International Connection: March/April 2020

Webinars Offer Strategies for Navigating COVID-19 Crisis
Cardiothoracic surgeons and other health care professionals around the globe have had to adapt quickly to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. A free weekly webinar series, Cardiothoracic Surgery in the COVID Crisis, brings experts together to discuss how the disease is impacting the specialty. Watch the first two episodes—Candid Conversations with Colleagues from Hot Spots in the US and Stratifying Patients for Cardiac Operations—online now. And tune in for the next webinar, ECMO Challenges and Considerations, on Thursday, April 23 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

You can access additional information on the STS website, including:

  • An interactive resource allocation prediction tool that can help triage adult cardiac surgery cases
  • A frequently updated resources page that includes links to STS-supported guidance documents, real-time tracking, information on personal protective equipment, and more
  • Articles that explain how different countries are dealing with the pandemic, such as the Hong Kong experience by STS International Director Alan D.L. Sihoe, MD, MA, FRCSEd, and the US perspective by T. Sloane Guy, MD, MBA

LatAm Courses Postponed until 2021
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two educational courses planned for November in Latin America have been postponed. The STS/EACTS Latin America Cardiovascular Surgery Conference and the STS/EACTS/ESTS Latin America Thoracic Surgery Conference will now take place in late 2021. Several other live educational events have been canceled or delayed; check the STS website for the most up-to-date information.

Annual Meeting Online Coming Soon 
If you’re looking for online learning opportunities, STS 56th Annual Meeting Online will be available in the coming weeks and features more than 100 hours of recorded sessions. Watch highlights such as the Presidential Address by Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, the Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture by Domenico Pagano, MD, FRCS(C-Th), FESC, and a joint session with the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery on bicuspid aortic valve repair with aortic root aneurysm. Annual Meeting attendees will receive free access; all others can purchase access, with a significant discount for STS members.

TSF Grant Makes Life-Saving Heart Surgeries Possible 
A surgical mission trip to treat rheumatic heart disease patients in Uganda—partially funded by an Every Heartbeat Matters award from The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF)—took an unexpected turn when COVID-19 cases began growing exponentially in the United States. While some US-based members of the mission team already had arrived in the African country, others were unable to travel. The team in Uganda forged ahead and conducted complex surgeries on five patients with end-stage heart disease. Read about the trip and learn how grants from TSF, which is the Society’s charitable arm, positively impact patient care around the world.

Participate in TweetChat on Work/Life Balance
The next career development TweetChat, scheduled for Wednesday, May 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET, will focus on how to achieve work/life balance. Gabriel Loor, MD (@gloorloor), will lead the discussion on what work/life balance looks like, its impact on one’s professional goals, and the consequences of poor work/life balance. Monitor the conversation on or Twitter, and use the hashtag CTcareers to participate.

Editorial Weighs Evidence on Use of MAGs for CABG
An editorial available online in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and two other journals provides a transatlantic perspective on “The Use of Multiple Arterial Grafts for Coronary Revascularization in Europe and North America.” Although the use of multiple arterial grafts (MAGs) for coronary artery bypass grafting is encouraged by all existing guidelines and recommendations from professional societies, Mario Gaudino, MD, and colleagues note that the evidence basis in support of MAGs is not definitive. In the editorial, they also report on the attitudes of the surgical community toward the use of MAGs. A subscription to The Annals is one of many STS member benefits.