Issue 27 | September 2021 - EACTS News

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NEWS Issue 27 / September 2021

The quarterly publication for EACTS members

Issue 27 Highlights 3. A preview of the 35th EACTS Annual Meeting 12. The new EACTS Chief Executive, in his own words 14. Residents’ experiences of working under Covid 16. A realignment for the Basic Science Task Force 18. The latest on Fellowships 21. Looking ahead to the first EACTS Aortic Forum

Are you ready for Barcelona?

have been developed and refined during the pandemic and that will doubtless spark debate, discussion, excitement and even some controversy among cardiothoracic surgeons.

As the world begins gradually to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the EACTS Annual Meeting is set to become one of the first international healthcare events to welcome back its members and other professionals in person.

It all begins on Wednesday 13 October at the Barcelona International Convention Centre. Over the next several pages EACTS News focuses on the many highlights from the different domains and task forces that pack the four-day schedule. It also talks to some of the surgeons and other experts who have been working hard behind the scenes to put together a programme that has something for everyone in the cardiothoracic world.

The Annual Meeting has been described the as one of EACTS’ “crown jewels”. This year that jewel takes on even more lustre as it promises to showcase all the latest technical innovations and scientific breakthroughs that

Places are still available for what promises to be a special EACTS Annual Meeting, which will be reconnecting members from all points of the globe, so don’t delay in booking your ticket.


Explore, discover, educate 13  16 O C T O B E R 2 0 21 B A R C E LO N A , S PA I N

Annual Meeting

The countdown to Barcelona begins… Spain’s second city is about to become the centre of the cardiothoracic world as it prepares to host the 35th EACTS Annual Meeting in October Traditionally the largest event for the global cardiothoracic community, the EACTS Annual Meeting starts on Wednesday 13 October with a full day of Techno College sessions showcasing new technology and techniques. The following three days will focus on the latest world-class developments in cardiothoracic surgery. The packed programme of education and discussion will range from plenary sessions on the latest guidelines and clinical trials to professional challenge, focus and abstract sessions. Combined with the EACTS Training Village, they offer the opportunity to benefit from the skills of key opinion leaders and our industry partners, and to participate in our interactive hands-on training. New for this year is the Skills Corner, which offers lots of opportunities for interactive hands-on training and demonstrations. This year’s Annual Meeting will be one of the first international professional healthcare events, and certainly the first large-scale meeting in cardiovascular and thoracic medicine, to convene as the world gradually opens up after the Covid-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions are being lifted more slowly in some countries and regions than in others, so to help as many surgeons and healthcare professionals as possible from all over the world to attend, the Annual Meeting will run in a hybrid format.


This means that delegates can take part in-person at the Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB) or via the new EACTS virtual platform. Whether you are able join us physically for the full event in Spain or from a screen in the hospital, office or at home, the new hybrid format will allow more people than ever to take advantage of the exciting opportunities that the Annual Meeting offers to explore new scientific insights, learn about the latest innovations in cardiothoracic surgery, and take part in the many stimulating debates and discussions alongside global colleagues. For the most up-to-date information on the Annual Meeting and the full scientific programme, head straight to the EACTS website. You will also find full details on how to register. Discounted registration fees are available for all EACTS members, along with further reductions for groups such as Residents, Allied Health Professionals, students, retired members and those on lower incomes. Social distancing measures will be in place for the in-person event at CCIB, which means places are more limited than they would be in a normal year – so all EACTS members hoping to travel to Barcelona in order to enjoy the full benefits of this pivotal EACTS Annual Meeting are encouraged to book as soon as possible to guarantee the chance to explore, discover, educate and shape the future of cardiothoracic surgery. Over the next few pages we will be looking at a few of the many highlights of the upcoming 35th Annual Meeting, including the content of the key sessions that make up the Training Village, the live masterclasses and hands-on tutorials of the Skills Corner, the insights into the latest innovations in our Techno College, and the latest news from our Industry partners.


Personal highlights for Barcelona Rafael Sábada, EACTS Secretary General

With the 2021 Annual Meeting just a few weeks away, EACTS Secretary General Rafael Sábada looks at some of the some of the highlights from this year’s scientific programme… I think the best way to experience the Annual Meeting is by attending in person. You get to meet your cardiothoracic colleagues from all over the world and to make those vital professional and personal connections. I also think some of scientific sessions are easier to enjoy if you are physically in the room. There are so many different sessions across the full scientific programme to look forward to that if one particular talk, debate or demonstration doesn’t appeal to you, another one that does will be just around the corner. What sessions am I most looking forward to? There are so many of them…

The main programme Looking at the main programme, on the thoracic surgery side there are more sessions on robotic surgery and a session on ERAS, where you will be able to discuss the results of major trials that have been published over the past few months. Also on the thoracic side, there’s a very interesting session on treating end-stage emphysema, a difficult condition to treat. On the cardiac side, lots of things are coming up that look really interesting. There are sessions dedicated to transcatheter techniques for beginners and experts, and a session on infective endocarditis. Another session to highlight is on hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, or HOCM, again a condition where we have new developments and techniques that I am sure many surgeons will be eager to hear about. Another hot topic we will be discussing is TAVI in younger patients, and if you are interested in aortic surgery there are interesting sessions on acute type A aortic dissections and on the management of the aortic arch, where we are seeing more new developments.

Techno College

Skills Corner

Plenty of other sessions offer advantages when you are there in person, and the Techno College is a good example. This year the Techno College will be a separate event on the Wednesday before the main programme and will have sessions on robotic surgery, evolving technologies and more. We also have the Lion’s Den, where the finalists will be competing for the Techno College Innovation Award by presenting their innovations to the audience and jury.

Let’s not forget the Skills Corner, which is a new innovation this year that gives you the opportunity to see and explore for yourself new devices and techniques via in-person tutorials, demonstrations and masterclasses.

Training Village The first that come to my mind are the Training Village sessions. They are hands-on sessions where those attending have the opportunity to learn new and more traditional techniques with experts in those procedures. For example, we have a number of sessions on endoscopic mitral valve repair where you can learn and practise techniques using a high-fidelity simulator.

As an EACTS member you can benefit from all these sessions and more when you come to Barcelona. I should also mention that new membership applications for this year have hit more than 600. We will be approving them at the General Assembly on the Friday, and we hope to welcome many more people to the EACTS family. This is great news, as we are a growing association, and it shows that we are reaching out to all parts of the world. I think it also shows that professionals can clearly see the benefits of becoming a member of EACTS and that we are a leading organisation at the forefront of science in cardiothoracic surgery.

Also in the Training Village, we have sessions on coronary surgery and on aortic valve repair, which I know many surgeons want to know more about, so this is a great chance to learn these techniques in person. Look out for the TEVAR simulation as well, which offers hands-on experience.


Annual Meeting

THE SURGERY AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS Techno College Our exploration of the latest world-class innovation and advances in the field of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery as well as interventional cardiology begins at the EACTS’ Annual Meeting on Wednesday 13 October with a full day dedicated to showcasing new technology and techniques While sessions throughout the Annual Meeting focus on the most recent developments, the Techno College is an opportunity for a more in-depth look at the science. The Techno College has a unique format that includes live surgery and interventions, live-in-a-box cases and state-of-theart lectures – demonstrating to surgeons and cardiologists the appropriate use of the newest cardiovascular techniques. Since its foundation, the Techno College has emerged as one of the leading worldwide meetings in cardiac surgery. The topics for this year’s programme have been selected by the New Technology Taskforce, chaired by Professor Volkmar Falk, based on their relevance and potential impact to change practice. They include innovations in the form of patents, inventions, techniques and new products. “These sessions are vital for surgeons to attend,” says Professor Falk, “as it gives them the opportunity to explore the latest and greatest innovations in treatments and techniques required in their daily practice. Innovations and advances in the field are now emerging at incredible speed, so keeping abreast of developments in the market is key.”


