January 26

Welcome to STS 2019

I am thrilled that you’ve joined us in San Diego for the Society’s 55th Annual Meeting, and I hope you are ready for a meeting that is packed with interactive learning, thought-provoking lectures, hands-on sessions, an abundance of networking opportunities, and a chance to view the latest products and services in the specialty.

Keith S. Naunheim, MD

Keith S. Naunheim, MD

We have reconfigured the traditional meeting schedule to provide you with all the experiences that you’ve come to expect, while also decreasing the days you’re away from the office and your patients.

The meeting will kick off on Sunday morning with STS University, followed by an opening plenary session featuring the J. Maxwell Chamberlain Memorial Papers and the Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture. I’ll give my Presidential Address on Monday morning, and Tuesday’s schedule will include the C. Walton Lillehei Lecture.

Keynote Lectures
I am very pleased to welcome two outstanding keynote speakers this year. For the Ferguson Lecture, Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, President and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, will discuss advances in cancer immunotherapy. The Lillehei lecturer will be Eric Topol, MD, Director and Founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California. His talk, “High-Performance Medicine: The Convergence of Artificial Intelligence and Health Care,” will review the progress made toward AI integration into health care, where things are heading, and potential liabilities and obstacles.

International Expertise
Over the next few days, we will be spending a lot of time with our cardiothoracic surgery colleagues from across the globe, sharing a unique camaraderie and discussing our experiences. In addition, the Society has planned a number of exciting joint sessions with international medical societies that I hope you will find intriguing and rewarding. 

A Sunday session by STS, the Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons, and the Canadian Society of Cardiac Surgeons will review trends in the utilization of minimally invasive surgical techniques for anatomic pulmonary resection, including both video-assisted thoracoscopic and robotic surgery.

On Monday, the Society will team up with the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery in a session that will focus on alternatives to the standard classic repair for DeBakey type I aortic dissection. Experts will discuss the outcomes of innovative extended arch repair techniques, including the distal aortic frozen elephant trunk, novel branched arch endografts, and valve retention root reconstructive surgery. At the same time, STS will join the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons to explore controversial issues in general thoracic surgery, including invasive staging in early stage lung cancer, multimodal approaches for the treatment of stage IIIAN2 lung cancer, and the use of induction therapy in patients with T2N0 esophageal cancer.

Also on Monday, STS and the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation will hold a symposium looking at how ventricular assist devices are utilized in European and Asian populations, as well as the latest innovations in univentricular and biventricular support.

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

Hot Topics in the Field
Chaired by Richard Lee, MD, the Workforce on Annual Meeting and its related task forces worked hard to help ensure that each day of the meeting includes hot topics and information that you can put into practice as soon as you return home.

Among them is a session on Monday that will look at diversity and inclusion in cardiothoracic surgery. Joan Reede, MD, MPH, MBA, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School in Boston, will discuss the value of diversity and inclusion for your practice, service line, and community relationships. A session organized by Women in Thoracic Surgery on Sunday also will examine the issue of inclusion in the specialty, specifically through the lens of how our unconscious biases can affect the recruitment and retention of surgeons in our field, as well as our relationships with colleagues and patients.

Additionally, several abstracts and invited lectures highlight pain management strategies, including enhanced recovery after surgery protocols and opioid prescribing patterns by cardiothoracic surgeons. Our specialty needs to face the opioid issue head on so that we can get ahead of the problem and help prevent further tragedies, so please attend these important presentations.

Download the Mobile App
Your most valuable resource at the meeting this year is the STS Meetings app; printed programs are no longer provided. With the app, you can save favorite sessions/presentations to your custom itinerary, read scientific abstracts, and more. If you haven’t done so already, download it now by searching for “STS Meetings” in the Apple iOS App Store or Google Play Store. You also can scan the QR code on page 16 of this newspaper. 

On behalf of the Society’s leadership, thank you for being here. 

Keith S. Naunheim, MD
STS President

Chamberlain Papers Will Be Presented at Sunday Plenary

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) outcomes, the influence of regionalization on outcomes after pulmonary resection, and long-term survival differences between arterial and atrial switch procedures are the focuses of this year’s prestigious J. Maxwell Chamberlain Memorial Papers. These papers will be presented during the new Sunday opening plenary session. 

