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Cardiothoracic Surgery is a surgical specialty which focuses on the chest cavity and the organs inside, which include the heart and vascular system, the oesophagus, the lungs and trachea, the diaphragm and chest wall. It studies the anatomy, physiology and pathology of the cardiothoracic region, and the surgical procedures which manage and treat traumatic injury, or acute, congenital, and acquired cardiothoracic disorders. This is a competitive field withing medicine, often with limited training/employment opportunities.

Cardiothoracic subspecialties include: Cardiac, Thoracic and Congenital or Transplant Surgery.

Cardiothoracic Surgery Jobs

Cardiothoracic Surgeons perform operations on the chest and heart of patients, which are often time-consuming and complex. They monitor patients in intensive care and during recovery after surgery. They diagnose, manage and treat cardiac and thoracic conditions in collaboration with cardiologists and other medical specialists. They perform operations such as coronary bypasses, aortic surgery, heart valve replacement, tumour removal, lobectomy, or keyhole thoracic surgery, among others. They specialise in certain types of procedures or conditions (eg. cardiac or thoracic), or in congenital cardio-thoracic conditions, or in transplant surgery. Cardio-thoracic surgeons work in multi-disciplinary clinical teams. They provide expertise and leadership, train surgeon registrars, and contribute to research and development. They work in hospitals and private clinics in inpatient, acute care, outpatient and tertiary care settings. Cardiothoracic Surgery is a competitive field, and Cardio-thoracic Surgeons are senior doctors who have completed extensive training, including core surgical training and specialty surgical training. They have attained membership of the Society for Cardio-thoracic Surgery, fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, a CCT or CESR in their medical specialty, and specialist registration with the GMC.

Registrars (Cardio-thoracic Surgery) are undertaking specialty surgical training posts at ST3 level or above, or non-training posts which require equivalent experience (3+ post foundation years and relevant clinical experience). Cardio-thoracic registrars work in acute and outpatient settings in hospitals and private clinics, including in the CCU (Coronary Care Unit) and CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit). They work alongside the Cardio-thoracic Surgeon, the cardiologist, and other senior medical and surgical staff. They help to diagnose and treat heart disease, and complications from heart attacks and other pulmonary, artery and vein disorders. At this level they have increased responsibility in providing medical care and supporting and training junior doctors and staff. Registrars continue to develop advanced clinical practice, professionalism and autonomy. Sometimes they will be the most senior doctor on duty, but they continue to receive guidance, training, and support from senior staff. Registrars who want to pursue a career in Cardio-thoracic Surgery apply to undertake specialty training in Cardio-thoracic Surgery, either after completing their foundation years or after core surgical training. A CCT in Cardiothoracic Surgery is expected to take 8 years and leads to specialty registration with the GMC. Registrars who work in this field continue to develop procedural skills and clinical expertise, across Cardio-thoracic surgery, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Intensive Care.