The Techno College timetable for Wednesday 13 October: 1100 to 1250 Valve and Minimally Invasive Surgery (adult cardiac) 1100 to 1230 Sublobar Resections (thoracic disease) 1300 to 1430 Evolving Technologies (thoracic disease) 1310 to 1530 Transcatheter and Robotic Surgery (adult cardiac) 1500 to 1630 Robotic Surgery (thoracic disease) 1600 to 1800 The Lion’s Den and Beyond (thoracic disease)

Since its foundation, the Techno College has emerged as one of the leading meetings in cardiac surgery


Skills Corner Whether you are travelling to Barcelona to attend the EACTS Annual Meeting in person or logging in to take part online, the new Skills Corner offers you the opportunity to expand your own specialist knowledge by drawing on the help and guidance of some of the world’s most experienced and expert surgeons

Join the Skills Corner for in-depth training that focuses on specific products via live demonstrations, tailored approaches, step-bystep masterclasses and educational tutorials. Take part in: • live training workshops from the EACTS Training Village on-site in Barcelona • live training workshops brought to you by our industry partners • how-I-do-it video training sessions with step-by-step demonstrations of key procedures • video presentations highlighting new procedures and techniques • a newsfeed and discussion/chat feature.

Training village EACTS faculty and industry partners have come together to devise a broad and immersive programme of hands-on training sessions at this year’s Annual Meeting in Barcelona. This includes wetlab, drylab and simulator sessions, all set in a professional, personalised and appropriately socially distanced training environment Thursday 14 October

Friday 15 October

Saturday 16 October

0830 to 1030; 1500 to 1700 Endoscopic Mitral Valve Repair Drylab training sessions with high-fidelity mitral valve simulators. Novice surgeons and those with some experience will get hands-on training on simulators under the guidance of experienced endoscopic surgeons. Each session is strictly limited to a maximum of 15 registered delegates.

0900 to 1130 Mitral and Tricuspid Valve Repair Basic training on mitral and tricuspid valve access, repair and replacement.

0900 to 1100 Congenital Surgery Learn about the Ross and Ross Konno procedure in this hands-on wetlab.

1200 to 1400 Coronary Surgery Learn how to perform coronary anastomoses. The techniques for proximal and distal anastomoses, sequential and composite grafts will be demonstrated along with techniques and devices for conduit harvesting and methods for intraoperative graft assessment. 1500 to 1700 Aortic Valve Repair Learn about the two main techniques for valve sparing aortic root surgery: choose either reimplantation or remodelling – the two sessions will run side by side.

1400 to 1600 Endoscopic Mitral Valve Repair See Thursday 14 October for details of this session. 1400 to 1700 TAVI/TMVI Simulator Session During this hands-on session delegates can enjoy hands-on experience with guidewires, valves, delivery systems and simulators. You can also embark on a fascinating journey through the latest transcatheter valve devices and technologies.

0900 to 1100; 1400 to 1600 Endoscopic Mitral Valve Repair See Thursday 14 October. 1200 to 1400 TEVAR Simulator Session New for this year’s event, come and practice your skills with our hands-on training on endovascular stentgraft thoracic aortic treatment. 1500 to 1700 Thoracic Surgery Practice your skills across three practical simulation stations: robot-assisted surgery (RATS), video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and chest wall surgery.

Places on all the EACTS Training Village sessions are limited and must be booked in advance – they will be allocated strictly on a first-come, first-served basis. Training Village sessions have an additional €50 fee. To learn more and to book, go to the registration page on the EACTS website.


Annual Meeting

Great science and personal interaction EACTS Domain and Task Force chairs outline a few of the sessions that they have prepared for this year’s Annual Meeting and tell us why they are looking forward to attending Barcelona in person…

Professor Eric Roessner, Chair, Thoracic Disease Domain

Dr Patrick Myers, Chair, Acquired Cardiac Disease Domain

On behalf of the Thoracic Domain I would like to invite you all to the upcoming EACTS Annual Meeting. We have prepared an exciting thoracic programme for you this year.

What can attendees expect from the Acquired Cardiac Diseases Domain at the Annual Meeting? The task forces have organised a fantastic programme spanning the breadth of adult cardiac surgery, reviewing the latest evidence in CABG, new techniques, minimally invasive approaches in complex valve repairs as well as mastering transcatheter techniques in theory through focus sessions and in practise in the Skills Corner. We’ve also integrated basic science into each session to look at the science behind the future of these key fields.

Starting with the Techno College on Wednesday, this features sublobar resections and techniques, robotic surgery and new developments in the field of operating instruments that claim to be even even better than the robot.

To get the latest in the great field of thoracic surgery, I hope that you are able join us in Barcelona In the main programme we have an exciting session focussing on modern surgery and the first ever joint meeting with IASLC where we have the main focus on interaction between medical and surgical oncology. Additionally, we have a great session on the challenges that Covid has presented for thoracic surgeons. Another highlight will be in the Saturday focus session on major trials where we invited the main authors of recently published landmark papers such as the VIOLET, ADAURA and PACIFIC trials. To get the latest in the great field of thoracic surgery, I hope that you are able join us in Barcelona in person. For those who are still restricted in travelling, I hope you are able to participate online.


The trial update plenary session provides a critical appraisal of key subjects and new data. This will bring surgeons and cardiologists together. We’ll also be covering alternative definitions of MI, the UK Academy trial, and the Gary registry data. A late-breaking RCT promises to give us new tools to prevent peri operative atrial fibrillation, and another session not to miss is on the upcoming EACTS CSE 2021 Valvular Heart Disease Guidelines, providing insights into their application in clinical practice. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends and colleagues from around the world. The pandemic has taken a huge toll on scientific meetings, and this will be the first opportunity for us to meet in person, sharing and discussing science and enjoy coming together again. What better place than EACTS in Barcelona?

I’m looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues from around the world


Mario Gaudino, Chair, Coronary Task Force

Juan Grau, Chair, Basic Science Task Force

Why should people come to Barcelona for the Annual Meeting? Because finally we have an in-person annual meeting. It has been a tough year for everybody, so going back to some degree of collegiality and interaction is really important and we all look forward to that.

I would encourage everybody to look at this year’s Annual Meeting scientific programme as a whole and understand that each one of the basic science sessions that we have devised is integrated into the clinical programmes. In other words, you won’t see an isolated basic science talk that has no relevance to clinical applicability. So if you look at the different aspects of cardiovascular pathology that you’re interested in, you will find a good pairing of the basic science with clinical information in those particular sessions.

Artery bypass surgery is still the most common operation in cardiac surgery, but in the past few years it has come to be thought of as a super-specialisation because of technical procedures such as off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery, multiple tier grafting and minimally invasive operations that require technical skills that you can achieve only with dedication and specific training.