J. Maxwell Chamberlain Memorial Papers

Sunday

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Ballroom 20

SAVR Volume May Predict TAVR Outcomes
Hospital surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) volume alone appears to be an independent predictor of mid-term TAVR outcomes—specifically, the lower a hospital’s SAVR volume, the higher the mortality after TAVR.

Sameer A. Hirji, MD

Sameer A. Hirji, MD

“We found that unadjusted and adjusted mortality at 30 days and 90 days after TAVR were much higher in low-volume SAVR centers versus high-volume SAVR centers,” said Sameer A. Hirji, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Hirji will present the Chamberlain Paper for Adult Cardiac Surgery. Low-volume was defined as centers performing 10-99 SAVR cases a year; high-volume was defined as centers performing at least 200 SAVR cases a year.

There has been a significant paradigm shift in the management of patients with symptomatic aortic stenosis and, correspondingly, a remarkable growth in the utilization of TAVR technologies. This is in part due to accumulating operator experience, innovations in valve design and technology, and improvements in patient selection, Dr. Hirji said. 

As a result, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is re-examining its national coverage determination (NCD) for TAVR, which was released in 2012. This past July, STS was among the four medical specialty societies that provided information on minimum procedure volume requirements during a Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee meeting. CMS is expected to unveil its updated TAVR NCD later this year.  

“Our study provides useful data that will help inform physicians, patients, and CMS policymakers as we all seek to further improve patient mortality and morbidity following TAVR,” added Tsuyoshi Kaneko, MD, also of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who was senior principal investigator of the study.

Thoracic Surgery Regionalization Improves Outcomes
Not only is it possible to boost regionalization in US health care systems, but doing so can make a measurable, positive difference in patient outcomes following major pulmonary resection, according to the Chamberlain Paper for General Thoracic Surgery. 

Sora Ely, MD

Sora Ely, MD

The current literature on the volume-outcome relationship in major pulmonary resection for lung cancer is mixed and inconclusive. Additionally, many of the existing studies are based on data following centralization within national, single-payer systems, according to lead author Sora Ely, MD, of the University of California San Francisco East Bay Surgery Program in Oakland.

“We needed to examine whether similar changes to increase regionalization were possible in US systems and whether the improvement in results could be reproduced,” Dr. Ely said. 

The researchers found that regionalization:

  • More than tripled annual site volume and nearly doubled surgeon volume
  • Dramatically increased video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) utilization and decreased intensive care unit utilization
  • Improved outcomes, with significant reductions in length of stay and complication rates

While the average VATS lobectomy operative time significantly decreased, average open lobectomy operative time significantly increased. 

“Although this finding initially surprised us, we believe that these changes together represent a maximization of safe VATS utilization, such that only the most difficult cases were performed using the open approach,” said Dr. Ely. “Our study’s regionalization process may be used as a model for implementation in other health care networks.”

Arterial Switch Trumps Atrial Switch for Long-Term Survival
Patients with transposition of the great arteries (TGA) who underwent either Mustard or Senning atrial switch repairs have a higher risk of premature death after 30 years than TGA patients treated with the Jatene arterial switch procedure.

Paul J. Devlin, MD

Paul J. Devlin, MD

The Chamberlain Paper for Congenital Heart Surgery presents findings from the Congenital Heart Surgeon’s Society (CHSS) TGA patient cohort, which was assembled during a unique period (1985-1989) when there was equipoise between the traditional Mustard and Senning atrial switch procedures and the newer Jatene arterial switch procedure. 

Today, the Jatene arterial switch procedure is the preferred surgery for TGA, but many adults who were treated with one of the atrial switch procedures are still alive.

“In addition to analyzing the long-term survival of these patients, we assessed patients’ perceptions of their own functional health status—which was similar across all domains,” said lead author Paul J. Devlin, MD, of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.

To support important longitudinal studies such as this one, Dr. Devlin encouraged surgeons and cardiologists to follow-up with TGA-repaired patients and ensure that they are periodically meeting with an adult congenital heart disease specialist.

“It is important to closely monitor patients who have undergone one of the atrial switch procedures and reassess them for any changes in health status,” said Dr. Devlin. “Increasing surveillance of adults who have undergone TGA repair, especially the atrial switch patients, will ensure that they receive the care necessary to help alleviate their risk for premature death long after their initial repair.”

