Latin America Conference Gains Momentum

STS News, Winter 2019 -- In its second year, the STS/EACTS Latin America Cardiovascular Surgery Conference saw growth in both the number of attendees and the number of countries represented.

The STS/EACTS Latin America Conference featured faculty from three continents.

More than 300 people from 33 countries attended the 2018 meeting, held November 15-17 in Cartagena, Colombia, compared to approximately 230 attendees from 23 countries in 2017.

“The second edition of this conference consolidated an educational tool for those who practice in Latin America and have no chance to attend the STS or EACTS annual meetings,” said course director Jose L. Pomar, MD, PhD, from Barcelona, Spain, who is an EACTS Past President.

Other course directors included Juan P. Umana, MD, from Bogota, Colombia, Vinod H. Thourani, MD, from Washington, DC, Nestor F. Sandoval, MD, from Bogota, Colombia, Manuel J. Antunes, MD, PhD, DSc, from Coimbra, Portugal, and STS Past President Joseph E. Bavaria, MD, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jose L. Pomar, MD, PhD gave the keynote speech, “Antoni Gaudi and the Mitral Valve.”

The 2.5-day conference featured invited lectures, scientific abstract presentations, Stump the Professor sessions, and how-to videos that concentrated on the multidisciplinary approach to coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, thoracic aorta disease, atrial fibrillation, and the surgical management of heart failure. A congenital heart disease component was added this year as well.

An exciting and well-attended literature review session was held Friday morning, during which panelists discussed the transcatheter mitral valve revolution and insights from COAPT, MITRA-FR, and other related trials.

“It was important to put these trials into context and explain what they mean for the cardiothoracic surgical  community; we need to have more of these sessions next year,” said Dr. Bavaria.

STS and EACTS representatives are already hard at work planning the 2020 meeting.

“The course format will continue to evolve. In the future, we hope to further integrate with other specialties, such as cardiology and imaging,” Dr. Pomar said.

For more photos from the meeting, view the STS Flickr album at

The Thoracic Surgery Foundation offered 25 scholarships to attend the conference. This photo depicts 16 of the scholars.