Department of Surgery

Aortic Surgery Fellowship Curriculum


The Aortic Surgery Fellowship emphasizes responsibility for a balance between surgical application, patient care, and extensive didactic education, both as student and teacher.

Expectations for fellows' experience include a full understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and planning of specialized cardiothoracic operations as well as the technical performance of these procedures. Fellows will learn skills in important diagnostic procedures, such as bronchoscopy and esophagoscopy; will learn to interpret all appropriate imaging studies; and will correlate the pathologic and diagnostic aspects of aortic and cardiothoracic disorders.

The fellowship is designed to expose fellows to a wide variety of complex aortic and other cardiothoracic cases and to allow increasing responsibility for decision-making and operative technique. Fellows are exposed to a large volume of thoracic aortic cases, coronary bypass, routine and complex cardiac valve procedures, and general thoracic surgery. Fellows also receive exposure to VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) cases and endovascular aortic procedures. Inpatient postoperative care is provided by fellows with increasing responsibility. Outpatient preoperative assessment and postoperative care are also provided by fellows in the thoracic surgery clinic.

The program is structured to allow progressive responsibility commensurate with competency for independent practice by the end of the year. In addition to clinical duties, fellows are expected to prepare research presentations, contribute as needed for weekly morbidity and mortality conferences and assist with teaching students assigned to the service.

Fellows are assigned to the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and work with faculty members at the Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center. Trainees will not practice as independent consultants. At all times, trainees will be under supervision of the faculty. There will be no independent billing by trainees.

Fellows are evaluated on a regular basis with the supervising faculty member and/or chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Dr. Joseph Coselli. Daily feedback is also provided to fellows by the supervising faculty member to foster continual growth during the fellowship period.


Training Sites


Our program provides experience in the private practice sector at the Texas Heart Institute at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center. There is extensive hands-on experience in all aspects of the management of aortic and other cardiothoracic surgical patients.


Didactic and Research


Operative experience is gained in the repair of aneurysms and dissection of the ascending aorta, arch, descending aorta and thoracoabdominal aorta as well as aortic root and aortic valve repair and replacement. These experiences will encompass both open and endovascular repairs. Additional experience in cardiac valve procedures, coronary artery bypass, pulmonary resections, chest wall resections, thoracic vascular repairs, esophageal procedures, and other thoracic surgical operations will also be part of this experience, which may also include cardiac transplantation and lung transplantation.

Fellows attend and participate in several multidisciplinary conferences including a weekly cardiothoracic surgery educational conference, a weekly morbidity and mortality conference, Department of Surgery Grand Rounds, and a cardiothoracic surgery journal club.

Many of our faculty have on-going research programs in which the fellows are welcome to participate. Opportunities are available during this fellowship in clinical, translational, and basic science research in the cardiothoracic research laboratories with the individual faculty in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Several outstanding papers and presentations have been prepared by the fellows in this training program and this activity is encouraged