The Chamberlain Papers are considered by the Workforce on Annual Meeting Program Task Force to be among the best scientific abstracts submitted for the meeting. They honor the scientific contributions of Dr. Chamberlain, a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon who chaired the steering committee tasked with creating The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. 

Should Genome Editing Be Used on Embryos to Prevent Disease?

Editing genes in human embryos, even for research, has always been controversial. Although the scientific community has grappled over the ethics of gene modification, the technology for it has exploded with the invention of CRISPR, a genetic engineering tool that makes gene editing easier and more precise.

Ethics Debate: Bespoke Babies—Genome Editing in Cystic Fibrosis Embryos

Sunday

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Room 33

This advance in technology has placed genome editing on the threshold of clinical use, but there still are many unsettled questions as to its proper utilization and the underlying ethics. For example, should it be used to manipulate DNA in embryos and replace mutated genes that cause genetic diseases?

This is the question that experts will address during the Ethics Debate on Sunday afternoon, when they consider a patient who has cystic fibrosis and wants to have children who are free of the disease.

Thomas A. D’Amico, MD

Thomas A. D’Amico, MD

“This case focuses on cystic fibrosis, but I think that the discussion will go beyond just the specific disease component,” said Thomas A. D’Amico, MD, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, who will moderate the debate. “The technology of gene editing, with CRISPR becoming available, revolutionizes the management of diseases that have many components, several of which have relevancy to cardiothoracic surgeons.”

Kyle Brothers, MD, of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, will argue that cystic fibrosis genes should be replaced with normal genes in affected embryos, while Mary Devereaux, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego, will argue that cystic fibrosis genes should not be manipulated.

“Often, the Ethics Debate participants are cardiothoracic surgeons, but in this case, we were lucky enough to draw in experts from outside the field who are outstanding scientists and have strong track records on this topic,” said Dr. D’Amico.

The relevant benefits of gene editing include the ability to edit somatic cell mutations, so that if you had a specific disease with a specific mutation, it could potentially be changed with this technology. The debate will revolve around the ethics of how far to go and whether to perform germline editing, as well.

“The drawback, ethically, would be that we shouldn’t genetically manufacture human beings. That’s on ethically shaky ground. But most people would agree that gene editing will play a role in controlling diseases and improving health. The questions are: How far do we take it, and what are the ethical boundaries?” asked Dr. D’Amico.

This is the type of debate that cardiothoracic surgeons won’t hear in any other forum, Dr. D’Amico added.

“This is totally unique. No other courses will cover this in terms of the medical education that is involved. It’s an important CME opportunity about a topic that is cutting-edge and state-of-the-art,” he said. “I think it’s going to be one of the best debates we’ve ever had.”  

Ferguson Lecturer to Discuss Cancer Immunotherapy

Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture: Cancer Immunotherapy: The End of the Beginning

Sunday

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Ballroom 20

The first of the exciting keynote lectures at the STS Annual Meeting—the Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture on Sunday afternoon—will feature Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, who has made seminal discoveries in cancer immunology research, particularly in the fields of transcriptional regulation, lymphocyte differentiation, immunology, and osteobiology. She is President and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Principal Investigator and Director of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston, and the Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her address is titled “Cancer Immunotherapy: The End of the Beginning.”

Laurie H. Glimcher, MD

Laurie H. Glimcher, MD

Dr. Glimcher will discuss the history and current state of cancer therapy and present active areas of innovation such as cancer genomics, immunotherapy, epigenetics, and approaches to combination therapy. She also will provide her vision for the long-term future of cancer treatment and prevention, including efforts for earlier detection of minimal residual disease and relapse by measuring circulating tumor DNA and using machine learning/artificial intelligence.

The Ferguson lecture recognizes Thomas B. Ferguson, MD, a former editor of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and one of the few individuals to serve as President of both STS and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. 

VATS, Robotics in Greater Demand 

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is the most common approach to thoracic surgery in specialized centers, but robotics is rapidly being adopted. 