Going back to some degree of collegiality and interaction is really important So we have provided a programme that covers every single aspect for generalist cardiac surgeons and specialist coronary surgeons. The interaction with our colleagues and friends from cardiology and other disciplines is important these days, and so we have dedicated a session covers everything you need to know, such as providing a summary of the evidence for a cardiac surgeon and working with colleagues from other specialties during the heart team conversation. I’m excited to have a session about new guidance on how to treat CABG patients with low ejection fraction. We have a session called Coronary Surgery in 2021 that touches on all the latest key topics and will be opened by a lecture from the father of modern coronary artery surgery, Dr Bruce Lytle.

Although I practice in the US I always go to the EACTS Annual Meeting because it’s so very dynamic and vibrant. Everybody who attends wants to learn, they want to share, and they are able to stand up and ask questions freely and unencumbered. They feel that they are part of the meeting and that is a rare thing to see. I am vaccinated, so I think it is a reasonable risk to take. Virtual platforms we are currently using do a good job, but I don’t think they are a substitute for human contact. You lose some spontaneity by not being in front of another human being and discussing things. The dialogue that exists in the hallways, in the cafeterias, in international meetings such as EACTS, is really irreplaceable. For a first post-pandemic trip abroad for scientific purposes, Barcelona sounds pretty good

The dialogue that exists in the hallways, in the cafeterias, in international meetings such as EACTS, is irreplaceable

For the first time this year we have a session dedicated to women in coronary bypass surgery. Women have been underrepresented in cardiac surgery studies and trials, and there are many reasons to believe that the outcomes we see in studies based on a prevalently male patient populations do not apply to women. This session will explore the challenges of generating evidence that applies to women. Finally, we cannot ignore the CABG versus PCI debate. Interventional cardiologists and surgeons will debate a number of a controversial topics in the usual friendly and collaborative EACTS atmosphere.


Annual Meeting

GETTING TO KNOW... A highlight of the Annual Meeting is the Lion’s Den, where cardiothoracic surgeons get just two-minutes to present their innovative ideas and techniques to the audience and expert panel. The best presentation is awarded the Techno-Award, which was won in 2019 by Max Emmert, from Wyss Zurich at the University of Zurich and the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the German Heart Center Berlin, for the LifeMatrix bioengineering platform…

Q: What is LifeMatrix? LifeMatrix is a unique and proprietary bioengineering technology platform to grow tissue in the lab. The idea is to develop nextgeneration implants that can remodel and regenerate with the patient. We have done a lot of research to test a way forward that provides a clinical grade and off-the-shelf biomimetic implant that can be implemented as a product. What we have now developed is a biomimetic implant, based on an extracellular matrix that is made from human cells and a specific polymer combination. The cells are then removed (decellularized), leaving behind the LifeMatrix. When implanted, it gradually transforms into living tissue. We have validated this technology in GLP translational animal studies in the context of vascular grafts and heart valves. Several other indications are in the pipeline.

Q: Why did you decide it might be a good candidate for the Lion’s Den? I’m a cardiac surgeon and I have been with EACTS since the beginning of my career. I have always been impressed by the association, by the achievements that are made in patient care, in research and in new developments. We felt at that point that we had something pretty much validated that was an interesting thing to share with our colleagues at EACTS and present in the competition. We were proud to be shortlisted. Then when we won the award, it was a big achievement for us as a team and a great pleasure and honor to get this positive feedback from the potential users of such a technology. All the surgeons in the room were very supportive. After that, we had multiple approaches from other people who wanted to learn more about the technology, and that was a really cool experience.


Q: How did you prepare for the pitch? I had just two minutes to pitch. I had to bring the principal idea and problem, the way we would approach it and our solution. I had to attract the audience, tell them why I thought it would work and show them some evidence and our next challenges ahead. This was followed by an in-depth discussion with the panel, who were physicians and people from industry who had experience in bringing products forward. It was a very colorful and diverse discussion with much good advice for our project.

Q: What is your advice for candidates pitching this year? Be fast to bring your message across, be clear, and have good visuals to support your message. I think it’s also about how you present, so that people can really feel that you are behind your idea, that you know what you’re talking about, and you are aware of the natural challenges for your concept. Select your words carefully, as you’ve only got two minutes sharp. You need to be confident to expose yourself to the situation when the entire room is looking at you. Also try to enjoy it, because it is a great opportunity to present yourself and to validate your work, and whether people vote for you or not, it is a way to get them interested. To the young surgeons who have great ideas I would say just walk up there and give your best.


Covid preparedness As plans for the Annual Meeting in Barcelona are finalised, the health and safety of delegates, partners, and exhibitors remain the primary concern. As part of the health and safety measures, EACTS continues to actively review local guidance to ensure full compliance with restrictions For more details about the applicable entry requirements for the country you are travelling from and the restrictions for your return home, refer to, which is also available on the FAQ section of the Annual Meeting general information page on EACTS’ website. CCIB, the conference venue, has received the international ‘Safe Travels’ seal from the World Travel & Tourism Council for its protocol against Covid-19 and as a member of the Barcelona Biosphere Commitment to Sustainable Tourism. The badge is also endorsed by the World Health Organization guidelines.

New prevention and safety measures currently in place include: • personal shielding – wearing a face mask is currently compulsory in Spain for enclosed spaces and on public transport • adapted equipment – hand sanitiser gel dispensers will be available in access areas and strategic locations around the venue and there will be increased cleaning and disinfection in conference rooms along with air renewal monitoring in event spaces • capacity control – access to meeting rooms will be monitored in accordance with the venue’s capacity regulations • visible signage on safety and hygiene measures • adapted catering provision, including contactless payment, redesign of catering areas to remove self-serving options and allow appropriate distancing. Proof of full Covid-19 vaccination will be required for all inperson entry to this year’s Annual Meeting. Documentation will be required to be uploaded before the event. If proof of vaccination is unavailable, proof of a Negative PCR test will be required. A facial recognition system will be in use for the first time this year in Barcelona, which will ensure that delegates are able to register independently and more efficiently.


Annual Meeting

Aortic Valve and Root Task Force The EACTS Aortic Valve and Root Task Force has been working hard in recent months to design a series of practical and stimulating scientific sessions for the Annual Meeting. Filip Casselman and Ruggero de Paulis, co-chairs of the Aortic Valve and Root Task Force, outline the programme: First, we have several sessions featuring the best abstracts selected from a range of submitted work. At these sessions you will find the latest advances in the field and the results of the most recent clinical research. You can also take part in the discussions on the work. We have two 90-minute focus sessions each day looking at the most common clinical situations. Some look at the state of the art in a particular area, and others deal with controversial subjects that are likely to spark fierce debates. Thursday’s first focus session looks at the correct timing for aortic valve repair (AVR) in aortic regurgitation and then discusses the conflicting opinions. The second session deals with current controversies in AVR, which is rapidly evolving from an experimental setting to a standard of care. On Friday, we cover the current status on minimally invasive aortic valve and root surgery. Now that minimally invasive aortic

replacement has become standard, this approach is being applied to more complex operations. Early adopters and antagonists will debate the pros and cons of reducing the surgical access. Friday’s second focus session is ‘Matching the best substitute for aortic valve replacement to the patient’. This discussion covers all the available options in the light of patient characteristics and increasing requests for a tailored choice for each patient. The first focus session on Saturday examines newer opportunities in AVR, such as new tissue treatments, tissue engineered valves, wrapping an autograft and others. The last session is devoted to bicuspid aortic valve repair, which has had a lot of attention recently. Attendees will have gained a clear overview of this topic by the end of the session. Finally, we have a 180-minute professional challenge session on the Ross procedure. Experts in the field cover the entire spectrum of the procedure – good long-term results have ignited new enthusiasm for this old technique, with more and more surgeons considering it when valve replacement needs to be avoided. All sessions are moderated by expert physicians and panellists to ensure the best scientific content and a high-quality learning environment. We look forward to welcoming you to the Aortic Valve and Root Task Force sessions and to reconnecting with you at the Annual Meeting.

