January 27-28

STS 2018 Begins

Richard L. Prager, MD

Welcome to the STS 54th Annual Meeting! I am thrilled to welcome you to Fort Lauderdale for this preeminent educational event in cardiothoracic surgery.

The STS Annual Meeting will be packed with interactive learning on hot topics. Over the next 5 days, you’ll experience thought-provoking lectures from renowned faculty and guests, exciting hands-on learning, an abundance of networking opportunities, and a chance to view the latest products and services in the specialty.

A number of sessions will feature perspectives from international experts. A Monday session from STS, the Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons, and the Canadian Society of Cardiac Surgeons will provide information on the management of airway injuries post-esophagectomy, management of N2 disease in non-small cell lung cancer, and much more. Also on Monday, surgeons at the International Symposium will explain their treatment approaches, challenges, and ethical dilemmas related to dealing with infectious heart diseases in young adults—especially in light of the current opioid epidemic.

On Tuesday, the Society will team up with the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery in a session on the treatment options available for bicuspid aortic valve disease associated with pure aortic valve insufficiency and root dilation. In the afternoon, STS will partner with the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation in a new session on contemporary experience with left ventricular assist device therapy around the globe. STS also will join with the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons to discuss controversial issues in general thoracic surgery, including surgical management of pulmonary metastases, management of malignant pleural mesothelioma, surgery in small cell lung cancer, and chest wall tumors.

In addition to collaborative sessions with international participants highlighted above, special presentations with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the American College of Chest Physicians, the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiology, and the Society for Vascular Surgery also are part of the program.

A new session on Monday will tackle the topic of diversity and inclusion in cardiothoracic surgery. Speakers will discuss how a diverse cardiothoracic surgery workforce can improve patient outcomes through increasing cultural competency and mitigating unconscious provider bias. Please make plans to attend this important session.

I also am very pleased about the three outstanding guest speakers at the General Session on Tuesday morning. Not one, but two speakers have been chosen for this year’s Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture. John Ayanian will deliver “Health Care Reform: Why It’s Still Needed and Where It’s Headed.” He is the Director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan. Karen Joynt Maddox will present “The Future of Payment Reform in Medicare.” She is a practicing cardiologist at Washington University in St. Louis who has served as a health policy advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services. Following the two presentations, Keith Naunheim, Dave Shahian, Alan Speir, and I will participate in a panel discussion on health care reform.

The C. Walton Lillehei lecturer will be Laura J. Snyder, a historian, philosopher, and writer. Her talk, “The Philosophical Breakfast Club and the Invention of the Modern Scientist,” will describe how a group of thinkers at Cambridge University in the early 19th century introduced four major principles into scientific inquiry and, as a result, transformed medical science.

A full listing of presentations is available in your Program Guide, a publication that you will find invaluable for planning your schedule. New this year, the scientific abstract information is available in an e-only Abstract Book (sts.org/abstractbook) and in the STS Meetings app (sts.org/mobileapp).

On behalf of the Society’s leadership, thank you for joining us here in Fort Lauderdale. Welcome to the meeting!

Richard L. Prager, MD
STS President

Get the Most Out of the Annual Meeting

Kevin D. Accola, MD asks a question during the 2017 Annual Meeting.

Whether it’s your first time attending the STS Annual Meeting or your 20th, making the most of your time in Fort Lauderdale will require planning and a good dose of flexibility. Three veteran meeting attendees share their best advice to help you maximize your experience.

Download the App
“Planning your schedule at the meeting can be a challenge,” said Robbin G. Cohen, MD, MMM, Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “It’s true that you have to juggle in order to see the things that interest you, and you can’t always attend everything you want to.”

If you haven’t already, download the STS Meetings app, available at sts.org/mobileapp, to help you stay on schedule. You can save sessions and presentations to your personal itinerary, then set alerts so that you’re reminded when they’re about to begin. You also can use the app to read scientific abstracts and take notes during presentations.

Get a Well-Rounded Experience
While many Annual Meeting sessions offer in-depth science, technology, and hands-on learning, others address the practice management side of cardiothoracic surgery. These sessions include the Practice Management Summit (Sunday), Diversity and Inclusion in Cardiothoracic Surgery: What’s In It for Me? (Monday), and The Importance of Physician Documentation in Reimbursement (Monday).

Kevin D. Accola, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cardiovascular Surgeons PA in Orlando, encourages his colleagues to attend the STS Key Contacts session on Monday and the Health Policy Forum on Tuesday so that they are prepared to advocate for the specialty.

