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News from STS's 57th Annual Meeting

By Tim Callahan21 Jul 2021

Earlier this year, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) hosted its 57th annual meeting, with more than 2,700 professionals joining virtually. Here are a few of the highlights:

COVID-19 Leads to a Dramatic Drop in Cardiac Surgery — and Worsening Outcomes
According to research presented by Tom C. Nguyen, MD, from the University of California San Francisco and colleagues, COVID-19 has negatively impacted both the number of cardiac Screen Shot 2021-07-08 at 3.30.22 PM surgery cases and surgery outcomes. Researchers analyzed data from the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database between January 2018 to June 2020, including the outcomes of more than 700,000 cardiac surgery patients and 20 million COVID-19 patients.

According to the study, nationwide adult cardiac surgery volume dropped 53% in 2020 compared to the previous year. There were 65% fewer elective surgeries and 40% fewer non-elective cases. Additionally, during the COVID-19 surge, there was a 110% increase in the observed-to-expected ratio and a 167% increase in isolated coronary artery bypass grafting, which means more patients died than doctors expected.

Source: Eureka Alert

Structural Racism Prevents Black Patients from Receiving Adequate Lung Cancer Care
Boston University medical student Chandler Annesi, Michael Poulson, MD, and colleagues found that black patients were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer than white patients and have a 47% decreased likelihood of receiving surgery. Furthermore, Black patients who live in more segregated areas were less likely to survive than those in less segregated areas.

“Black patients are more likely to die stage-for-stage when compared to their white counterparts,” said Dr. Poulson. He also pointed out that the increase in mortality is not based on genetics but discrimination. 

“As we show in our research, segregation, the resulting devaluation of Black communities and other downstream factors have led to wide disparities in lung cancer outcomes,” said Annesi.

Source: Newswise

Women Undergo Less Aggressive Open Heart Surgery and Experience Worse Outcomes than Men
New research conducted by Oliver K. Jawitz, MD, and colleagues uncovered that women are 14% to 22% less likely to undergo revascularization procedures than men.

The team, which analyzed records for coronary artery bypass grafting procedures between 2011 and 2019, said the undertreatment of women is primarily due to a failure to recognize differences in cardiovascular risk between men and women. (Women often display different symptoms than men.)

“It is clear that sex disparities exist in all aspects of care for patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), including diagnosis, referral for treatment, and now, in surgical approaches to CABG,” said Dr. Jawitz. “We must ensure that female patients undergoing CABG are receiving evidence-based, guideline-concordant techniques.”

Source: Pharmacy Times

STS Has Elected Sean C. Grondin as its New President

During the STS annual meeting, Cardiothoracic Surgeon Sean C. Grondin, MD, MPH, FRCSC, was elected the next president of STS. During his successful career, Dr. Grondin has worked with legendary surgeon and textbook author Griffith “Griff” Pearson, completed a master of clinical effectiveness degree at Harvard School of Public Health, acted as academic and clinical head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services, and serves on the American College of Surgeons Board of Regents. He was also the STS’s first vice president.

Source: Newswise

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