Latest news from our industry partners The trade exhibition and industry satellite programme are a key part of the EACTS Annual Meeting and the most convenient way to keep up to date with all the new-to-market technology, state-of-the-art products, sector-specific services and other innovations in the cardiothoracic market. EACTS and its industry partners are looking forward to the opportunity to reconnect face-to-face with delegates in Barcelona. Despite the many Covid-related challenges that remain in many countries, this year’s Annual Meeting will welcome more than 40 exhibitors. For all the most up-to-date news on the exhibitors and what’s happening in the satellite programme head to the industry page on the EACTS website. A full run down of the industry partners who will be exhibiting can be found here. Further updates will appear in the Daily News, the Annual Meeting newspaper. EACTS is grateful to all of its industry partners for their continued support.


EACTS and its industry partners are looking forward to the opportunity to reconnect face-to-face with delegates in Barcelona



physicians from


countries attended

The five countries with the most attendees: • Germany • Italy • United States • United Kingdom • Russian Federation




L-R standing: Amanda Cameron, Systems and Registration Manager; Jess Godbold, Events Assistant, Nisha Varma, Finance and Resources Assistant; Nicoleta Marasescu, Finance Manager; Kirsty Clarke, Education Programme Manager; Cori Mackin, Managing Editor, MMCTS L-R sitting: Elvira Lewis, Membership and Exhibition Manager; Brendan Eley, Chief Executive; Sharon Pidgeon, Events Director

A firm foundation, and now it’s time to build… Brendan Eley, EACTS Chief Executive

EACTS’ new Chief Executive is Brendan Eley. He has a long track record in corporate governance and is bringing all his experience and expertise to the task of building an even brighter future for EACTS. Here, in his own words, he talks about his appointment and his immediate priorities. “I am a lifelong voluntary sector worker with a strong background in relationships and governance. I’ve been the Chief Executive of a medical research charity for over 15 years, and that experience now finds me supporting EACTS in the same role. I’m passionate about the voluntary sector, about bringing high-quality, efficient, mission-led management, leadership and governance to good causes. I think the voluntary and public sectors demand and deserve that level of professionalism as much as anywhere else.


“I’ve been involved with EACTS now for nearly three years as a consultant. I’ve been to the Annual Meeting, I’ve attended the Council meetings and I undertook a major governance review in 2019. I thrive in organisations such as EACTS that are small in terms of structure but large in terms of breadth, reach and influence. That’s a credit to the people who work here and to the power of all the surgeons who volunteer their time to support the work of EACTS. “You don’t need to be a cardiothoracic surgeon to be chief executive of EACTS. But you do need to know how to run an organisation, employ good governance and processes, put in place strong structures, have a clear strategy and know what is needed to achieve the agreed plan. EACTS has a firm foundation, and now it’s time to build on that and help drive the organisation forward, even further. “I think most members and people associated with EACTS will welcome change. Post-Covid, we have to get ready for the new world, which means looking at the future of EACTS with an increasingly strategic perception. Where does the organisation want to be in the next ten years? It’s in a good position with its many members, our Annual Meeting, education programme and publications. Now we have to take all those jewels and make the most of them in a way that fits the future EACTS wants to see.


“My main priority is to look at our relationship with members and what we offer you. We need to review what we’re giving you, how we are communicating with you, and to genuinely put the members at the heart of everything that EACTS does. That will include looking at the Academy and the courses, and making sure that we are offering a compelling programme of exciting, meaningful and professional courses that remains the envy of the world. “We have world-beating registries, courses and journals, and we need to ensure they serve the needs of surgeons in pursuit of the best outcomes for their patients. All those resources should have reach and impact, and be driven with the same self-sustaining mission of ultimately improving patient outcomes. I’m sure that every EACTS member would agree. “We need to refocus on our relationships and partnerships with other associations. There is safety and impact in numbers. We are a global leader and I think we have a responsibility to play our part alongside all the other cardiothoracic and cardiology associations around the world. “The power of EACTS is that we have a high-quality, committed team in Windsor and we have resources. We’re in a position where we can set out our stall for the next ten years and say, right, what are the priorities in the cardiothoracic world, what’s EACTS role? Then we need to start doing things. Such as professionalising, in the sense of reporting back to the members what our intentions are, how we’re doing it, how we’re getting on with it and what impact we’re having. We need to communicate and report on that more frequently for the membership. “The Annual Meeting is EACTS’ crown jewel. It’s where our educational offering and our global role as a catalyst for thinking bring the key people together. It’s our shop window and we have an international reputation for this quality programme. When people come and interact with EACTS face to face and they see the excitement, the buzz, the quality, and they want to be part of that.

“A core partner for EACTS is industry. Although we want to stay true to an unfettered, unconflicted relationship, and we will never compromise on that, we know that industry is an important partner. So, looking ahead, developing, building and growing those relationships will be absolutely key for us. “EACTS is in a position of strength, with membership growing significantly. From my perspective, I would like to see us grow the EACTS offering and membership base in other parts of the world, such as the Far East, Africa, Asia, South America. We have strong relationships there that we can build on, and I think EACTS has to get its message out there as wide as possible and to promote quality, purely with the intention of pursuing better cardiothoracic outcomes throughout the world.”

Post-Covid, we have to get ready for the new world, which means looking at the future of EACTS with an increasingly strategic perception. Where does the organisation want to be in the next ten years?



Residents’ Committee gets ready for Barcelona The restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic have been especially challenging for residents, with reduced opportunities for social interaction, exchange and training. But as we move into the post-pandemic era, the Residents’ Committee has been preparing new activities to promote training and education. The first of these will take place at the EACTS Annual Meeting in Barcelona in October – a programme of resident-specific sessions provide the perfect opportunity to catch up on the latest developments:

Applications are now open for the new Thoracic Surgery Foundation and Francis Fontan Fund International Travelling Fellowship. This new Fellowship offers young

• Friday 15 October, 1615 to 1745, Game of Thrones. Surgery? Intervention? Or conservative treatment? Young surgeons and cardiologists discuss their trickiest cases to find the optimal treatment for challenging patients. Join us and watch the Heart Team perform live on stage.

faculty surgeons an exciting opportunity to

• Saturday 16 October, 0830 to 1000, Nightmares in CT Surgery. An all-time classic in our programme – find out how experienced experts have solved their biggest nightmares in the OR.

financial support to surgeons from Europe

• Saturday 16 October, 1215 to 1445, Residents’ luncheon. Seize the opportunity to discuss issues with senior surgeons at lunch. Pre-registration is required.

travel internationally and learn from surgeons dedicated to the highest standards of cardiothoracic care. The Fellowship provides and North America to learn new techniques, adapt innovative technology, and foster collaboration among surgical investigators. To find out more, see page 18.