STS/CATS/CSCS: Innovative Techniques in Thoracic Surgery

Sunday

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Room 31AB

“Robotic thoracic procedures are exploding in popularity, representing the largest growing category within robotic surgery in the United States,” said Bernard J. Park, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. 

Trends in the use of minimally invasive surgical (MIS) techniques such as VATS and robotics for thoracic surgery will be reviewed Sunday during a collaborative session organized by STS, the Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons, and the Canadian Society of Cardiac Surgeons, with a focus on the benefits over open approaches and variation between robotic and non-robotic platforms. 

Bernard J. Park, MD

Bernard J. Park, MD

“There is a growing interest by both patients and practitioners to offer MIS approaches, when appropriate, for a wide range of general thoracic procedures, as these strategies can reduce surgical trauma and enhance recovery while maintaining quality outcomes,” said Dr. Park, who is co-moderating the session. “It is the duty of thoracic surgical leadership worldwide to develop the appropriate data-driven approaches.”

The session will review the use of MIS approaches for anatomic lung resection, including utilization across different types of practices and for different types of procedures (segmentectomy, lobectomy, and pneumonectomy).

The session also will explore the challenges that come with adopting this type of technology, including the additional cost for robotic surgery, said co-moderator Kazuhiro Yasufuku, MD, PhD, of the University of Toronto.

“There’s not only the cost of purchasing the robot, but also the instruments and the maintenance fee,” Dr. Yasufuku said. “The other issue may be hesitance for surgeons to adopt this new technology. The learning curve is steep compared to VATS.”

Dr. Park added that availability remains a challenge, with many practitioners either working in hospitals that lack a system or where there isn’t availability for thoracic surgery. He also pointed to credentialing, training, and oversight (proctoring) as other barriers to adopting robotics. 

But the benefits of robotics and VATS are worth the effort, according to Dr. Yasufuku, who said that both methods are less invasive for patients, resulting in less pain. Both offer shorter hospital stays, fewer complications, and less bleeding with the same oncological outcomes.

“Cardiothoracic surgeons need to be aware of what is coming and be ready for adopting these technologies into their practice,” Dr. Yasufuku said. 

Unconscious Biases Negatively Impact Relationships With Colleagues, Patients

Everyone has biases. But with increased awareness, you can “train” yourself out of bias and make informed decisions based on actual data. A session organized by Women in Thoracic Surgery (WTS) will provide attendees with the tools they need to do just that.

Unconscious Bias

Sunday

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Room 30ABCD

“Our biases can affect the recruitment and retention of surgeons in our field, our relationships with our colleagues, and our relationships with our patients—typically in a negative fashion,” said DuyKhanh P. Ceppa, MD, from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, who helped plan the session. “We must foster a more inclusive environment in order to thrive.”

She explained that biases in cardiothoracic surgery tend to impact women and minorities in particular.

“How many times have we been turned down by a patient for a more senior, male partner? How many times have we lost future referrals due to a known complication from surgery when a male colleague would not have suffered the same backlash?” asked Dr. Ceppa, adding that the published literature has noted similar trends as a result of biases based on race and age.

She said that particularly concerning is the fact that although medical school classes have consisted of about 50% women for the last 15-20 years, fewer than 10% of board-certified cardiothoracic surgeons are women. Last spring, STS and WTS collaborated on a survey assessing the prevalence of sexual harassment and gender bias in the specialty; more than 800 cardiothoracic surgeons responded, and the survey results will be presented during the session.

“Without giving too much away, the survey results confirm that the discipline of cardiothoracic surgery is a ‘chilly’ one toward women,” Dr. Ceppa said. “We need more women, as well as men who are cognizant of our field’s implicit biases, in leadership roles to fully address and correct this issue.”

The session also will include information on how mentors and sponsors can play key roles in breaking down biases that exist in the specialty.

“We hope that attendees will come out of the session with a greater awareness of their own biases and an understanding that they can overcome their biases with deliberate practice,” Dr. Ceppa said. 

Staying Current Helps Drive Decisions During Critical Care Emergencies

As technology and patient acuity expand, cardiothoracic surgeons and their teams must understand how to use the latest pharmacologic and mechanical therapies for emergencies in the critical care setting.

