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

February 1, 2018/By Mara Antonoff, MD, FACS, and Leah Backhus, MD, FACS
How We Balance Motherhood and Cardiothoracic Surgery

In recent years, women have gradually made up greater proportions of medical school classes, with most medical schools in the United States currently fairly balanced between male and female students.

December 18, 2017/By John V. Conte, MD
Five Questions I Wish My Patients Would Ask Me

As an attending cardiac surgeon for more than 20 years, I have performed thousands of operations; I love what I do.

November 13, 2017/By Mara B. Antonoff, MD, FACS
10 Common Myths about Lung Cancer Surgery

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women in the United States.

October 30, 2017/By Mara B. Antonoff, MD, FACS
Learning About Lung Cancer: Best Online Resources for Patients

Finding out about a new diagnosis of lung cancer can be very overwhelming.

September 27, 2017/By Lisa Rogers with Lauren C. Kane, MD, FACS
What Is Life Like When Your Child has a Heart Transplant?

Rileigh Elizabeth Faith Rogers was born on January 16, 2015, via C-section in San Antonio, TX.

September 1, 2017/By Brendon M. Stiles, MD, FACS
The Most Important Lesson I Learned From a Patient: Optimism Leads to Achievement
Helen Keller once called optimism “the faith that leads to achievement.”

August 7, 2017/By Robbin G. Cohen, MD, MMM
Complications After Cardiothoracic Surgery: What Went Wrong?

As scary as it may sound, no surgical procedure is completely risk-free.

July 21, 2017/By Paul K. Minifee, MD
What Is Recovery from Heart Surgery Really Like? A Patient’s Experience.

As a surgeon, I have inside information on how a hospital works and how patients experience various tests and procedures.

June 26, 2017/By Linda W. Martin, MD, MPH
Robotic Operations in Thoracic Surgery: Who Are the Candidates?

Robotic surgery is fairly new; it was first used in 1985 for a neurosurgical procedure.

May 26, 2017/By Mark Russo, MD, MS
Endovascular Stent Graft Repair for Treating Aortic Aneurysms

Endovascular stent graft repair is a minimally invasive method to treat aneurysms of the descending thoracic and abdominal aorta.

May 9, 2017/By Mara B. Antonoff, MD, FACS
National Women’s Lung Health Week: The Importance of Taking Care of Your Lungs

The week of May 7-13 marks National Women’s Lung Health Week, as well as the week leading to Mother’s Day.

May 2, 2017/By John V. Conte, MD
Deciding Between a Tissue and a Mechanical Valve

If you have heart valve disease and find out that you need valve replacement surgery, one of the biggest decisions you may face is what type of valve to get.

April 14, 2017/By Bart Frazzitta
My Journey with Esophageal Cancer (Part 2)

The first phase of my treatment for esophageal cancer required chemotherapy 24 hours a day, 5 days a week for 6 weeks, along with 28 simultaneous radiation treatments.

April 11, 2017/By Mark K. Ferguson, MD
Risk Factors for Esophageal Cancer: What to Look For

Esophageal cancer is among the most common causes of cancer death around the world.

April 3, 2017/By Bart Frazzitta
My Journey with Esophageal Cancer (Part 1)

In December 1999, I complained to my doctor about food getting stuck in my esophagus.

March 28, 2017/By Candice Monroe
Thank You for the Heart Transplant that Saved My Life

On February 7, 2017, I celebrated 15 extra years of life; I am a heart transplant recipient.

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?


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