STS/EACTS to Hold First Educational Meeting in Latin America

STS News, Summer 2017 -- STS is partnering with the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS) on a new educational program in Latin America that is designed for all members of the cardiac surgical team.

“A key goal of the Society’s new strategic plan is to foster collaboration and connection, especially among the global cardiothoracic surgery community,” explained STS Immediate Past President Joseph E. Bavaria, MD. “During a recent workforce meeting, surgeons from Latin America noted the lack of an all-inclusive cardiovascular surgery educational program held in their region of the world. STS and EACTS jumped on the opportunity to provide that education.”

EACTS Past President Jose Luis Pomar, MD, PhD said that the collaboration was a natural fit. “Sharing experiences from different parts of the world will help improve our knowledge and better serve our patients,” Dr. Pomar said. “It also will help strengthen relations at a personal level; the face-to-face contact will be crucial.”

The STS/EACTS Latin America Cardiovascular Surgery Conference is planned for September 21-22 at the Hilton Cartagena in Cartagena, Colombia. It will highlight the management of coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, thoracic aortic disease, and atrial fibrillation, as well as the surgical management of heart failure.

In addition to Drs. Bavaria (from Philadelphia) and Pomar (from Barcelona), Program Directors include Juan P. Umana, MD (from Bogota) and Vinod H. Thourani, MD (from Washington, DC). The faculty will be a mix of experts from North America, Europe, and Latin America.

The Hilton Cartagena offers ocean views, secluded beach access, an expansive swimming pool complex, and tennis courts.

The 2-day conference will begin with general sessions on management of the mitral valve before splitting into separate tracks on adult congenital, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and the tricuspid valve. The second day starts off with dual tracks of “Stump the Professor,” followed by general sessions on the aortic valve and quality initiatives, and in the afternoon will feature tracks on coronary artery disease and the aorta and aortic arch. The program closes with another general session on the aortic root.

“The program covers a wide array of topics, with special emphasis on valvular disease. We believe this is an area that holds great potential in Latin America, particularly as it pertains to valvular preservation and repair,” Dr. Umana said. “The program design highlights the importance of the Heart Team approach as a means to offer patients the best possible treatment available, regardless of geographic location.”

Scientific abstracts and panel discussions will be incorporated into each session.

“This course features a heavily case-based format,” said Dr. Thourani. “Our goal is for it to be very interactive.”

An exciting component of the program will be invited technical videos displaying procedural expertise in these disease processes, which Dr. Umana described as “very powerful teaching tools.”

The session on quality and outcomes initiatives will explore the history of the STS National Database, the challenges of implementing multicentric registries in Latin America, and how to maintain quality in a surgical program.

“As quality initiatives and registries become increasingly important, a specific session dedicated to performing research and measuring quality will look at the cross-pollination of what’s been done in Europe and the United States,” Dr. Thourani said.

To learn more about the conference and register, visit If you have questions, contact STS Education Manager Michelle Taylor or (312) 202-5864.