In response to continued discussion on the validity of the conclusions of the EXCEL trial, The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) has released a statement calling for the release of all trial data.
Vaughn A. Starnes, MD, became the 100th President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS). He officially succeeded David H. Adams, MD, in a ceremony at the AATS 99th Annual Meeting in Toronto.
A new study shows that a potential treatment for ischemia- reperfusion injury is safe for humans. Building upon three decades of preclinical animal studies, this NIH-funded trial demonstrated, for the first time, the safety of Regadenoson (an adenosine 2A receptor agonist) in human lung transplant patients.
According to a new study, the status of lymph nodes rather than the status of the primary tumor following preoperative neoadjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiation therapy is the most important factor that determines whether patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer will survive. The study presented at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery’s 98th Annual Meeting indicates that while preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy improve the survival of patients with esophageal cancer, patients with malignant lymph nodes following therapy were less likely to survive than patients with no cancer in the lymph nodes.
The increase in opioid deaths in the last 20 years led a medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School and colleagues to look at excessive opioids prescribed to treat acute surgical pain following various procedures. Alyssa A. Mazurek presented a study during the American Association for Thoracic Surgery’s 98th Annual Meeting that assessed patterns of opioid prescribing for open and laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair (HHR) and found that patients used far fewer opioids than were actually prescribed.
Significant upstaging or reclassification to a more advanced stage due to cancer progression in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can occur with each successive week from initial clinical staging to surgery, according to data presented at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery’s 98th Annual Meeting. The same study showed that early intervention after completion of clinical staging leads to increased survival rates.
Robot-assisted tracheobronchoplasty (R-TBP) can be safely performed, and expands the treatment options for patients with tracheobronchomalacia, a complex, high-risk population, according to a study presented at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery’s 98th Annual Meeting. This procedure is minimally invasive compared to the accepted treatment, and resulted in low morbidity, no mortality, and significant improvement of patients’ symptoms.
Mandatory public reporting of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) results in Massachusetts was associated with better patient outcomes compared to national findings, according to a recent study. Results of the 13-year Massachusetts experience were presented in a plenary session of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery’s 98th Annual Meeting.
This year’s AATS Centennial, the annual meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, features a presentation from a team of doctors and other medical professionals who have been travelling to Rwanda for the past 10 years as part of a surgical outreach program aimed at treating patients affected by rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and building a foundation for sustainable cardiothoracic care throughout the country.
Researchers are still trying to fully understand anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery (AAOCA) and its relationship to adverse health outcomes in humans, especially children. Using the most up-to-date literature, as well as the input of leading experts in the field, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) has released practical guidelines for the identification and treatment of AAOCA, including an overview of the latest data surrounding population-based risk.
To better manage empyema in the face of rising demand for treatment, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) Guidelines Committee called for the formation of the Empyema Management Guidelines Working Group. The group was tasked with analyzing the latest literature about empyema and issuing new evidence-based clinical guidelines. The resulting Consensus Statement is published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.
. While there is no cure for atrial fibrillation, many successful treatments are available, including surgical ablation. A growing population of patients means an increased demand for care. In an effort to provide practitioners with the most up-to-date information, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) assembled an expert board to study the available literature and develop evidence-based guidelines and best practices on surgical ablation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation.
How best to treat IMR is controversial, in part, because of the fragility and complexity of the patients, difficulty of grading IMR, the variety of medical and surgical options, and lack of long-term quality studies. Noting that other guidelines generally do not focus on optimal surgical approaches to IMR, the AATS enlisted a group of experts to create a consensus document to provide clinicians with their recommendations based on their opinions and the best available evidence.
Regenerative medicine has much to offer the cardiovascular field, although there is still a way to go before it is ready for routine clinical application, according to Andre Terzic, MD, PhD, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine and a professor in Cardiovascular Diseases Research at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn.