Critical Care Symposium: Cutting-Edge Strategies for Cardiothoracic Critical Care Emergencies and Evolving Technologies

Sunday

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Room 32

Sunday’s Critical Care Symposium will provide attendees with methods and evidence-based protocols for the innovative management of multiple urgent scenarios. 

“We’ll focus on major issues that cardiothoracic surgeons have to deal with on an almost-daily basis,” said co-moderator Michael S. Firstenberg, MD, of The Medical Center of Aurora, CO. “Attendees will go home with a better understanding of the current literature, thinking, and science behind critical care challenges and of how to apply this new knowledge in their own decision-making.”

Michael S. Firstenberg, MD

Michael S. Firstenberg, MD

Among the emergencies presented will be unexpected cardiac arrest, for which outcomes have been poor. “Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is an option for patients with cardiac arrest that is refractory to resuscitative measures, and recent changes in its use call for a discussion of the indications and contraindications for extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR), as well as the identification of management protocols for venoarterial ECMO and ECPR,” said co-moderator Rita C. Milewski, MD, PhD, of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  Speakers will explore resuscitation of patients with difficult arterial and venous access sites for cannulation, strategies for left ventricular venting, and recovery versus transition to another platform.  

Additionally, respiratory emergencies with hemodynamic compromise often arise in the critical care setting and require cardiothoracic intervention and management. Recent studies, including the EOLIA trial, suggest that use of ECMO in certain subpopulations may offer clinical benefit to patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that does not respond to conventional care.  “A review of the data from these studies, as well as new guidelines, will provide attendees with an overview of evidence-based therapy for ARDS,” said Dr. Milewski. 

Another respiratory emergency, pulmonary embolism, has multiple therapeutic options available, including thrombolytic therapy, catheter-based interventions, and surgical embolectomy. “Pulmonary embolism can be encountered in a number of clinical situations, and the spectrum of local capability and clinical urgency guides the management,” said co-moderator Subhasis Chatterjee, MD, of Texas Heart Institute at CHI Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston.

More and more patients are taking anticoagulants, and an increasing number of anticoagulant agents are now available. Many physicians are uncertain of how to treat patients taking non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs), especially in the critical setting. Reversal of NOACs is another challenge, and new guidelines about managing bleeding patients who take anticoagulants recently were published.  

“Cardiothoracic surgeons should understand how to deal with the consequences of these drugs and use technology for monitoring and testing,” said Dr. Firstenberg. “Attendees will learn how to take a leadership role in managing anticoagulation dilemmas.”

Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss management conundrums at their own institutions.

“We’re pulled into these challenging situations whether we practice at academic hospitals or community hospitals,” said Dr. Firstenberg. “Major decisions are difficult regardless of where we practice.” 

Neonatal Surgical Techniques Influence Outcomes

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Symposium: Planning for the Future—Aortic Arch Anomalies and the Failing Fontan

Sunday

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Room 31AB

Thanks to major medical and surgical advances, 85%-90% of patients with congenital heart defects now survive into adulthood. Congenital and adult cardiac surgeons are learning more about long-term sequelae and how neonatal and childhood repairs can set up patients for long-term success or failure. 

“The details of the surgical technique during the primary repair of a congenital heart defect have big implications for a patient’s quality of life, even decades later,” said Jennifer S. Nelson, MD, MS, of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando. 

Jennifer S. Nelson, MD, MS

Jennifer S. Nelson, MD, MS

During the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Symposium, pediatric and adult cardiac surgeons from around the world will share successful techniques and methods that can optimize patient outcomes. 

Surgeons who treat aortic arch anomalies often must choose between multiple open and endovascular treatment options, and speakers will discuss the pros and cons of each. 

“As we learn more about late complications, we can look back to try and determine which operative strategies we might employ or change,” said Dr. Nelson, who will co-moderate the session. 

Another highlight of the session will be an update on chylothorax treatment. 

“Chylothorax is one of the biggest nuisance problems we encounter,” Dr. Nelson said. As a result, lymphodynamics is of increasing interest to congenital surgeons. One of the world’s experts in lymphodynamics will discuss new information about which patients should be considered for the treatment. 

This session also will include a review of liver imaging recommendations for Fontan patients, and experts will debate whether a heart/liver transplant or heart-only transplant is better for failing Fontan patients. 