The official EACTS Residents’ Zone at the Annual Meeting is also a great opportunity to come and meet the residents in person, how you can stay in touch and learn about the latest activities, and how you can take part in shaping the future of CTS surgery in Europe.

All over the world, the pandemic has blown residents’ training off course. Four current residents share their experiences of having to adapt to the new and often challenging experiences that Covid-19 has thrown at them… Francesca D’Auria, MD PhD Cardiovascular Surgery Department, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy In Italy, the first real perception of the seriousness of the Covid pandemic came at the end of February in the north. The escalation of infection was spine-chilling. Life changed for us all. Our surgical department emptied as all resources were diverted to Covid departments. We saw our operating beds transformed in ICU beds. The training rotations in cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, and vascular surgery were frozen. The growing number of patients and lack of doctors meant cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon trainees were called to cover shifts in Covid departments, sometimes outside their primary hospitals.


Webinars delivered training on Covid – fast echography diagnosis, treatment in the different stage of the disease, epidemiology, and data analysis. Surgical activities were limited to emergencies. The waiting lists are exploding. After the pandemic, the trainees’ surgical exposure is likely to soar. This year in Italy the medical degree has automatically become qualifying, with a license to practice without general training and examination. Outside of the strict surgical training, each of us has learned additional skills. In my free time I continued to train using my homemade wet lab (hen intestines and pig hearts for CABG). I also built a simulator for thoracoscopic operations. I suffer from operating room withdrawal! In hospital, social distancing and PPE have changed human relationships. Despite the distance, in my experience real friendship and collaboration bloomed. I think surgeons are among the first bulwarks in the defence of healthy human beings and this should never be overlooked. We are all in training and from this crisis we need to improve for our common future.

Residents’ Committee


Kwabena Mensah, cardiothoracic trainee, the Royal Brompton Hospital, London

Vinci Naruka and Philip Hartley, cardiothoracic surgery trainees, the Royal Brompton Hospital, London

I am in my final year of training at the Royal Brompton Hospital, one of five centres in Britain that provide extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for severe adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The hospital had an early influx of cases during the Covid pandemic and elective operating was stopped on 18 March 2020.

The Royal Brompton Hospital is a specialist heart and lung hospital. During the pandemic it became the largest ECMO centre in the UK. This required rapid adjustment for trainees – rota changes, new colleagues, unfamiliar wards and keeping updated with local Covid-related policies. Despite this, an atmosphere of encouragement and support eased the transition.

Tutorials were set up in theatre and the adult intensive care unit (AICU) to help to up-skill staff. Questionnaires were sent out asking about skills and previous experience in ICU. The non-ICU medical staff were incorporated into a rota with the anaesthetic and intensive care team.

The complexity and uncertainty of the disease process was new. Those with critical care experience were paired with those without. There was a dedicated ICU registrar for non-ECMO patients in the expanded ICUs.

I was redeployed to AICU. To prepare us, online resources and lots of tutorials were made available on the intranet. We also took part in an online course run by Brunel University to up-skill medical and nursing staff. In London, Harefield Hospital was marked as a clean cardiothoracic centre. At the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust, urgent cases were discussed daily at an online cardiac hub meeting. The merits of performing these cases were discussed, based on the medical condition and co-morbidities as well as the current resources. I passed the first part of the Cardiothoracic Collegiate exam and was due to take the second part this May, but this has now been set back several months. However, this time has not been a waste. I have gained a lot of experience of ECMO, which I hope will be useful in my future practice. I also have a closer understanding and a working relationship with anaesthetic and intensive care colleagues. Hopefully, the pandemic will soon end so we can continue to provide the highest level of care to cardiac patients.

I have gained a lot of experience of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which I hope will be useful in my future practice

The pandemic has enhanced our collaborative efforts to look after patients and one another. Having experienced many positive gestures at work has given us more hope than ever Wearing PPE, often for many hours at a time, when seeing patients can be uncomfortable and presents unforeseen challenges, such as loss of visual cues during communication. To minimise exhaustion, doctors going into critical care ‘red zones’ with PPE were rotated. To further support frontline staff, the trust set up a programme of wellbeing initiatives such as accommodation and meal support. Every trainee has been affected by Covid. Teaching sessions, conferences, fellowships, training opportunities and exams were cancelled or postponed. Training rotations were delayed without clear timelines. However, learning opportunities have been present. For trainee surgeons it has been beneficial to be involved in the systematic approach that intensivists use, managing ventilators, ECMO circuits, central venous catheter insertions, flexible bronchoscopies and tracheostomies. We’ve had the opportunity to work with leading experts in ECMO and respiratory conditions. Observing and listening to their thought process on managing a new disease has been valuable. Although there has been no operative opportunity for most, some surgical trainees have focused on other training aspects such as research and teaching. The pandemic has enhanced our collaborative efforts to look after patients and one another. Having experienced many positive gestures at work has given us more hope than ever. With our lifelong commitment to the NHS, together, we will get through this.



Why we’ve realigned the Basic Science Task Force Patrick Myers Domain Chair, Acquired Cardiac Disease It has been a privilege to have Jan Ankersmit from the Medical University in Vienna to chair the Basic Science Task Force for some time now. He’s done a phenomenal job but had too many responsibilities at his home institution to continue chairing this task force. With Jan’s departure we took the opportunity to look again at the Basic Science Task Force and recruited a group of diverse clinicians and scientists involved in basic research to join. We also asked Juan Grau, Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at The Valley Heart and Vascular Institute in the US, to chair it. Among the initiatives that we have considered is a different way of integrating basic science with all the other areas that EACTS covers. For example, at the Annual Meeting each task force would usually develop its own focus and abstract sessions, and that would be the same for basic science. Although basic science can be very interesting for practising clinical surgeons, it’s often not hugely relevant to their practice and perhaps not as interesting to them as other content that they are able to

Juan Grau, Chair, Basic Science Task Force What does basic sciences do for cardiothoracic surgery? In general, I would summarise it as the following: it brings objectivity. The experimental method does not have a personality, it doesn’t have an agenda. Either things work or they don’t work. Your experiments are going to tell you whether you were correct in assuming that this is the mechanism or technique you thought it would be. Given the world that we live in today, that objectivity is crucial. As a scientist and as a surgeon, clinical medicine is very clear. You do an operation, everything works well, and the patient walks out of hospital in better shape. Now how can you improve that? How can you make it less invasive, how can you make it more effective, how can you make it more streamlined? For that you will have to use the tools of basic science, meaning you will have to create an experiment, devise a method, test it, validate it and then implement it. These fundamental tenets of research and investigations are in general very healthy. It is a healthy reminder for all us clinicians to see and understand the bar that we have to meet. And we do have to meet that bar, and even exceed it, if we want our breakthrough interventions to become mainstream.


engage with at the Annual Meeting. So that was something we had to think about – a lot of work goes into those basic science session, so how do we generate more interest? Linked to this, we have been seeing that the basic science that underpins interventional procedures such as TAVI and so on is crucial – the basic science of the valves and the bio engineering is vital to the development of new devices and treatments, and therefore important to the future of both specialties. As a result, we have been working hard with Juan Grau to re-energise the approach to basic science. The outcome is that we have now basic science sessions at this year’s Annual Meeting that are integrated into the wider scientific programme. For example, a session on transcatheter valves will also look at the basic science of the valves and their application, what we know about them and what can we expect from them. We have seen that our colleagues from cardiology are increasingly interested in this sort of approach and I think that many other EACTS members will also welcome it. Having taken this big step to integrate it with the wider programme, I feel basic science will now become much more visible and much more approachable to the practising surgeon, whatever their speciality.