Bioabsorbable heart valves or blood vessels are designed to harness the body’s innate healing process, enabling the natural restoration of complex body parts as the synthetic graft is absorbed. At the 96th AATS Annual Meeting, surgeons from the Bakoulev Center for Cardiovascular Surgery, Moscow report the results of implantation of bioabsorbable vascular grafts placed into five children born with serious cardiovascular anomalies. According to the investigators, this is the first-ever clinical trial of a bioabsorbable cardiovascular device.
Looking ahead to 2035, a growing disparity is projected between the number of cardiothoracic surgeons needed and the number available. In a presentation at the 96th AATS Annual Meeting, researchers cite such trends as fewer trainees in surgery residency programs, more exam failures, and fewer American Board of Thoracic Surgery certifications at a time when an aging population will require more cardiothoracic surgical services. They estimate that cardiothoracic surgeons would have to increase their caseload by 121% to meet demand, something that is not feasible.
Little is known about mitral valve (MV) surgical outcomes within the largest US federal health system – the Veterans Administration (VA) Health System. At the 96th AATS Annual Meeting, data presented from 40 VA cardiac surgery centers reveal that although MV repair rates increased from 48% in 2001 to 63% in 2013, a wide variability exists in repair rates among medical centers. This is especially important because MV repair mortality rates were significantly lower in patients with primary degenerative disease.
A team of surgeons in Japan has developed a technique to relieve airway obstruction in children. The technique, known as external stenting (ES), expands and stabilizes the airway by suspending its wall to a rigid prosthesis placed around the bronchus or trachea. ES avoids the problem of granulation formation resulting from endolumenal corrective approaches, such as endoscopic stent placement. In a presentation at the 96th AATS Annual Meeting, the researchers describe the ES technique in detail as well as report on indications, complications, and long-term outcomes.
For children with severe heart failure, the only available means of life support are ventricular assist devices (VADs) placed outside the body. These devices are associated with significant risks and the need for hospital management. In conjunction with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, investigators have now developed a miniaturized implantable VAD for small children (the Infant Jarvik 2015). The results of testing the device in live sheep are presented at the 96th AATS Annual Meeting.
Up to 50% of patients with soft tissue sarcoma (STS) develop lung metastases. Effective systemic therapies for metastatic STS are currently limited; when possible, surgical removal of the lung metastases (known as pulmonary metastasectomy, PM) is the preferred treatment. However, guidelines for the performance of PM for STS do not exist and decisions to operate are often made on an individual basis. In a presentation at the 96th AATS Annual Meeting, researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center share the results of their experience with more than 500 patients with pulmonary metastases from STS and describe prognostic factors associated with improved survival.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) have identified risk factors for unplanned readmissions following esophageal resection. The results of their new study provide complete follow-up data for all patients undergoing esophagectomy at a high volume center over a one-year period in order to identify risk factors associated with unplanned readmissions. Karen J. Dickinson, MD, presents the results of this research at the 96th AATS Annual Meeting on behalf of the Thoracic Surgery Research Team at Mayo Clinic.
The TRANSFORM trial was designed to evaluate the safety and performance of an investigational rapid deployment aortic valve replacement (RDAVR) system for patients with severe aortic stenosis. Presented at the 96th AATS Annual Meeting, investigators showed that more than 96% of TRANSFORM patients had survived after one year and only 0.2% required reoperation. Cardiac function improved in 73%. Compared to conventional treatment, this procedure required significantly less cross-clamp and cardiopulmonary bypass times, even when smaller incisions were used.
Analysis of data from the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) demonstrates that the survival rates of patients with Stage IIIA NSCLC who underwent surgery increased more than three-fold for those who received four quality measures as part of their care. The study, presented by Pamela Samson MD, MPHS, of Washington University in St. Louis at the 96th AATS Annual Meeting, also shows a wide variability in compliance with quality measures, with only 12.8% of almost 8,000 eligible patients having received all four interventions. The study highlights the importance of implementing these recommended steps into actual practice.