“The number of young adult Fontan patients has grown tremendously, and the issue of single versus multi-organ transplant has become more important. This session will be extremely valuable in helping congenital surgeons plan for the future,” Dr. Nelson added. 

The Multidisciplinary Team: Collaborating to Improve Outcomes

The Multidisciplinary Team:
How We Do It

Sunday

7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Room 30E

A multidisciplinary team is key to improving clinical outcomes, reducing the length and cost of hospital stays, and enhancing communication among health care providers. As the movement toward collaborative care gains momentum, nonphysician health care providers are playing increasingly important roles on the cardiothoracic surgery team.  

Jill Engel, DNP, ACNP

Jill Engel, DNP, ACNP

Among them are advanced practice providers (APPs), who can help enhance the quality and efficiency of health care delivery, especially as treatment options expand, care becomes more complex, and patient acuity levels increase. As a result, it is crucial to train APPs so that they understand evidence-based care guidelines and are capable of autonomously providing advanced care in different settings.  

Models of care and training for cardiothoracic surgery APPs at Duke University in Durham, NC, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore will be shared at Sunday morning’s multidisciplinary team session.

“Attendees will learn about innovations and trends in institutions with significant experience, and they can then implement those concepts back home,” said co-moderator Stefano Schena, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins. 

 “At Duke University Hospital, APPs enhance care across the spectrum, including preoperative, OR, ICU, and step-down unit settings. As a result, we’ve had to create unique approaches to onboarding, precepting, and orientation of these crucial team members,” said co-moderator Jill Engel, DNP, ACNP, of Duke University Health System.

Implementing ERAS Protocols
Another relatively new trend in the care of cardiothoracic surgery patients involves enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols, which are multimodal, evidence-based, perioperative care plans. The cardiac surgery ERAS protocol includes evidence-based consensus on 23 recommendations, and the thoracic surgery protocol includes 18 such recommendations. 

Jill Ley, RN, MS

Jill Ley, RN, MS

Although these protocols are relatively new, studies have already shown that they significantly reduce length of stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, postoperative complications, and costs. However, putting an ERAS protocol into practice can be challenging.

“Implementing ERAS requires essential clinical experts, electronic health record analysts, and task-driven planning tools to effectively redesign workflows, beginning in the physician’s office,” said Jill Ley, RN, MS, of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. 

Ley and other speakers with ERAS experience will share work plans, milestone documents, provider engagement strategies, targeted patient education literature, and other tools that have proven successful in integrating ERAS into the organizational cultures at their institutions.

In addition to these invited lectures, scientific abstracts on interprofessional simulation, early recovery for coronary artery bypass grafting surgery, autologous blood donation, and other multidisciplinary topics are part of the program. 

STS Staff Welcomes You to San Diego

On behalf of the Society’s staff, I join STS President Keith Naunheim in welcoming you to The Society of Thoracic Surgeons 55th Annual Meeting and Exhibition in San Diego, California. As in the past, the Annual Meeting will provide you with a wide range of educational, networking, and social offerings.

Rob Wynbrandt

Rob Wynbrandt

Because there is so much to experience between Saturday and Tuesday, the 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.

And please watch for the Monday and Tuesday editions of the Bulletin; they 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, and we will be featuring both the Jeopardy Competition and the Poster Presentations in the Hall then – something for everybody.

While you’re there, I hope you will stop by the STS booth (#601). Staff members will be there, eager to talk with you about—and provide updates on—all things STS. Ask about the latest updates for the STS National Database, our public reporting initiatives, exciting developments from the STS Research Center, upcoming live educational programs on robotic surgery and thoracic endovascular aortic repair, and several recently released e-learning modules.

You also will want to take a moment and talk with the STS Government Relations staff, who can update you on the Society’s many efforts on Capitol Hill. From coding and reimbursement issues to the future of health care reform legislation in the new Congress, 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 25 will be eligible for consideration when the Board next meets on May 5. Even if you already are an STS member, please pick up a membership application for a colleague; you will be helping both your colleague and your Society.

All the scientific sessions at this 55th Annual Meeting, including the symposia, meet the experts 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 55th Annual Meeting Online is included with your Annual Meeting registration. This online product will allow you to catch those sessions you couldn’t 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 gold 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

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