“It’s essential that cardiothoracic surgeons and others in our field become knowledgeable about changes in our health care system, as they impact our daily practice,” he said.

Dr. Accola also strongly encourages attendees to participate during sessions, whether it’s during the Q&A portion of a session or via polling software available in select sessions. “The discussion opportunities are very informal and provide ample opportunity for further interaction and exchange of new ideas,” he said.

Visit the Exhibit Hall
In addition to offering insightful information about Annual Meeting sessions, this issue of the STS Meeting Bulletin offers a map of the Exhibit Hall and descriptions about what companies are offering at their booths.

“I frequently find a new instrument or idea that I hadn’t thought of,” said Dr. Cohen. “Visiting the Exhibit Hall also helps you establish relationships with salespeople and their managers who might be good resources in the future.”

The Society has a booth in the Exhibit Hall (#807) where attendees can learn about everything STS, such as membership, The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, STS-PAC, and the STS National Database.

Data managers and surgeons participating in the STS National Database should take time to visit the STS Regional Data Managers booth (#1112). “It’s a great way to find out what’s going on around the country and how to become more involved with local efforts,” said Syma Prince, RN, BSN, AACC, Director of Cardiovascular Outcomes at HCA North Texas in Dallas. “These regional initiatives are where some of the strongest networks are built.”

Build Your Network
Networking is an essential component of the Annual Meeting experience.

“People I’ve met at the Annual Meeting have remained mentors throughout my career and become close friends,” Dr. Accola said.

Dr. Cohen agreed. “I would advise new and young members to not be shy about attending social events and approaching even the most famous members in our field,” he said. “I think STS is a really inclusive organization that is welcoming of young talent.”

One of the highlights of the meeting is the President’s Reception, which will be held on Sunday evening at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. The event allows attendees to connect with leaders in cardiothoracic surgery in a picturesque, informal setting. It’s not too late to purchase a ticket; you can do so at Registration on the first floor.

On the other evenings, industry-sponsored satellite activities feature expert talks and oftentimes a free meal.

“Many surgeons have been invited to industry dinners in advance by their local reps,” Dr. Cohen said. “These can be another good way to learn about new technology in development.”

Recharge Your Batteries
Relaxing in your hotel room with room service can be a refreshing option after days filled with learning and socializing.

“The meeting can be a lot to take in. There’s nothing wrong with getting in some downtime so that you’re ready to go tomorrow,” Prince advised. 

Changing Patient Population Drives Critical Care Symposium

The definition of a “traditional” cardiothoracic surgery patient is evolving. As patients become older and more frail, the strategies to ensure good outcomes and handle issues that arise postoperatively are changing.

“Clinicians need to be up-to-date on the elements of care for these patients, who are more complex and have more comorbidities,” said moderator Rakesh C. Arora, MD, of the University of Manitoba and St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Canada.

STS/AATS Critical Care Symposium: When Things Go Wrong in the CTICU and What to Do About It

Sunday, January 28
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Floridian Ballroom D

This year’s STS/AATS Critical Care Symposium will help members of the entire cardiothoracic surgery team do just that. Categorized into three sessions, the topics discussed at the Symposium will cover how to make things go right, what to do when things go wrong, and handling end-of-life decisions.

“How to make things go right” includes good communication and using checklists, especially when patients transition to different members of the health care team.

Rakesh C. Arora, MD

Moderator Michael S. Firstenberg, MD, of Summa Akron City Hospital in Ohio, noted that checklists help to ensure that all clinicians involved in a patient’s care are on the same page about major issues. “This seems to be a painfully obvious way to reduce morbidity and mortality, but there has been some resistance, most likely because people are not sure how to implement the process,” he added.

The “when things go wrong” portion of the Symposium will emphasize both the practical and ethical aspects of managing challenging situations. “Clinicians tend to focus on the positive experiences, but we all know that there’s a certain reality where things don’t always go well,” Dr. Firstenberg said.

Failure to rescue has been strongly tied to variations in mortality, and studies suggest that systems-level interventions may improve the quality of care. “The literature in cardiothoracic surgery and other high-risk settings has shown that bad outcomes are rarely the result of one individual,” said Dr. Firstenberg. “How can we make sure things will go well? You need an integrated, predictable process. It’s this kind of process that gives you an orchestra, rather than just a group of musicians playing their instruments.”