This is why we need to keep analysing the information and the science. Lately we have had significant issues with major clinical trials where the results were somewhat confusing or debatable. This happened because the statistical methods changed or some of the definitions were altered during the course of the trial. In the light of that, what an understanding of not only basic research but also statistical methodology gives you is the ability to be analytical and to have good judgement about the information that is being fed to you and what it is telling you. So that is how I would describe basic science. It brings objectivity to medicine, which can sometimes feel as much of an art as a science, and it tells us what is really happening and why. For me, this happens regularly. I can send specimens sent to my PhD students that I believe are putting us on the perfect path. But then they come back and tell me the specimens are not good enough. That is the beginning of objectivity, because you think you’re going to obtain particular results about particular issues and then you are told otherwise. How many other areas of life can deliver that level of objectivity, telling you with certainty that something is wrong or not good enough and needs to be better? This is what my PhD students do regularly, they practise basic science, and it keeps me very grounded.


EBCTS exams

PASSING THE COVID TEST The European Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery faced big challenges in delivering professional exams during the pandemic. In October last year the Level 1 exams were divided for the first time into cardiac and thoracic themes with candidates able to sit one or both. Candidates sat the exams online in their own homes or offices. Security was provided by webcam audio and video, and a second camera such as a mobile phone, while experts invigilated in real time – 40% of cardiac and 26% of thoracic candidates were successful and were awarded membership.

The new format will continue to develop. It is favoured by candidates and makes exams more accessible, extending the global reach of EBCTS and EACTS, who remain committed to raising standards through education, training and the highest level of professional assessment.

Pass marks were decided ahead of the tests by a standardsetting exercise. Following the exam, every question was scrutinised for its performance and each assessment evaluated.


Feedback sessions showed that 80% of candidates felt it was the best exam they had taken in their medical careers and 96% would highly recommend it to colleagues; 90% felt it should be compulsory for establishing a standard of competence across Europe and beyond.

of candidates felt it was the best exam they had taken in their medical careers

With the pandemic continuing into June the same challenges faced the Fellowship exam, usually taken at EACTS House in Windsor. A Zoom-based format allowed candidates to meet examiners in a virtual space, rotating between three stations with short breaks in secure holding rooms for preparation and marking. Exams were held in cardiac, congenital and thoracic surgery, closely following the format of the traditional exam with no compromise in standards – 86% of candidates were awarded the Fellowship in cardiac surgery, with pass rates of 89% in congenital surgery and 75% in thoracic surgery. In the feedback session, candidates felt that the virtual format had worked well. Thanks go to Amanda Cameron, the Board members and examiners for meeting the challenges. Their commitment and invention delivered exams in new ways to maintain professional standards in cardiothoracic surgery, inspire patient confidence and allow career progression for young surgeons.

96% would highly recommend it to colleagues European Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery Board member and examiner opportunities EACTS is currently accepting expressions of interest from qualified applicants for a Board Member position on the European Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery (EBCTS). EBCTS is also seeking applications from EACTS members to join as examiners. Applicants can join as Level 1 or Level 2 examiners in adult cardiac, congenital or thoracic surgery. You can find full details of the responsibilities and qualifications for the Board member and examiners here.



Fellowship deadlines loom There’s no time to lose to apply for a 2022 Fellowship position…

The Thoracic Surgery Foundation/Francis Fontan Fund International Travelling Fellowship 2022

OPCAB/MICS CABG Fellowship 2022 Five new Fellowships, supported by Medtronic

One new Fellowship This is a new Fellowship to promote the continuing education of a young faculty surgeon, helping them to travel to another institution for up to 16 weeks to learn a novel technique, adapt innovative technology and/or fostering collaboration between surgical investigators in order to further the progress of cardiothoracic surgery at the recipient’s home institution.

This gives newly graduated cardiothoracic surgeons from around the world the opportunity to enhance their clinical understanding and to acquire theoretical and practical knowledge in the surgical management of patients with coronary artery disease, with special interest in off-pump and minimal invasive techniques. Closing date for applications: 29 September

Closing date for applications: 15 September

October: applications sent to committee for review

October: applications sent to committee for review

Notification to recipient: after committee meeting

Notification to recipient: after committee meeting

Public award announcement: to be confirmed

Public award announcement: to be confirmed

For more, see the OPCAB page on the EACTS website


For more, see the TSF/FFF page on the EACTS website

Advanced Intensive Postoperative Care in Cardiovascular Surgery Fellowship 2022


MSTCVS Quality and Outcomes Fellowship 2022 One new Fellowship to visit Michigan, US

Three new Fellowships The recipients will gain experience in the postoperative management in adult cardiovascular surgery, as well as a wide exposure to minimally invasive and other advanced techniques in cardiovascular surgery. Closing Date for applications: 29 September October: applications sent to committee for review Notification to recipient: after committee meeting Public award announcement: to be confirmed


For more, see the AIPC page on the EACTS website


The successful candidate gets a unique, careerenhancing training opportunity in this six-month placement at one of the world’s leading centres of excellence. Closing Date for applications: 29 September October: applications sent to committee for review Notification to recipient: after committee meeting Public award announcement: to be confirmed For more, see the MSTCVS page on the EACTS website



Alina Gallo talks about her experience of the Aortic Valve Repair Fellowship, which she completed in 2019 At what stage was your career when you applied for the AVR Fellowship in 2019? I was a consultant at the cardiac surgery department of the Maggiore della Carità Hospital in Novara. As an independent surgeon, I already had some experience on aortic root and ascending aortic surgery. I became a specialist in cardiac surgery in 2013, and from the beginning I focused my career on the practical aspect of surgery, with the aim of becoming an independent surgeon. After training, I worked at San Donato Milanese Hospital where I had the opportunity to work with Professor Lorenzo Menicanti. That taught me that a surgeon has to be able to perform surgery in any situation and not stay safe watching others doing it, waiting for plain and easy cases. As he advised, I ‘jumped and swam’. I moved to Mirano, Veneto, where I started to perform surgery as first operator. What was it that prompted you to apply for the Fellowship? I was reading the EACTS newsletter and became aware of the Francis Fontan Fund. I was taken by The Aortic Root and Valve Repair Fellowship because it is the topic that I love most. I thought I must not miss the chance to apply. I won and it was such an honour that I put all myself into this amazing experience. Did taking up the Fellowship involve any upheaval? Not really. I asked the hospital management for a study leave for the days required to attend the Fellowship. They said yes because it was also a prestigious opportunity for them and reflected well on the hospital itself. Overall, what was your experience of your time spent on the Fellowship? The Fellowship is perfect for a consultant cardiac surgeon, having the right balance between theory and practice. During the two-week internship I spent in Brussels and Homburg, I tried to watch and ‘steal’ skill and expertise as much as I could. I had the unique opportunity to observe how Professor Gebrine El Khoury and Professor Hans-Joachim Schäfers, two of the most important surgeons of our time, run a department and manage complex cardiac operations. The Fellowship completely met my expectations. I would recommend it to every young surgeon who wants to learn from the experts.

