Resident Education Program in Thoracic Surgery

Residency Curriculum & Training

What is Thoracic Surgery?



Thoracic surgery is sometimes referred to as cardiothoracic surgery and includes the treatment of diseases and injuries of the heart, lungs, mediastinum, esophagus, chest wall, diaphragm, and great vessels. 

This residency education program encompasses the operative, perioperative, and critical care of patients with pathologic conditions within the chest. This includes the surgical care of coronary artery disease; cancers of the lung, esophagus, and chest wall; abnormalities of the great vessels and heart valves; congenital anomalies of the chest and heart; tumors of the mediastinum; diseases of the diaphragm; and management of chest injuries.


Also included are congenital and acquired lesions (including infections, trauma, tumors, and metabolic disorders) of both the heart and blood vessels in the thorax, as well as diseases involving the lungs, pleura, chest wall, mediastinum, esophagus, and diaphragm. In addition, the ability to establish a precise diagnosis, an essential step toward proper therapy, requires familiarity with diagnostic procedures such as cardiac catheterization, angiography, electrocardiography, imaging techniques, endoscopy, tissue biopsy, and biologic and biochemical tests appropriate to thoracic diseases. 

Copyright 2004, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Thoracic Surgery

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