Dr. Arora noted that another issue to consider, given the changing patient population, is long-term outcomes. “What happens when older patients leave the hospital and go home? Are they surviving? Or are they thriving?”

Advances in technology have been helpful in prolonging life, and high-cost innovations such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) are being used with increasing frequency; however, the use of ECMO is controversial.

“We’ll explore the moral and ethical aspects, as well as fiscal responsibility, in futile situations,” said Dr. Firstenberg. Following that discussion, two cardiothoracic surgeons will square off in a debate about whether ECMO-assisted CPR should be included as part of every cardiopulmonary arrest protocol.

“It’s the first time we’ve included a debate in this Symposium, and we’ll present case examples and ask for audience participation,” said Dr. Arora. “I’m excited about this new addition because attendees will gain perspectives that they can implement with their multidisciplinary teams when they get home.”

STS Staff Welcomes You to Fort Lauderdale

Rob Wynbrandt

On behalf of the Society’s staff, I join STS President Rich Prager in welcoming you to The Society of Thoracic Surgeons 54th Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As in the past, the Annual Meeting will provide you with a wide range of educational, networking, and social offerings.

Because there is so much to experience between Saturday and Wednesday, this STS Meeting Bulletin will help you keep track of what’s happening and provide up-to-date information about new sessions, meeting room locations, exhibitor descriptions, and much more.

Watch for the Monday and Tuesday/Wednesday editions of the Bulletin; the newspapers will be placed in bins throughout the convention center. Check the front page left-hand column in each issue for a quick summary and update of the day’s activities.

The Bulletin also provides a handy reference to the Exhibit Hall, which is an important component of the meeting experience. The Exhibit Hall is a great place to learn about new and improved technology and products, and it offers the perfect opportunity to see and meet with colleagues and friends. Surveys from past meetings show that the majority of attendees make a point of visiting with the exhibitors at least three times over the course of the meeting. The STS Exhibit Hall opens its doors at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, with a reception that runs through 6:30 p.m. Snacks and refreshments will be served throughout the Exhibit Hall.

While you’re there, I hope you will stop by the STS booth (#807). Staff members will be there, eager to talk with you about—and provide updates on—all things STS. Be sure to ask about plans to upgrade and expand the STS National Database—including the new STS Intermacs Database component for mechanical circulatory support device procedures, our public reporting initiatives, exciting developments from the STS Research Center, and upcoming educational programs.

You also will want to take a moment and talk with the STS Government Relations staff, who can bring you up to date on the Society’s many efforts on Capitol Hill. From coding and reimbursement issues to the future of health care reform legislation and regulation, STS continues to champion the specialty in Washington. Stop by and learn more. There’s a lot going on—and you’ll want to understand the implications for your practice.

If you are not already an STS member, please stop by the STS booth and learn about the many membership benefits we have to offer, including a complimentary subscription to The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. Those attendees who are not cardiothoracic surgeons—i.e., other physicians, CT surgery and general surgery residents, medical students, and all allied health care professionals—should especially note that our rolling admission process for Candidate, Pre-Candidate, and Associate Membership allows for the prompt disposition of their STS membership applications, typically within a week or two, so that they can start enjoying the benefits of STS membership almost immediately. CT surgeon applications for Active and International Membership also are reviewed and approved by our Board of Directors three times per year, and those applications received by March 16 will be eligible for consideration when the Board next meets on April 29. Even if you already are an STS member, please pick up a membership packet for a colleague; you will be helping both your colleague and your Society.

All the scientific sessions at this 54th Annual Meeting, including the symposia, meet the experts sessions, breakout sessions, hands-on sessions, and invited talks, create a vast array of educational opportunities—more than any one person could ever attend onsite. Fortunately, the STS 54th Annual Meeting Online is included free with your Annual Meeting registration. This online product will allow you to catch those sessions you weren’t able to attend—and review all the sessions you did attend—in the comfort of your home or office throughout the year ahead.

In closing, please know that all of us on the staff are here to serve you. Look for the distinctive green STAFF ribbon on our name badges, and please don’t hesitate to let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.

Thank you for attending, and enjoy the meeting!

Rob Wynbrandt
STS Executive Director & General Counsel

New Session Focuses on Diversity in CT Surgery

Diversity and Inclusion in Cardiothoracic Surgery: What’s in it For Me?

