Cardiothoracic Fellowship Program
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CT Surgery Fellowship | Program Overview
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The goal of the training program in cardiothoracic surgery is to create an environment that facilitates the acquisition of comprehensive knowledge of the anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of cardiovascular, respiratory, and upper gastrointestinal diseases.

Residents are expected to master the clinical diagnosis, interpretation of diagnostic tests, and surgical skills necessary to treat these conditions. They must also be able to manage the postoperative care of these patients including the interpretation and management of hemodynamic parameters, mechanical respiration and any complication that may occur. All aspects of the training program are focused on training residents to become competent cardiothoracic surgeons by the completion of the three-year residency.

Specifically, at the completion of the third year of training, residents are expected to function as independent surgeons in all aspects of preoperative assessments, surgical procedures, and postoperative care in adult cardiac and general thoracic surgery. They should also have a comprehensive understanding of the diagnosis, treatment, and management of congenital surgical diseases and be able to perform basic procedures such as ASD and VSD repair, PDA ligation, and correction of abnormal pulmonary venous return. The residents are also integrally involved with heart transplantation and the insertion of mechanical circulatory support devices as well as the postoperative management of devices and immunosuppression.

Residents are expected to develop appropriate skills necessary to communicate with families, patients, and other health care professionals so as to optimize their ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment. Understanding the importance of gaining progressively increasing responsibility, the third year resident is given progressive autonomy commensurate with their maturity and acquisition of appropriate skills.


The rotations are geared towards gaining progressive responsibility. In house call will be required in the first two years. The Chief residents will not be required to take scheduled in house call, but will be expected to take care of patients on their service and be available to come in from home when necessary.


  • Thoracic Surgery (4 months)
  • Cardiac Surgery (4 months)
  • Vascular surgery (2 months)
  • Cardiac Cath lab (1month)
  • Subspecialty rotations (1 month)


  • VA CT surgery (6 months)
  • Congenital Heart Surgery (6 months) at National Children's Medical Center in Washington DC

PGY-8 Chief Resident

  • Adult Cardiac/Transplant and Mechanical Support (6 months)
  • Thoracic and Aortic Surgery (6 months)


Professional Liability Insurance The Medical College of Virginia Hospitals are self-insured and provide professional liability (malpractice) insurance, subject to policy limits, for each member of the MCVH housestaff. Insurance covers professional service on duty within the institution and professional service on assigned duties in one of MCVH's affiliated hospitals or programs. It does not cover any other professional service, e.g. moonlighting activities at other facilities or institutions.

Other Insurance Health Insurance is available for each member of the VCUHS housestaff and their immediate family members through payroll deduction. Group Life and Disability Insurance is available for the housestaff member. Supplemental Group Life Insurance is available at the housestaff member's expense.

Vacation A first-year house officer (PGY-1) is entitled to a vacation of two (2) weeks the first year. All other members of the housestaff (PGY-2 through 8) are entitled to a vacation of three (3) weeks. Additional compensation is not provided in lieu of vacation.

Sick Leave Sick leave is provided to housestaff members in the amount of thirty (30) calendar days within a year's contract period. It does not carry forward.

Family and Medical Leave Family and Medical leave for members of the MCVH housestaff complies with the family and medical leave policy established by Virginia Commonwealth University. Please see your program director for further information.

Meals Meals are provided during on-call duty hours.

Call Quarters Call quarters are available.

Parking Parking is available through payroll deduction. Parking is subsidized by MCVH as a benefit to housestaff.


Cardiothoracic Surgery Core Curriculum This weekly conference is designed on topic basis that encompasses all aspects of CT surgery education. The goal is for the resident to have reviewed the core principles twice during the three years of training. A combination of didactic lectures and problem-based seminars are used to educate the residents.

Cardiology/Cardiac Surgery weekly conference This conference is based on case management of cardiovascular problems.

Transplantation Conference Where patients are reviewed before and after cardiac and pulmonary transplantation, and all management issues are discussed.

Pediatric Cardiology/Cardiac Surgery Conference (National Children's Medical Center) Where the pediatric cardiologists and surgeons present patients and decisions regarding optimal management.

Chest Tumor Conference A weekly multidisciplinary conference including radiologists, surgeons, pulmonologists, oncologists, radiotherapists and pathologists to evaluate and discuss thoracic oncology cases and decide upon the best treatment plan for each patient.

Monthly Quality Assurance Conference (M &M) Complications and deaths on the service are presented by the operating resident and the staff responsible for the patient's care. Cases are reviewed by the faculty and resident staff in an effort to identify areas to improve on patient care and outcomes.

Cardiac Surgery Workgroup Weekly meeting with the surgical, ICU nursing and support staff to discuss the inpatients progress and areas to improve the patients hospital course.

Additional conferences include Cardiothoracic Surgery Visiting Professors, combined anesthesia cardiovascular surgery journal club and research conferences.

In addition, there will be dedicated cardiac surgery, cardiology cath conferences, quality assurance and tumor board at the Veterans Administration Medical Center.

For more information please contact:

Demetria Patterson
Fellowship Program Coordinator
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
West Hospital, 7th Floor, South Wing
PO Box 980068
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0068
Tel - (804) 828-4620
Fax - (804) 628-0537


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Anthony D. Cassano, MD
Anthony D. Cassano, MD

Fellowship Program Director

Fellowship Coordinator:
Demetria Patterson
email Demetria

Delivery Address:
West Hospital
7th Floor, South Wing
1200 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23298
VCU Maps

Mailing address:
Box 980068
Richmond, VA 23298-0068

Phone: (804) 828-4620
Fax: (804) 827-0527


Luis Velazco, MD
CT Fellow (PGY-8)

Josue Cherry, MD
CT Fellow (PGY-7)

Katherine M. Klein, MD
CT Fellow (PGY-6)



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  last updated: 07/09/2018