Cardiothoracic Surgery Education

Medical Student Elective


The goal of this elective is to provide the student with the opportunity to observe common conditions that affect heart, lung, esophagus and intrathoracic contents that are treated in a surgical fashion. Most commonly, this will involve coronary artery disease and valvular heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, esophageal cancer, and esophageal reflux.


At the conclusion of this week, the student will be able to:
  1. Perform a comprehensive history and physical exam pertaining to the cardiac and pulmonary systems.
  2. Describe the management of common cardiac surgical problems; specifically, coronary artery disease, aortic stenosis, and mitral insufficiency.
  3. Describe the management of common thoracic surgical problems; specifically, lung cancer, emphysema, esophageal cancer and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  4. Understand the unique perioperative management skills required of the post-operative cardiothoracic patient.

Participating faculty

Stephen R. Hazelrigg, MD

Course description

During the elective, the student will follow the team in SIU Cardiothoracic Surgery, which includes CT surgeons, physician assistants, nurses practitioners, nurses, and a third-year general surgery resident on rounds and in managing inpatient problems. They will also attend surgical clinics to see the patients as outpatients and will scrub in and observe all operations performed in the operating room.

Number of Students: up to 2


Students are expected to:
  1. Have an understanding of the pertinent anatomy and review the operative procedure prior to coming to the operating room for their assigned case(s).
  2. Review the indications for surgery of their assigned case(s)
  3. Review the patient’s history prior to the surgery
  4. Make post-operative rounds on assigned patients


The student will be evaluated at the end of the week using the standard evaluation form based upon performance in all of the areas, inpatient, outpatient, and operating room.

Call requirement


Contact person

Mackenzie Steen, PA-C or the third year surgical resident on the service. They will help assign you to cases/clinics throughout your rotation.


SIU general surgery residents rotate on the cardiothoracic service as part of the training experience, including a cardiothoracic focus in their junior years, and a focus on minimally invasive thoracic and esophageal surgery in their senior years.