Alex and Cristina operate on Nathan Glazier

Cardiothoracic surgery is a surgical specialty treating diseases and trauma affecting organs inside the thorax including the lungs, heart, trachea, bronchi and thoracic diaphragm.

Notable Cardiothoracic Surgeons[edit | edit source]

Surgical Procedures[edit | edit source]

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG): Artieries and veins from elsewhere in the body (most cases the leg) are used to replace or used alongside the coronary vessels in the body (the vessels that supply oxygen and energy to the heart)
  • Thoracotomy: Cutting into the chest to gain access to the thoracic organs. Usually performed by a surgeon as the start of their procedure, but sometimes performed in the ER or in the field by ER physicians or paramedics to clamp the aorta to prevent major blood loss. Used in major trauma cases.
  • Sternotomy: A surgical opening in the middle of the chest at the breastbone (sternum) to provide access to the chest cavity for heart procedures or other thoracic surgeries.

Notable Cases[edit | edit source]

Grey's Anatomy[edit | edit source]

Season Two[edit | edit source]

  • Thoracotomy: Following a G.S.W. to the chest, in an elevator (Bring the Pain): Due to the elevator being stuck between floors caused by a powercut, George O'Malley has to open up the chest to resolve the bleeding and 'plug' any holes until the patient could be taken to an OR and Dr. Burke.

Season Four[edit | edit source]

  • Ectopia Cordis Repair (Piece of My Heart): Addison returns to Seattle Grace to deal with a pregnant woman whose child is diagnosed with ectopia cordis - his heart has grown outside his body. Addison delivers the child, Hahn works to place the heart inside the chest and Sloan closes using a skin flap grown from the child's own skin.

Notes and Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • There are 120 cardiothoracic surgery fellowship spots in the country.
  • Cardiothoracic is often shortened to "cardio" and sometimes shortened to "CT".
  • At Seattle Grace Hospital and hospitals later established in the same building, there has never been a Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery who stayed for more than three seasons:
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