Welcome to New Orleans

On behalf of the STS leadership, thank you for joining us in the Big Easy at the 2020 STS Annual Meeting! New Orleans is a vibrant city with a rich history—and I know you’ll enjoy not only the educational offerings, but also the cultural experiences that await you.

Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA

Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA

New this year, the meeting begins with a full day of sessions on Saturday, starting with STS University and ending with the always-thrilling Shark Tank presentations during Tech-Con. We also have added a new keynote lecture on Sunday, will demonstrate our next generation STS National Database throughout the meeting, and have many engaging scientific and educational discussions both inside and outside of the session rooms. I hope you take advantage of as many of these activities as possible, as well as spend time with our exhibitors and network with colleagues, before the conclusion of the meeting on Tuesday afternoon. 

Keynote Lecturers
I’m extremely proud of our lineup of inspiring keynote speakers—especially on Sunday, with the introduction of a new lecture honoring Vivien Thomas, the surgical technician who helped pioneer the anastomosis of the subclavian artery to the pulmonary artery. His contributions went unrecognized for many years, but now we can pay tribute to him in a national forum. The inaugural Vivien Thomas Lecture will be given by Dr. Clyde Yancy, vice dean for diversity and inclusion and chief of the Division of Cardiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, as well as a past president of the American Heart Association.

On Monday, Dr. Domenico Pagano will deliver the Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture on the soundness of data that support the practice of evidence-based medicine. And on Tuesday, our C. Walton Lillehei Lecturer, Dr. Bartley Griffith, will speak about the journey toward a wearable pump lung.

I hope you will attend each of these keynotes, as well as my Presidential Address on Monday morning at 11:15, “On Life, Leadership, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Database Updates
The meeting also is a great opportunity for you to learn more about our next generation STS National Database. In the coming weeks, participants will have access to their data on state-of-the-art, interactive dashboards that are available 24/7 on a highly secure platform. And we’ll continue to roll out new features throughout the year. These features will help you save time and resources, while accelerating quality improvement and point-of-care decision-making. STS staff will be available in the Exhibit Hall to answer your questions, and you can hear more during the plenary session on Monday morning.

I’m thrilled that the new Database is ready after working on this project for more than 2 years. I’m also thrilled with the many exciting sessions on the program that will help you stay informed about the most pressing issues facing the specialty. Recent discussions surrounding the ISCHEMIA trial have led to a fierce debate about how to best treat patients with severe but stable angina. We’ll explore what cardiothoracic surgeons need to know in the Adult Cardiac: Ischemic session on Monday afternoon. I’m also looking forward to illuminating sessions on transcatheter aortic valve replacement in low-risk patients, machine learning in the prediction of cardiothoracic surgery outcomes, and lymphatic intervention after congenital heart surgery.

We’ll extend the conversations about some of these hot topics in one of the Exhibit Hall theaters. On Tuesday, you can take part in discussions on “Recent Clinical Trials and Their Impact on You” and “Training the Thoracic Surgeon.” 

You won’t want to miss these discussions or sessions that we’ve developed in conjunction with other organizations from around the world, including “Controversies in Thoracic Organ Failure” with ISHLT, “Surgery for Advanced Stage Cancer—When Is Out of Bounds Not Out of Bounds?” with CATS, and “Bicuspid Aortic Valve Repair with Aortic Root Aneurysm—Techniques and Outcomes” with EACTS.

I would like to thank Dr. David Cooke, chair of the STS Workforce on Annual Meeting, as well as the entire Program Committee and the STS staff, for putting together a meeting that I hope will educate us, motivate us, and remind us that it’s all about the patient. 

Thank you again for being here. I look forward to spending time with you in the coming days. 

Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA
STS President