What would you say have been the key things you’ve learnt about your specialty and about yourself during the Fellowship? Cardiac disease can be addressed in many different ways depending on the expertise of the surgeon, but the difference is made by the surgeon who can offer the best-suited solution to the patient’s specific problem. Travelling around and meeting surgeons from different countries and with different educational programmes opens your mind and enriches you. There will be always something you can learn. How has it affected the trajectory of your career? It has allowed me to meet and talk with world-famous cardiac surgeons, and has enhanced my self-confidence. It has also influenced my career choices, helping me to leave my comfort zone and move to a centre with a higher patient volume with aortic root, ascending aorta and aortic arch pathologies. I now work at Santi Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo Hospital in Alessandria. I have good expertise in aortic root surgery and now I am improving and learning complex surgical techniques, such as the ‘frozen elephant trunk’ technique, which was one of the topics of the ‘Introduction to Aortic Surgery’ course I attended as part of the Fellowship. What would your advice be to anybody thinking of applying for a Fellowship? When I applied, I was a little intimidated by writing a letter of interest and asking my chief for a letter of support. I thought the best thing was to describe what my surgical career had been like to date, what I wanted to achieve, my dreams and why I really wanted to be selected: to start a programme on aortic valve repair in my department and make a difference for patients. To those considering applying, I would say that if this is the programme you’ve always dreamed of, you will be successful in applying.



The EACTS Academy offers advanced training programmes in surgical skills, developed in collaboration with experienced surgeons. The EACTS Skills Programme now offers four separate modules for instruction where delegates can obtain different competencies. Each programme addresses the full range of skill levels and allows surgeons to start training at their current level of expertise. Courses are now classified as Level 1, 2, 3 or ‘Conferences/ summits’, depending on the target audience. This ensures that delegates can select the right courses at the right time in their careers. The course levels are:

Upcoming in 2021: 4 to 6 November, Berlin 5th EACTS Mechanical Circulatory Support Summit (Conference/summit) Content: interactive lectures, live-in-a-box cases, keynote presentations Audience: cardiologists, heart failure cardiologists, emergency and ICU specialists (ECLS), cardiac surgeons, perfusionists, heart-failure nurses and VAD coordinators, medical industry (cardiac device including ECMO development and production), paediatric cardiologists and congenital heart disease surgeons 15 to 16 November, Bologna The Aortic Forum (Conference/summit)

Level 1

for residents in training with the course content closely allied to the EBCTS syllabus

Content: four half-day sessions devoted to the major areas of aortic surgery – each session features a live surgical case, invited presentations, four live-in-a-box videos and two abstract presentations related to each subject

Level 2

Audience: all cardiac and vascular surgeons, cardiologists, radiologists and anaesthetists

for residents in the final years of training and for surgeons at the beginning of independent practice

Level 3

for surgeons established in independent practice.


2 to 3 December, Maastricht Endoscopic Port-Access Mitral Valve Repair Drylab Training (Level 3) Content: true model of endoscopic port-access set-up, allowing training in the basic technique to full complex repairs. Audience: surgeons established in independent practice 9 to 10 December, virtual meeting Fundamentals in Cardiac Surgery: Mitral and Tricuspid Valve (Level 1) Content: the online version of the updated ‘Fundamentals in Cardiac Surgery’ series, being held as a virtual meeting and focusing particularly on the mitral and tricuspid valves. Audience: residents and fellows in cardiac surgical training programmes



Looking ahead to the Aortic Forum Ruggero. The whole task force behind this year’s Aortic Forum is looking forward to a global experience made up of theoretical principles, practical surgical solutions, problem solving attitudes and heated discussions on major controversies in the field. How important are meetings such as this to the cardiothoracic community?

Konstantinos Tsagakis of the Vascular Disease Domain, Ruggero De Paulis of the Aortic Valve Task Force and Davide Pacini of the Aortic Dissection Task Force have been working behind the scenes to put together the inaugural Aortic Forum in Bologna in November. Here, Ruggero and Davide give their inside view of the event and what it has to offer… What is the Aortic Forum and why is it important? Ruggero. The Aortic Forum is a meeting exclusively focused on the surgical and endovascular treatment of aortic pathologies. The desire is to gather the world’s experts in aortic pathologies in a single place, with the aim of exchanging experiences and disseminating knowledge. The format includes a mix of formal presentations, live surgeries and live-in-a-box videos. Participants will have the opportunity to learn the latest techniques and discuss directly with the key opinion leaders. What makes the Aortic Forum such a special event? Ruggero. This is a new event within the EACTS calendar of Academy courses. It is also the first time an EACTS meeting will exclusively focus on aortic pathologies and take place in Europe. It is special because each session is shared with experts from the most renowned cardiac and thoracic associations in the US, Asia and Latin America. What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s Aortic Forum? Davide. This first ever Aortic Forum represents the cornerstone for further meetings to follow. We are hoping for a wide attendance with positive feedback from participants. It is the first time that EACTS has organised a large comprehensive meeting on all aspects of aortic surgery, targeting a wide audience that includes cardiac and vascular surgeons, cardiologists, radiologists and anaesthetists.

Davide. They are important because they focus on one specific topic of cardiac surgery. During a two-day meeting the Aortic Forum will concentrate four half-day sessions covering all aspects of aortic surgery, from anatomy to live surgery. It is a fantastic opportunity for full immersion into aortic surgery and confronting the most controversial aspects of surgical and endovascular therapeutic solutions. Ruggero. The Aortic Forum is important to the cardiac surgical community because it highlights the most important areas where we should be focusing our future effort, in terms of scientific research and clinical application. Why should surgeons attend? What will they come away with? Davide. Live surgery. EACTS. Bologna. These three words sum up the fabulous opportunity of this meeting. The sharing of knowledge not only using conventional presentations but also live surgery, gives participants real-time experience of many challenging complex aortic procedures. Participants will actively take part in the meeting with abstract presentations. And they will acquire the necessary information for a competent decision-making process when facing a variety of aortic pathologies. Lastly, Bologna is a fascinating city with a strong background in aortic surgery. It also just received the prestigious award from UNESCO to include the Portici in the world heritage list. Ruggero. All cardiovascular surgeons and all people with an interest in aortic pathologies should attend to get familiar with the results of the latest trials, with the industrial innovations and with the most efficient surgical approaches. Such experience will certainly benefit surgeons who are in the process of beginning their practice in major aortic surgery but also expose experts to a variety of alternatives to their standard approach, helping them in any future decision-making process. What else should people know about the event? Ruggero. After the difficult times we have been through, the new Aortic Forum represents an opportunity to get acquainted with colleagues from all over the world and discuss common challenges. In that spirit we wanted to involve world-renowned cardiothoracic associations from across the world and send a message of co-operation, friendship, and closeness in a common effort to educate new generations, share experience and better serve our patients.



Thoracic Surgery Series continues The fourth and final day will be about locally advanced tumors in the era of advanced oncological treatments and their effects on lung tissues. The EACTS Thoracic course 2 gives delegates the opportunity to meet and interact with thoracic surgeons from all over the world. Course Director: Mohsen Ibrahim, Professor of Thoracic Surgery, Sapienza University of Rome.

The Thoracic Surgery Series 3 course will also be held online, in November.

