Understanding a patient’s frailty index is an important part of assessing the risks and benefits of a surgical procedure for a cardiothoracic surgery patient. Frailty sometimes is measured by a patient’s grip strength, weight, and walking test results, but standards for evaluating and treating frailty before surgery do not exist.

Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of people around the world, with approximately 18 million deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization. Treatment options for heart disease include lifestyle changes, stenting, and surgery. But which option is best and for which patients? Thomas E. MacGillivray, MD (Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX), moderates a panel discussion with Jennifer S. Lawton, MD (Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, MD), John D.

Cardiothoracic surgeons are at significant risk of burnout because of long work hours, delayed career gratification, complex health care, intense personality, and poor work-life balance. In fact, recent data show that more than half of cardiothoracic surgeons reported feeling burned out. In this important roundtable discussion, Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS, gathers tips to avoid burnout from Oliver S. Chow, MD, Michal Hubka, MD, and Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD, MBA.

The biggest threat to lung health in the current era is vaping. Shanda H. Blackmon, MD, MPH, moderates a discussion about the changing landscape of tobacco use, which includes vaping as the new gateway to smoking. She and colleagues, J. Robert Headrick, MD, MBA, Matthew A. Steliga, MD, and Keith S. Naunheim, MD, describe the “terrifying” statistics about vaping, why patients are oftentimes afraid to seek help, the use of graphics warnings, and why bringing smoking cessation resources to patients may become more necessary.

The FDA recently expanded the indications for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to include patients at low surgical risk. But experts are urging caution about which low-risk patients should undergo TAVR until more information is gathered. At the STS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Joseph E. Bavaria, MD, explored recent clinical trials with Tsuyoshi Kaneko, MD, Michael J. Reardon, MD, and Vinod Thourani, MD.

2020 STS Presidential Address
On Life, Leadership, and the Pursuit of Happiness

During the STS 56th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Dr. Robert S.D. Higgins delivered his Presidential Address, "On Life, Leadership, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

When asked about what attendees can expect to hear, he said:

2020 Vivien T. Thomas Lecture
The Saga of Vivien Thomas: Discrimination, Segregation, and Bias

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons launched a new named lecture at its 2020 Annual Meeting. It was in honor of Vivien Thomas, a black surgical technician with only a high school education who steadfastly designed and tested anastomosis of the subclavian artery to the pulmonary artery, resulting in the landmark "blue baby" operation in 1944 for children with tetralogy of Fallot.

2020 Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture
Domenico Pagano, MD, FRCS(C-Th), FETSC

The Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture at The Society of Thoracic Surgeons 56th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, was delivered by Dr. Domenico Pagano, Secretary General of the European Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery.

In his lecture, M.E.G.A.: Make Evidence Great Again, Dr. Pagano explored how cardiothoracic surgeons can challenge the soundness of data that support the practice of evidence-based medicine.

2020 STS Annual Meeting Lillehei Lecture
Bumper Car Innovation of Heart Pumps and Mechanical Lungs

The STS Lillehei Lecture was established in 2009 through a generous gift from the Lillehei Family Charitable Foundation in honor of Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, a pioneer in open heart surgery utilizing cross circulation.