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Education & Fellowships

Cardiothoracic Surgery Medical Student 3rd Year Elective Rotation

Director: Fernando Fleischman, MD

Attention Medical Students!!

You don’t need to want to be a Heart Surgeon to enjoy the wonders of the Heart.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to see a beating human heart, or how if feels to hold it in your hand? Have you ever been inclined to examine the mitral and aortic valves, which up to now have represented themselves only as nonmusical sounds through your stethoscope? Did you know that cardiothoracic surgeons spend their careers concentrating on the diagnosis and management of both the number one non-cancer killer of adult Americans (cardiovascular disease), as well as the number one cancer killer of American men and women (lung cancer)? Regardless of your answers to the above questions, or which way your career plans may take you, we promise a fascinating and rewarding three weeks on our cardiothoracic service.


Our medical student rotation is part of the 3rd year medical student Surgical Subspecialties Rotation. Students participate in a 3 week rotation based at LAC/USC Medical Center.  Student’s typically spend 1 day in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, and 1/2 day in the clinic with one of the cardiothoracic faculty members. There is also an opportunity to observe heart or lung transplants at Keck Hospital of USCas they occur.  As well as the chance to observe the amazing new advances in total artificial hearts and ventricular assist devices done at University Hospital.


During the Cardiothoracic Surgery Rotation, each student will accomplish the following:

Cardiac Surgery

  1. To develop a working knowledge of the pathophysiology and clinical presentation of coronary artery disease. This includes the evaluation of patients with coronary artery disease, including acute myocardial infarction, and the indications and rationale for coronary artery bypass surgery.
  2. To understand the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and indications for surgery in acquired aortic and mitral valvular disease.
  3. To be familiar with the basic principles of cardiopulmonary bypass.
  4. To be familiar with the indications for heart transplantation.
  5. Understand cardiac anatomy.
  6. Work directly with Cardiac surgery faculty in assessing and discussing patients.
  7. Basic understanding of ventricular assist devices.
  8. Understand and assist in vein harvesting techniques, both open and endovascular.
  9. To develop competence with basic surgical suturing techniques.

For more information, please call (323) 442-5849.


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