The Thoracic Surgery Series of courses offers junior thoracic surgeons the opportunity to enhance their surgery knowledge and skills by working with some of the leading experts in the field. Run in three parts, the Thoracic Surgery Series fully aligns with the current EBCTS syllabus for surgeons training in a thoracic and/or cardiac department. The first course, Series 1, was held earlier this year. The next course, Series 2, starts this month. Series 3 is set to begin in November: The Thoracic Surgery Series 2 course is being held online and is divided into four sections, one section a day, each covering a specific topic. Day one covers the management of solitary pulmonary nodules starting from the radiological finding till the surgery and discusses how to navigate in GGO’s ocean. The second day focuses on the mini-invasive approaches to the lung and to the mediastinum, working through the steps to reduce pain and promote early discharge for the patient. The third day looks at chest wall pathology, from benign to malignancies, discussing all the potential approaches and technologies.


Series 3 also consists of four days covering different topics: the first day looks at trauma, diaphragm, surgery for lung and/or pleural infections, and also discusses controversies in thoracic surgery. The second day covers complex tracheal and carinal resections, T4 tumors, and sleeve resections, both in the open and minimally invasive. The third day is all about transplantation, with lectures from highly distinguished experts in the field. The final day focuses on innovations, both present and in the near future. For the most up-to-date details, check the courses calandar on the EACTS website. Course Director: Davor Stamenovic, Senior Consulting Thoracic Surgeon and Deputy Head at the University Thoracic Center, Mainz, Germany.



EACTS journals hit new IF heights EACTS journals reached their highest ever Impact Factors (IF) in 2020, according to new data published this July by global analytics firm Clarivate. IF is a metric that represents the average number of citations in a particular year for articles published in the two previous years. It is an established indicator of the importance or rank of a journal. Rafael Sádaba, EACTS’ Secretary General, said: “We are delighted that our journals have reached their highest ever Impact Factors. This achievement reflects the quality of their scientific content and our authors’ significant influence on advances in cardiothoracic surgery.

“We hope these journals will have an even greater impact in the future. I encourage surgeons to submit their papers to our journals so that we can continue to advance our collective expertise and improve outcomes for patients.” The 2020 IF score for ‘European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery’ is 4.191, a substantial increase from 3.486 in 2019. The 2020 score for ‘Interactive CardioVascular and Thoracic Surgery’ is 1.905, up from 1.675 the previous year. • ‘European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery’ is a subscription journal. EACTS members automatically have full access to all the content • ‘Interactive CardioVascular and Thoracic Surgery’ is now Open Access and is free to read without a subscription • For more information see the journals page on the EACTS website.


Judging begins for the MMCTS Residents’ Tutorial competition The judging has started for the 21 videos that were submitted by cardiothoracic surgery residents for the Multimedia Association for Cardiothoracic Surgery (MMCTS) Residents’ Tutorial Competition at the end of July. The members of the EACTS Residents’ Committee and the Thoracic Surgery Residents’ Association (TRSA) Education Committee are currently reviewing the self-produced video tutorials that focus on core skills. Recognising the key role of video in modern medical education, the key criteria for the competition include: demonstrated surgical skill; technical excellence of the recorded video and narration; the succinctness and precision of the accompanying descriptive text; and educational proficiency – does the tutorial effectively teach surgeons how to perform the presented procedure?

The finalists and the winning entry will be selected by René Prêtre and Roberto Lorusso, the MMCTS Editors in Chief, along with Bartosz Rylski, the Domain Editor for Core Skills. The lead author of the winning video will be announced at the EACTS Awards Ceremony at the Annual Meeting in Barcelona in October and be presented with the Marko Turina Award for Best MMCTS Residents’ Tutorial. All the video tutorials submitted to the competition will also be eligible for publication in MMCTS.

MMCTS expands to include video cases The MMCTS plans to start publishing video cases as well as tutorials.

their own educational stories to tell. To capture the full range of surgical cases, MMCTS is expanding its coverage to include video case reports. Editors in Chief Roberto Lorusso and René Prêtre believe this development is a major step forward for MMCTS and will have a significant impact on the programme’s educational value. “Many of today’s standard procedures began as case reports,” said Roberto Lorusso. “Adding cases to MMCTS will bring us closer to our goal of comprehensive coverage of cardiothoracic surgery.” MMCTS is now accepting video case report submissions from authors. The editorial board looks forward to working with EACTS’ global cardiothoracic surgery community on this new development. For more information, see the MMCTS website.

As the world’s leading online textbook of cardiothoracic surgery tutorials, MMCTS features more than 430 video tutorials showing how standard surgical procedures should be performed. But not all patients or situations are the same, and every surgeon knows that many individual and exceptional cases have



Hans Huysmans (1933-2021) EACTS is saddened by the loss of Hans Huysmans on 25 August 2021. Professor Hans Huysmans was one of the founding fathers of our Association. Hans was born into a family of doctors and started his career in general surgery. As a general surgeon he performed thoracic and also some cardiac procedures. He was then appointed as a professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This was in the early days of heart surgery and our specialty was struggling to become a discipline that was independent of general surgery. In 1979 Hans switched to Leiden University where he was appointed as Gerard Brom’s successor. Professor Huysmans remained head of the department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in Leiden until 1998. Hans Huysmans has contributed much of his energy to the development of cardiothoracic surgery as an independent specialty, not only in his home country but also at a European level. Apart from being one of the founding members he was EACTS president from 1989-1990. Hans worked particularly hard to create a robust training programme for EACTS. The European Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (EBTCS) was founded in 1995 and is now a wellrespected training programme with examinations in all different subspecialties of cardiothoracic surgery. Personally, I was accepted by him as a trainee in Cardiothoracic Surgery in Leiden, something that I have never regretted. Hans Huysmans was a technically gifted and universal surgeon with an endless patience for his residents. He supported his trainees as much as he could and was always friendly. Until the very end Hans continued to show a keen interest in our specialty. We will miss him and wish Anne-Marie and his family our sincere condolences and best wishes. Mark Hazekamp, president EACTS


Hans Huysmans has contributed much of his energy to the development of cardiothoracic surgery as an independent specialty, not only in his home country but also at a European level


Annual Meeting

The final word: the heads of sister associations on why they are travelling to Barcelona for the 2021 EACTS Annual Meeting

The great surgeon Francis Fontan in his first EACTS address noted that the best European work was being presented outside Europe and “while some could be present, the majority could not attend.” The combination of an in-person event with a virtual option 35 years later offers the best of both worlds – access to not only Europeans, but cardiothoracic surgeons around the globe. Marc Moon, Director, American Association for Thoracic Surgery

We look forward to attending the EACTS meeting to learn in-person, about the latest developments in cardiothoracic surgery. It will be amazing to experience once again, the in-person meeting and presentations with interaction and discussion. Importantly, the opportunity to network with your colleagues and meet new friends! The AATS is proud to continue to build on our strong existing relationship and collaboration with EACTS.

I am so looking forward to attending EACTS in Barcelona this year. EACTS is always an outstanding meeting for Cardiothoracic Surgeons. The camaraderie, the discussions, the new knowledge presented, the controversies, I love it all. The EACTS meeting is alive! And that’s what we need right now. Joseph E. Bavaria, President, Thoracic Surgery Foundation

I’m looking forward to #EACTS2021 because I can connect with colleagues in the beautiful and culturally rich city of Barcelona, while also learning about the latest innovations in the specialty. Sean C. Grondin, President, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Shaf Keshavjee, President Elect, American Association for Thoracic Surgery



Explore, discover, educate 13  16 O C T O B E R 2 0 21 B A R C E LO N A , S PA I N

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