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What is a Cardiothoracic Surgeon?

by icontrolmyhealth
Cardiothoracic Surgeon


A cardiothoracic surgeon is a medical doctor specializing in the surgical process of the heart, lungs, esophagus, and many other organs in the chest. A cardiothoracic surgeon or general thoracic surgeon deals with the disease in the chest; they are specialized in treating most organs and tissues found in a chest. This process can be include surgeries on the heart and connected major blood vessels, the lungs, and the trachea. Some thoracic surgeons may choose to focus on the surgeries of the heart, pericardium, and major blood vessels in the heart.

Types of Cardiothoracic Surgeons?

Cardiothoracic surgeons include those lists of surgeons called cardiac surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, and congenital heart surgeons. 

  • A cardiac surgeon is a medical doctor who has advanced education and training in performing surgery in the heart.
  • A cardiovascular surgeon can operate on your blood vessels or repair damage caused by disease or disorder of a cardiovascular system.
  • Congenital heart surgeon offers special care needed to fix congenital(existing at birth) and acquired heart problems in the children. This surgeon treats complex congenital heart defects in newborns, children, teenagers, and adults. 

Education required to be a Cardiothoracic Surgeon:

Those who want to become Cardiothoracic surgeons will need to complete their bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry. After passing the MCAT exams, four years of medical school must be completed, followed by five to seven years in general surgery residency.

Once surgery residency is finished, an additional two to three years of cardiothoracic surgery is required. It is important to note that the cardiothoracic surgery fellowship certificate is based on the surgeon’s number of surgeries, not on the time he spent in the program.

Some cardiothoracic surgeons choose to do additional training in a sub-specialized area, but this is optional except for congenital heart surgery, which also requires the completion of a one-year fellowship. The amount of education and training of all Cardiothoracic surgeons will take at least 15 years of their life. For those going to a particular heart surgery specialty, it can take almost 20 years of their lives to complete.

The disease that treated by Cardiothoracic Surgeon:

A Cardiothoracic Surgeon will treat the disease that occurs in the organs inside the chest cavity, in the bony structure, and tissues that form inside the chest cavity.

Some examples of the disease that cardiothoracic surgeons can treat are listed below:

A cardiac or cardiovascular surgeon could treat:

  • Blockage in the heart valves
  • Leakage in the heart valves
  • Coronary artery disease or blockage of arteries in the heart
  • Aneurysms of large arteries in the chest 
  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart failure

A congenital heart surgeon could treat the following disease:

  • Atrial septal defects
  • Central sepal defects
  • Hypoplastic left or right heart syndrome
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Coarctation of the aorta

A general thoracic surgeon could treat the following disease:

  • Severe emphysema
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Hiatal hernias
  • Lunge cancer
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Swallowing disorders such as achalasia

Procedures and Surgeries performed by Cardiothoracic Surgeon:

The cardiothoracic surgeon performs a wide range of procedures and surgeries. Some of the most common include:

  • Maze procedure
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting(CABG).’
  • Congenital heart surgeries
  • Heart valve repair and replacement procedure
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy surgery or heart enlargement surgery
  • Heart transplant
  • Device implantation 

Skills that must have in Cardiothoracic Surgeon:

Some of the following skills that must have in a Cardiothoracic Surgeon:

  • Excellent communication skills to manage a wide range of relationships with colleagues, patients, and families.
  • Teamwork capacity to work with multidisciplinary teams
  • Emotional resilience, A Cardiothoracic Surgeon must have enough ability to work under pressure.
  • Diagnostic skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • The Cardiothoracic Surgeon mushave first-class time and resource management for the patient’s benefit.
  • Excellent in hand-eye cooperation
  • Have good physical stamina to cope with the demands of surgery
  • Expert in his job
  • Responsible at working place

How does a Cardiothoracic Surgeon differ from a cardiologist?

A cardiologist will primarily diagnose the disorder of the heart and treat them with medication that is required for a particular disease. A Cardiologist also performs the intervention of the arteries in the heart and through puncture wounds in the groin, but they do not perform open surgery.

Instead of that, a pulmonologist will diagnose the disorders of the lungs and treat them with specific medication. Some pulmonologists will perform the intervention through the airway. However, pulmonologists do not perform open surgery.

Life of the Cardiothoracic Surgeon:

Being a Cardiothoracic Surgeon means getting immediate and life-changing results from your work, but your role in this field is highly demanding. The diseases in a person’s chest are common killers, and you have to manage life and death scenarios daily.

Cardiothoracic surgery is a recently introduced procedure that increases rapidly by adding new technologies in the medical world.

Before the surgery, the surgeon will have to meet the patients and their families to discuss and explain the surgery procedure and offer reassurance. Understanding others’ emotions with a good heart is another success of a doctor’s role.

The main areas of cardiothoracic surgery are:

  • Cardiac surgery
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Congenital cardiac surgery
  • Heart and lung transplant surgery

Monitoring your patients with intensive care during and after surgery is vital for your work. Although Cardiothoracic Surgery is safe, you are always ready to deal with the complication. A Cardiothoracic Surgeon will always have to prepare to deal with the conditions including arrhythmias( heart-beat irregularity), stroke, post-operative bleeding, wound infection, pleural effusion(fluid around the lungs), or thrombosis during his surgery.

As a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, the doctor must have enough excellent abilities to treat and manage many different conditions. They also need to attend the outpatient clinics, multidisciplinary team meetings, and ward rounds. 

Benefits of being a Cardiothoracic Surgeon:

Though the job of the Cardiothoracic Surgeon is challenging enough, they enjoyed the benefits of their job as well:

  • It is a flexible and part-time working job.
  • It gives you a high income even in the early years of your career. The average salary of a cardiothoracic surgeon in the United States is around 255,110 dollars per year.
  • You can work anywhere in the world independently.
  • Have an excellent pension scheme.
  • Discounts in shops and restaurants.
  • Have a good holiday entitlement.

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