Welcome to the STS Blog!

The STS Blog offers a place for patients affected by heart, lung, and esophageal diseases to find the most current information related to cardiothoracic surgery.

The Blog will feature a wide variety of topics and discussions that address the questions most frequently asked by patients when they meet with cardiothoracic surgeons.

New blog entries will be added regularly, offering new topics and updated information.

Robbin G. Cohen, MD, MMM, Medical Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA, and Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Southern California, and other surgeon contributors will author the blog articles.

Robbin G. Cohen, MD, MMM
Blog Articles

Blog Articles

March 20, 2017/By Frederick L. Grover, MD
How the STS National Database Has Improved Your Patient Care

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) National Database was established more than 25 years ago as a tool to improve the quality of care for heart and lung surgery patients.

March 3, 2017/By Richard H. Feins, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgery Training Is Intense, But It Helps Patients

Cardiothoracic surgery requires some of the longest and most comprehensive training in all of medicine.

February 23, 2017/By Cynthia Herrington, MD
Heart Transplant in Young Patients Offers Gift of Life

It is February 14. I walk in to greet my 12-year-old patient and say, “Happy Valentine's Day! Your new heart is working just perfectly!” 

February 17, 2017/By Leah M. Backhus, MD, MPH, FACS
From Maximal to Minimal in Thoracic Surgery: Less is More…But Not Always

The earliest version of minimally invasive chest surgery (thoracic surgery) occurred more than 100 years ago.

January 31, 2017/By K. Robert Shen, MD
When Should I Have Surgery for GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease affecting the upper portion of the digestive tract.

January 27, 2017/By Robbin G. Cohen, MD, MMM
What You Should Know About Infections Related to Heater-Cooler Devices Used During Heart Surgery

If you have had heart surgery in the past few years, you may have recently received a letter from your hospital or heard other news stating that you could be at risk of developing a rare but potentially serious infection from a piece of equipment that was used during your operation.

January 16, 2017/By Robbin G. Cohen, MD, MMM
Choosing a Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Though you may not realize it at first, your cardiothoracic surgeon may have been chosen for you.

January 6, 2017/By Steve W. Guyton, MD, MHA, FACS
Should You Have a Stent or a Bypass Operation?
You’ve had a coronary angiogram that shows you have coronary artery disease (blockages or narrowing in the blood vessels that feed your heart muscle). Should you have a stent or a bypass operation?

December 12, 2016/By Lauren C. Kane, MD, FACS
Preparing Your Child for Heart Surgery
Has your child been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and surgery is recommended for repair of the defect? 

November 29, 2016/By Todd K. Rosengart, MD, FACS
The Evolution of the More ‘Patient-Friendly’ Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery
We are experiencing a great revolution in minimizing the invasiveness of heart surgery.

November 21, 2016/By Mara B. Antonoff, MD, FACS
Is Lung Cancer in Women Different Than Lung Cancer in Men?
When we think of cancer awareness and the diseases that impact women in this country, which malignancies first come to mind?

November 15, 2016/By Mara B. Antonoff, MD, FACS
Lung Cancer Prevention
Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the US.

November 9, 2016/By Mark S. Allen, MD
Understanding the Stages of Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer is cancer that is present in the esophagus — a long, hollow tube in your throat that moves food and drink from the mouth to the stomach.

October 26, 2016/By Emily A. Farkas, MD, FACS
STS Surgeons Improve Cardiac Surgical Care Around the World
It might not surprise you that during my career as a physician I’ve caused a few tolerant patients and families to think, “Where in the world is my surgeon?”

October 21, 2016/By James R. Edgerton, MD, FACC, FACS, FHRS
What You Need to Know About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (Afib) affects millions of Americans from every walk of life.

September 28, 2016/By Douglas E. Wood, MD, FACS, FRCSEd (ad hom)
Lung Cancer Screening
We are in a new era of lung cancer screening.

September 14, 2016/By Robbin G. Cohen, MD
Surgical or Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement: Which is Best for You?
The aortic valve functions as the gate between the heart and the body. 

August 29, 2016/By Robbin G. Cohen, MD
Comfort in Knowledge for Patients
Have you or a family member ever left a surgeon’s office feeling unsure about the details of an upcoming operation?


Featured Experts

Featured Experts

Frederick L. Grover, MD
Dr. Grover is a Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Past Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.


Richard H. Feins, MD
Dr. Feins is a Professor of Surgery and Medical Director of Perioperative Services at the University of North Carolina Hospitals.


Cynthia Herrington, MD
Dr. Herrington is a cardiothoracic surgeon specializing in congenital cardiac surgery and thoracic transplantation and an Associate Professor of Surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.


Leah M. Backhus, MD, MPH, FACS
Dr. Backhus is an associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University. She practices at Stanford Hospital and is Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the VA Palo Alto. Her surgical practice consists of general thoracic surgery with special emphasis on thoracic oncology and minimally invasive surgical techniques.


K. Robert Shen, MD
Dr. Shen is an Associate Professor and Consultant in the Division of General Thoracic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He treats patients with both benign, as well as malignant diseases of the esophagus, lung, chest wall, pleura, mediastinum, and airway. 


Steven W. Guyton, MD, MHA, FACS
Dr. Guyton is an adult cardiothoracic surgeon living in Seattle, Wash. He has served as president of the Western Thoracic Surgical Association as well as president of the Northwest Affiliate of the American Heart Association.


Lauren C. Kane, MD, FACS
Dr. Kane is a Congenital Heart Surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital and serves as Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Congenital Heart Surgery, at the Baylor College of Medicine.


Todd K. Rosengart, MD, FACS
Dr. Rosengart is a Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine and serves as Professor and Chairman of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine, as well as holds the DeBakey Bard Chair of Surgery.


Mara B. Antonoff, MD, FACS
Dr. Antonoff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.


Mark S. Allen, MD
Dr. Allen is a General Thoracic Surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and a professor of surgery at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.


Emily A. Farkas, MD, FACS
Dr. Farkas is a Cardiothoracic Surgeon at ThedaCare Appleton Heart Institute and serves on the Board of Trustees for the humanitarian organizations CardioStart International and VOOM Foundation.


James R. Edgerton, MD, FACC, FACS, FHRS
Dr. Edgerton is the co-director of the Atrial Fibrillation Center of Excellence at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.


Douglas E. Wood, MD, FACS, FRCSEd (ad hom)
Dr. Wood is a University of Washington (Seattle) professor, chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and the endowed chair in lung cancer research.


Robbin G. Cohen, MD, MMM
Dr. Cohen is the Medical Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA, and Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Southern California.

Special Thanks

Special Thanks

A special thanks to STS staff members for their help in developing and maintaining the patient website.

Staff members from the STS Marketing and Communications Department