Monday, January 29
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Floridian Ballroom B-C

Recognizing the growing diversity of cardiothoracic surgery patients and the population at large, the Society’s Special Ad Hoc Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion has designed a new session to address the role of diversity and inclusion in the cardiothoracic surgery workforce and explore why physicians who are underrepresented in medicine are important for the optimal delivery of cardiothoracic surgical care.

During the session, David A. Acosta, MD will explain how a diverse environment can improve health care outcomes, as well as an organization’s overall effectiveness and productivity. Dr. Acosta is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Following Dr. Acosta’s talk, a panel discussion will be held among Society leaders, a patient advocate, a medical student, a cardiothoracic surgery resident, and academic and community-based cardiothoracic surgeons. Initial results from a recent survey of US-based STS members will be presented, and questions from the audience will be encouraged. 

Video-Based Sessions Offer Dynamic Learning

Video-based learning is gaining momentum as a preferred learning medium across many disciplines, including cardiothoracic surgery. Instructional videos have proven to be better than textbooks for showing technical nuances of challenging operations. See how dynamic and effective video-based learning can be during three sessions on Sunday that will focus solely on videos within adult cardiac, general thoracic, and congenital heart surgery.

“Most meetings present a lot of data. The video presentations step away from the data and show you how to perform a typical operation,” said Gorav Ailawadi, MD, co-moderator of the adult cardiac session. “Attendees will get advice from experts on how to perform these operations quickly and safely.”

Adult Cardiac Surgery
In a daylong session, 24 videos will be shown in the categories of mitral/atrial fibrillation surgery, coronary artery disease, aortic valve/aortic surgery, and heart failure surgery.

“A lot of different topics will be covered, but the theme is to provide surgeons with something they can take back to their practices and institute immediately,” Dr. Ailawadi said.

In the first part of the session, videos will demonstrate challenging scenarios for mitral valve repairs, including patients with mitral annular calcification, rheumatic disease, and hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. Two of the videos will demonstrate a robotic repair and minimally invasive techniques to reposition the papillary muscles together, Dr. Ailawadi said.

“My Tube” Adult Cardiac How-To Video Session

Sunday, January 28
10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Grand Ballroom A-B

How-To Video Session: Tips and Tricks to Maximize Efficiency in Minimally Invasive General Thoracic Surgery

Sunday, January 28
1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Floridian Ballroom D

How-To Video Session: Technical Tips to Avoid Pitfalls and Simplify Congenital and Pediatric Cardiac Surgical Procedures

Sunday, January 28
1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Floridian Ballroom A

Another two videos will demonstrate techniques to close the left atrial appendage during cardiac surgery. One is effective surgical closure using sutures, while the other uses clips and devices to close the appendage, he said.

During the section on coronary artery disease, videos will show a coronary endarterectomy to remove plaque, minimally invasive and robotic approaches to coronary artery bypass grafting procedures, and robotic hybrid coronary revascularization.

Several presentations will feature aortic valve procedures, such as sutureless aortic valve replacement, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) through alternative approaches including the carotid and transcaval arteries, removing a dysfunctional TAVR valve, arch reconstruction, and dealing with abscesses in the aortic root.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) will be among the topics highlighted in presentations about treating heart failure. Videos will demonstrate how to maintain perfusion to the lower extremities and how to decompress the left ventricle. Other videos will demonstrate techniques for the use of short- and long-term LVADs, as well as the subcostal approach for a pump exchange and a non-sternotomy approach for implanting an LVAD.

Congenital and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
Twelve video presentations in a half-day session will explore Ebstein anomaly, systemic atrioventricular (AV) valve disease, complex biventricular repairs, and mechanical surgical support.

“We’ve focused the videos in categories that highlight the procedures that congenital heart surgeons face every day. We want to emphasize interaction between the presenters and the audience so that attendees have all their questions answered,” said co-moderator James S. Tweddell, MD.

Videos will highlight approaches for treating newborns with severe Ebstein anomaly, including surgery on the tricuspid valve to achieve a two-ventricle repair, as well as a conversion of single-ventricle palliation. Patient selection for the various approaches also will be explained.

The second group of presentations will explore repair options for the left side systemic AV valve. Videos will show the use of a CorMatrix cylinder valve in newborns and infants with mitral valve disease, the use of a Melody valve as a mitral valve replacement, and an AV repair for patients with single-ventricle anatomy, Dr. Tweddell said.

