Our educational program is designed to provide fellows a comprehensive exposure to topics relevant to the practice of cardiothoracic anesthesiology. We achieve this with a combination of didactic lectures, journal club, transthoracic echocardiography (TEE) lectures, TEE case presentations, and patient safety/quality improvement sessions. The educational program is refined and adjusted yearly based on fellows’ feedback and their perceived learning needs to best prepare them for the adult cardiac certification exam.

The didactic program aims to provide fellows with a comprehensive knowledge of topics related to cardiothoracic anesthesiology. Our didactic program is multidisciplinary, drawing on the expertise of faculty from other divisions (such as pain management, neuroanesthesiology, critical care, and pediatric anesthesiology) and other departments (such as cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery). Fellows’ lectures are held weekly, as well as departmental Grand Rounds, Critical Care Rounds, and research meetings.

Weekly TEE didactic lectures are predominantly led by Dr. Jack Shanewise, a pioneer and national leader in perioperative transesophageal echocardiography, and Dr. Kurt Hoffmeister, Director of Perioperative Echocardiography. They combine basic TEE knowledge, advanced TEE interpretation, hemodynamic calculations, artifact recognition, and review of interesting cases. TEE case presentations, led by a fellow and moderated by faculty, offer the opportunity to review and learn interesting TEE findings with the group.  ACTA fellows also participate in the Columbia University Ultrasound Program to develop proficiency in performing and interpreting transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS).

Journal club sessions are scheduled throughout the year and are moderated by Dr. Aaron Mittel. The purpose of journal club is to critically review a recently published article from peer-reviewed journals, relevant to the practice of cardiothoracic anesthesiology.

Patient safety and quality improvement (PS/QI) conferences are presented by ACTA fellows and moderated by ACTA faculty. PS/QI conferences serve to review systems problems, identify challenges and areas for improvements, investigate solutions and propose steps for implementation. Several PS/QI projects completed by ACTA fellows have had an important impact on our practice. Examples of such PS/QI projects include intraoperative glucose monitoring, antibiotic administration, thromboelastography in cardiac surgery, and workflow efficiency in the operating room.