During heart surgery, it is sometimes necessary to temporarily stop cardiac activity, a process known as cardioplegia. Specific myocardial protection techniques are necessary for pediatric use. At the 96th AATS Annual Meeting, cardiac surgeons present the results of a prospective, randomized trial of pediatric heart surgery patients that shows that the del Nido cardioplegia solution, a new, long-acting agent, offers significant advantages over conventional cardioplegia, including reduced cardiopulmonary bypass and aortic cross-clamp times and faster onset of action.
Tricuspid regurgitation (TR) occurs when the heart’s tricuspid valve leaks, allowing blood to flow back from the right ventricle to the right atrium. TR can be secondary to disorders of left-sided heart valves (mitral or aortic). At the 96th AATS Annual Meeting, investigators present the results of a long-term study of patients who underwent mitral valve (MV) repair. They found that although newly developed TR after MV repair was rare, the risk could increase in older patients with atrial fibrillation and impaired heart function.
In the 40 years between 1970-2010, the proportion of patients with diabetes undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) escalated from 7% to 37%. The results of a large study from Cleveland Clinic just published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), documents the five-fold increase in the proportion of patients with diabetes undergoing this procedure between 1970 and 2010. These patients have more postoperative complications and decreased long-term survival than those without diabetes, and represent a growing challenge to reining in healthcare costs.
The ideal management strategy for primary cardiogenic shock is a matter of debate. After some early discouraging experiences, the use of extracorporeal life support for patients with cardiogenic shock is having a resurgence. A report from researchers in Padua, Italy finds that patients who have an acute onset of cardiogenic shock, for example following a heart attack, and are placed on extracorporeal life support, fare better than those who have a chronic cardiac pathology. In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Vivek Rao of the University of Toronto puts the findings of the study, such as a 59% survival to hospital discharge rate, in perspective.
With mounting concerns about postoperative seizures, doctors at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia placed 161 neonates who had undergone cardiac surgery on continuous EEG monitoring. They found that 8% of the neonates experienced EEG seizures and 85% of these were unrecognized clinically. Many of the seizures were severe, and the seizure group faced a higher risk of death, according to a report in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS).
For children born with life-threatening hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), reconstructive surgeries can restore blood circulation. While the most common corrective approach is the three-stage Norwood procedure, an alternative strategy, hybrid palliation, allows deferral of the more complex reconstructions to when the child is somewhat older and better able to successfully recover from major surgery. A report in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), evaluates whether an arterial shunt in the hybrid palliation may be a better source for the pulmonary blood supply than the more frequently used venous shunt.
About 2% of the U.S. population has mitral valve regurgitation, which left untreated, can remain mild or lead to arrhythmia or heart failure. Timing of surgery is a matter of controversy, with guidelines suggesting “watchful waiting” or medical treatment until heart failure or poor function becomes apparent. Now a report in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), finds that allowing patients to reach these “surgical triggers” doubles the risk of postoperative mortality and heart failure compared to those who undergo early surgery.
New molecular tools are emerging to identify lung adenocarcinomas during pulmonary resection. The results of a proof-of-concept study suggest that lung cancer fluorescent imaging during surgery using targeted molecular agents may soon be a reality. While the methodology still needs refinement, the technique holds the possibility of precise visualization of tumor margins, detection of other tumors or metastases, localization of small malignant ground glass opacities, and accurate identification of lymph nodes containing metastatic cancer cells.
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a congenital defect in which the left side of the heart does not develop properly, impairing normal circulation. A series of surgeries can help restore heart function. A new study in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, found use of a ring-reinforced cylinder instead of the usual non-reinforced conduit improved survival, reduced need for re-interventions, and induced physiological changes that may make patients better candidates for recovery after future surgeries.
Statins have been shown to reduce complications from cardiovascular surgery. To determine whether statins might also help those undergoing major lung surgeries, a team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center conducted a well-designed study that randomized patients to receive either a statin or placebo before and after surgery. They found that patients undergoing major lung resection experienced fewer complications overall, however, the differences between groups for specific complications or changes in inflammatory markers failed to reach statistical significance, according to a report in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS).
