The thoracic 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 thoracic 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.