Complex biventricular repairs will be highlighted in three videos. The first will explain the use of a Nikaidoh procedure to achieve a two-ventricle repair in patients with complex transposition, he said. A second video will demonstrate biventricular repairs in patients with complex heterotaxy, and a third will show a double-switch procedure for patients with a congenitally corrected transposition.

The final group of presentations will examine mechanical surgical support options, including an ECMO simulation training program, how to identify treatment options for patients with heart failure with congenital heart disease, and how to manage the complex anatomic challenges seen in older Fontan patients, Dr. Tweddell said.

General Thoracic Surgery
Minimally invasive approaches for lobectomies, segmentectomies, and esophagectomies will be demonstrated in a series of general thoracic surgery video presentations. Other videos in the session will explain lean approaches to surgery and recovery, as well as novel techniques for finding nodules during procedures.

“This session is set up to help STS members engage in the process of higher quality, minimally invasive surgery. These videos are about better ways to do it and better ways to do it faster with higher quality and at lower cost,” said session moderator Robert J. Cerfolio, MD.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) and robotic approaches to lobectomies and segmentectomies will be shown. For esophagectomies, presenters will detail three approaches—robotic Ivor Lewis, transhiatal, and endoscopic.

“The robotic platform allows more patients to get a minimally invasive operation, but it comes down to the surgeon,” said Dr. Cerfolio. “If we can teach surgeons how to perform really good surgery with VATS, they don’t need a robot. If you have a robot, you can do it without VATS. We want high-quality surgery either way. We want them to do it with a robot or VATS, not an open technique.”

The one non-technical presentation in the session will be “Lean and Efficient Surgery and Recovery: A Systems Approach.” Lean systems can be used to reduce variables by optimizing processes supporting surgeries, from developing a surgery team to setting up the operating room.

“Reducing variables reduces costs and increases quality. That improves value,” Dr. Cerfolio said. “The goal of this session is to show via video what quality surgery looks like. As in sports, everything is on the videotape. All of your mistakes and all of your victories are videotaped and can be broken down and assessed. That is true for surgery.” 

Session Explores Primary Causes of Sudden Cardiac Death

Although relatively infrequent, the two primary causes of sudden cardiac death—hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery (AAOCA)—can be difficult to manage. Surgeons often have difficulty mastering reproducible techniques that maximize benefits and minimize risk.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Symposium: Surgical Management of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and Anomalous Aortic Origin of a Coronary Artery in Children and Adults

Sunday, January 28
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Floridian Ballroom B-C

The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Symposium will focus on these two challenging conditions through invited lectures, a panel discussion, and questions from attendees.

“Our goal is for the Symposium to be of interest to a broad audience,” said Stephanie M. Fuller, MD, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who is one of the Symposium moderators. “We tried to select diseases that cover the life span. These conditions are appealing to both adult cardiac surgeons and congenital heart surgeons.”


Surgical myectomy is the criterion standard for most patients with obstructive HCM and drug-refractory symptoms. “A question for many surgeons is how to do an adequate myectomy to relieve obstruction, especially when left ventricular outflow tract obstruction is present,” said James S. Tweddell, MD, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, who is another Symposium moderator.

Although it’s rare, Dr. Tweddell said an individual with HCM may have a resting diastolic defect with no obstruction. “For these patients, we need to determine the role of cavity enlargement,” he said.

Experts on myectomy will describe different surgical techniques, including basal septal myectomy, the transventricular approach for midventricular obstruction, and cavity enlargement using an apical approach for nonobstructive HCM.

Added to the challenges of surgery is identifying individuals who are high risk for conventional surgery. “Alcohol ablation is an option for high-risk patients, but the outcomes are less predictable. Surgeons must understand risk stratification and appropriate referral for ablation,” explained Dr. Tweddell.


AAOCA is increasingly being recognized, primarily because of better detection by echocardiography. But the optimal management of individuals with AAOCA is controversial, leaving many surgeons uncertain of the best way to manage the condition.

“If the patient is asymptomatic, what do you do? AAOCA often occurs in teenagers, a particularly challenging group of patients because of the high risk of sudden cardiac death, which is so tragic,” said Dr. Tweddell. “Do you let teenagers with this condition play sports? How do you identify the condition in advance, and what is the best management strategy?”

Experts will try to answer these questions by offering information on imaging and nomenclature, different management approaches for adults and children, surgical unroofing, the current role of bypass grafting, and when it’s best to operate on the anomalous right coronary artery.

