CARDIOTHORACIC SURGERY is a specialty focusing on the surgical treatment of cardiac and thoracic disease. It is a demanding career that necessitates a six-year residency program, often drawing upon the top physicians in the country. Cardiac diseases include blockage of the coronary arteries (commonly treated with coronary artery bypass grafting, or CABG), as well as diseases of the heart valves. Countless other cardiac conditions also fall within the realm of Cardiac Surgery, including repair of congenital cardiac defects (e.g. ASD, VSD, and coarctation), heart transplantation, and treatment of cardiac tumors. Thoracic Surgery most commonly involves partial or complete lung removal in addition to the treatment of tumors and infections in the chest. Most Cardiothoracic Surgeons also operate on the thoracic aorta to treat thoracic aortic aneurysm and thoracic aortic dissection.
Negligence claims against Cardiothoracic Surgeons are infrequent but typically stem from complications of surgery (e.g. bleeding or infection), improper indications for surgery, or delay in surgery itself. Since cardiac disease is sometimes mistreated by primary care providers, Cardiothoracic Surgeons are often called as causation experts to discuss the natural course of cardiothoracic disease when treated in a timely manner.