Cardiac surgeons often “crack open” the flat bone that forms the middle front section of the chest, known as the sternum, in order to reach important structures. When a sternal wound infection (SWI) occurs, serious complications and even death may result. Implanting antibiotic-laden sponges between the sternal halves before closure has been adapted to prevent infections. While a recent report questioned this practice, a meta-analysis in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, clearly established that the sponges do work.
According to the American Cancer Society, in 2015 about 17,000 new cases of esophageal cancer will be diagnosed, and about 15,600 people will die from the disease. While the 5-year survival rate in the 1960s and 1970s was only about 5%, improvements in diagnosis, treatment, and management have led to improved survival. However, information is lacking about what happens to long-term survivors of esophageal cancer. A presentation at the AATS Annual Meeting shows that while five-year survival is up to 39%, these patients still face many health risks and should be monitored for 10 years or more.
The National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) was a multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical trial comparing the efficacy of lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) plus medical management with rehabilitation to medical management plus rehabilitation in patients with severe emphysema. In 2003, the results of NETT demonstrated that LVRS could improve lung function in patients with emphysema, and that the procedure led to improved survival. Yet, adoption of LVRS has been very slow with concerns expressed regarding safety and long-term efficacy. In this presentation, Dr. Ginsburg will present the results of ten years of’ experience with LVRS for emphysema.
Hospital readmission rates after major thoracic surgery can run as high as 10-17%. Alarmingly, readmission after pulmonary resection for lung cancer has been associated with worse outcomes, including higher mortality. Thus, reducing readmissions after thoracic surgery can both save lives and reduce healthcare costs. Studies in internal medicine and cardiology have shown that programs that improve the transition from hospital to post-discharge care can be effective in decreasing emergency room visits and re-hospitalization. This study from McMaster University describes for the first time the benefits of an active, post-discharge intervention that begins in the hospital for patients who have undergone thoracic surgery.
For patients in the early stage of non-small cell lung cancer, surgical resection yields optimal outcomes. Prior investigations have shown that different resection procedures have very different outcomes, with pneumonectomy associated with three-fold higher mortality than other resection types. While it is understandable that pathological and physiological factors influence a surgeon’s choice of surgery for a particular patient, the results presented in this study suggest that physician discomfort with the operative complexities of a procedure may lead to selection of a technique associated with less favorable outcomes.
New evidence suggests that lung cancer surgery patients are at higher risk of developing venous thromboembolism, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), than previously thought, with elevated risks of complications or death. When thromboemboli occur, they may be asymptomatic or attributed to post-surgical pain or complications, and may reflect both the lung cancer itself as well as compromised lung function after surgery. These incidents may also be ascribed to an inconsistent approach to prevention that currently exists among thoracic surgeons and hematologists who care for these patients. Three presentations at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery explore the problem of venous thromboembolism (VTE) after surgery for lung cancer.
When educating medical students or residents to perform highly technical procedures, there is always a challenge to balance the educational mission with maintaining quality results and optimal patient care. This report compared outcomes of cardiac surgery residents to those of attending physicians in performing coronary artery bypass grafting. It found no differences in patient outcomes or graft patency between the residents and attending surgeons.
Over the last 15 years, survival of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) has greatly improved, so that currently there are more adults than children living with CHD. Consequently, people with CHD of all ages are undergoing pulmonary valve replacement (PVR) with bioprosthetic valves. In this retrospective review of all patients with CHD who underwent bioprosthetic PVR over an 18-year period at Boston Children’s Hospital, investigators found that young age and small body weight predisposed patients toward re-intervention, as did the type of valve used.
The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) has released new evidence-based guidelines for the prevention and treatment of perioperative and postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) and flutter for thoracic surgical procedures. The guidelines are published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.