Learn How to Navigate the Paradigm Shift in Health Care

Changes in technology and business practices have transformed the delivery of health care. This year’s Practice Management Summit will arm cardiothoracic surgeons with the information that they need to succeed in this evolving environment. 

One of the greatest changes over the past 10 to 15 years is the decreasing number of cardiothoracic surgeons in private practice, with most cardiothoracic surgeons now employed by or affiliated with a hospital system.

Practice Management Summit

Sunday, January 28
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Rooms 304-305

“Our specialty is very hospital-based, primarily because we are involved with major operations and use expensive equipment. Increasing overhead costs and changes in reimbursement have made it difficult for cardiothoracic surgeons to be in private practice,” said moderator Frank L. Fazzalari, MD, MBA, Chair of the STS Workforce on Practice Management.

A panel of experts on the business aspects of cardiothoracic surgery will help attendees better position themselves for success, whether they are self-employed or hospital-employed. Discussions about contracts will include perspectives from both the employee and employer perspectives. Information also will be presented on fair market value compensation for cardiothoracic surgeons in the United States.

“This information is very important for surgeons who are negotiating employment contracts,” said Dr. Fazzalari.

Experts also will discuss professional opportunities for cardiothoracic surgeons at the corporate level, how health care providers can cope with uncertainty and unexpected surprises, and how organizations can be designed to be more reliable and resilient. “Our presenters are at the leading edge of changes in the clinical and financial aspects of cardiothoracic surgery,” Dr. Fazzalari said, noting the Summit’s important benefit of speaker-attendee interaction. “We’ll have plenty of time for discussion, so attending the Summit will be a great way to have your questions answered.”

Experts Explore Innovations in Multidisciplinary Care

Collaboration among members of the multidisciplinary health care team has never been more important. And while allied health professionals have made significant contributions to performance improvement and research, forums to discuss these findings have been limited.

Multidisciplinary Innovations in Cardiothoracic Patient Care

Sunday, January 28
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Room 316

The goal of the Multidisciplinary Innovations in Cardiothoracic Patient Care session is for attendees to leave with specific strategies for implementing innovative patient care approaches that foster improved outcomes and efficient care delivery.

“This session is a tremendous opportunity for allied health professionals worldwide to come together, network, and share innovative best practices,” said Jill Ley, RN, MS, of the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, a moderator of the session.

The first presentations will focus on key lessons from centers demonstrating exceptional outcomes for patients treated with transcatheter aortic valve replacement, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), or long-term ventricular assist device (VAD) support. The care of these patients is complex and challenging, and speakers will offer advice on developing these programs.

Burnout among health care professionals is high, especially among those in the cardiothoracic surgery setting. It can have devastating effects on both health care professionals as well as patients, so strategies to combat this problem will be discussed.

“Burnout is more prevalent in health care workers than ever before—especially in those caring for the critically ill—and is associated with deleterious effects such as decreased quality of care, patient satisfaction, and staff retention rates,” said Mary Zellinger, RN, MS, of Emory University in Atlanta, who will discuss this topic. “Increasing awareness and identifying potential interventions will contribute to restoring the health and well-being of all members of the interprofessional team, as well as improve outcomes for our patients.”

The session also will feature an international perspective on optimizing patient safety throughout the continuum of care. Speakers from the Netherlands and United Kingdom will share information on negative pressure wound therapy, as well as how medical and nursing innovations can contribute to patient outcomes.

Following the invited lectures will be the presentation of five scientific abstracts. The topics include a nurse-driven protocol for ECMO support, using a VAD with a total artificial heart in a child, the impact of an enhanced recovery program on postoperative narcotics use, the effect of frailty and age on outcomes in cardiac surgery, and a mechanical circulatory support program at a children’s hospital.

“We are extremely excited to offer this new, comprehensive session designed specifically for multidisciplinary team members,” said Ley. “We look forward to a lively session.”

Mingle Oceanside at the President’s Reception

Network with STS surgeon leaders and fellow meeting attendees at the President’s Reception on Sunday evening. This high-profile event will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on an oceanfront terrace at the luxurious Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. While a tropical-themed band plays in the background, enjoy gourmet food stations and an open bar. Colorful tropical birds will be on hand to help set the mood. This reception takes the place of the STS Social Event, which previously had been held on Monday evening, leaving the night open for industry-sponsored events or socializing with your colleagues. Tickets can be purchased at Registration for $95, subject to availability. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with leaders in cardiothoracic surgery in a picturesque, informal setting.