidst multiple COVID surges and evolving therapeutic modalities. Topics include: the relationship between patient selection and survivability, anticoagulation strategies in COVID patients, and the challenges of weaning patients off of sedation. Panelists include: Rakesh C. Arora, MD, PhD, who also serves as a digital moderator, Subhasis Chatterjee, MD, Bo Soo Kim, MD, Jonathan W. Haft, MD, HelenMari L. Merritt-Genore, DO, and Rita C. Milewski, MD, PhD, MSEd.

  • #93: Beyond the Abstract: Showcasing Your Cardiothoracic Training Program in the Virtual Era

    April 29, 2021

    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—which was recorded approximately 400 days into the COVID-19 global pandemic—Mara B. Antonoff, MD, joins Dr. Varghese to discuss how the pandemic has disrupted every aspect of personal and professional life, including the ability to recruit the best and brightest to the field of cardiothoracic surgery. During the last year, many departments, divisions, and programs have had to quickly transition and “robustly” implement novel techniques and technology as travel restrictions remained the norm. What best practices have emerged? Dr. Antonoff shares what the authors uncovered in a literature review and offers advice on how programs should embrace the opportunities to innovate and engage in the virtual domain. Read the related Annals article online: Showcasing Your Cardiothoracic Training Program in the Virtual Era.