Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency

Overview of the Program

The Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency Program at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is open at this time. It was established in 1988. The program consists of three residents, one per year, thus permitting the highest level of individualized attention and training. We offer a full range of cardiothoracic surgical services, provided by highly qualified, board certified surgeons. The surgeons in the division are not only experts in their surgical specialty, they are researchers exploring new and better ways to provide care.

During the first two years, the residents are able to meet the minimum requirement for board certification. The last year affords residents the opportunity to get advanced training in adult cardiac surgery and to specialize in one field of thoracic surgery, such as pediatric cardiac surgery, adult cardiac surgery or general thoracic surgery during a three month elective.

The members of our teaching staff bring to the program a wealth of practical and scholarly credentials. The presence of ongoing laboratory research activity provides an invigorating academic milieu.

Each resident is sponsored by the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery to attend one national conference a year, such as meetings conducted by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, The American Association of Thoracic Surgery or the American College of Surgeons.

Our residency program provides among the best clinical experiences in the country. Our objective is to exceed the minimum requirements by offering our residents a demanding but rewarding clinical and didactic experience. After completion of this three-year residency, the candidates are truly able to perform as independent practitioners of our specialty.

Accordion Content

  • The cardiothoracic surgery resident spends a total of eighteen months on the adult cardiac service (six months is during the first year).

    During the rotation on the Adult Cardiac Surgical service, the resident gains experience in pre-and post-operative care, as well as increasing amounts of intraoperative responsibility. Time is dedicated to understanding various aspects of diagnostic and therapeutic studies within the cardiac catheterization laboratory. In addition, the resident is taught to interpret echocardiograms and electrocardiograms and receives formal instruction in the use of the heart-lung machine, including actual participation in its application.

    The resident first acts as an assistant in cardiac surgical procedures and rapidly progresses to proficiency in putting patients on cardiopulmonary bypass and supervising removal from cardiopulmonary bypass. Within the first two weeks of training, the resident begins doing parts of cardiac procedures and within four weeks is responsible for the essential parts of many operations. During the rotations, it is expected that the resident will have no difficulty achieving satisfactory numbers of surgical cases.

    The chief resident is also responsible for the weekly Resident Teaching Conference along with the weekly Mortality and Morbidity Conference.

    During the chief's year, it is anticipated that the resident will assume full responsibility for running of the service and perform increasingly complex surgical procedures, including coronary artery bypass reoperation, aortic valve homograft replacements, mitral valve repairs and surgery for aneurysms of the thoracic aorta.

  • Four three-month rotations are devoted to the general thoracic surgical service at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in the first two years. The program is supported by a NCI designated Cancer Center, Regional Perinatal Center, a Radiology Therapy Unit and three MRI facilities. The educational mission is enhanced by weekly Thoracic Surgery/Radiology Conferences and the Mortality and Morbidity Conferences.

    On this service, the thoracic surgery resident carries out the initial evaluation of all in-patients and is responsible for their post-operative care. This service comprises the full range of general thoracic surgery, including esophageal surgery and pediatric general thoracic surgery. Early on the resident assumes responsibility as primary surgeon for general thoracic surgery cases commensurate with experience and technical ability. The resident is also afforded the opportunity to perform a number of flexible bronchoscopy examinations and to do flexible esophagoscopy, both under local anesthesia. During this period, instruction is provided in the intricacies of reading pulmonary function studies.

    Cases assigned to the resident are presented weekly at the aforementioned Thoracic Surgery/Radiology Conference. The resident also takes part in the Thoracic Surgery Radiology-Pulmonary Medicine Conference each week. On the fourth Friday of the month, this conference is dedicated to unusual cases presented by a pulmonary pathologist.

  • The resident spends three months at The Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina learning the intricacies of cardiac surgery of infants and children.

    The Pediatric experience will be provided by John S. Ikonomidis, MD, PhD, who will be the resident’s mentor. Dr. Ikonomidis is the Program Director and Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

    Dr. Ikonomidis heads a large Pediatric Cardiology Surgery Program with approximately 240-250 open-heart pediatric cardiac surgery cases. Residents will rotate for three months on his service. On this rotation, their responsibility is solely directed toward pediatric surgery and during this rotation they do not compete with the Medical University of South Carolina’s thoracic residents for cases.

  • During the third year, optional time is available for additional experience in congenital heart disease or in surgical treatment of heart failure, cardiac electrophysiology, and complex thoracic surgery as a three-month elective.

    Primary Teaching Hospital

    The primary clinical facility is the modern Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the major tertiary care referral facility in central New Jersey. The hospital features a Level I Trauma Center, one of only three in the state, a new cancer hospital which opened in 2002 and a free standing Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital.

Contact Us

Anthony Lemaire, MD
Program Director

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Cardiac Surgery

Alyssa Robinson
Residency Coordinator

Division of Cardiac Surgery