Clinical Experiences

Our residency program focuses on early exposure to cardiothoracic surgery with progression to an immersive experience dedicated to the care of cardiac and thoracic surgery patients.

The first three years of the six-year program include rotations in the inpatient CT surgery ward and ICU and dedicated operative months in thoracic and cardiac surgery. Off-service rotations complementary to cardiothoracic education include Echocardiography and Thoracic Imaging, Interventional Pulmonology, and Vascular Surgery. Residents spend 3 to 6 months on general surgery rotations in each year from PGY-1 to PGY-3 fulfilling ACGME case requirements.

The last three years of our program comprises an intensive operative experience in general thoracic surgery, adult cardiac surgery, and congenital cardiac surgery. The division of Cardiothoracic Surgery performs over 900 adult cardiac and 600 general thoracic operations each year, providing ample training opportunities for our residents. Because we do not have a traditional fellowship program, our residents gain diverse operative exposure. Additionally, our residents routinely participate in heart and lung transplantation, durable and temporary mechanical circulatory support, endovascular valve and aortic interventions, and robot-assisted cardiac and thoracic surgery. 

CT rotation schedule

All clinical rotations are on the MUSC campus and the immediately adjacent MUSC-affiliated VA Medical Center. Our program is centered in the Ashley River Tower, which has facilities for the complete care of the adult cardiac and thoracic surgical patient. Opened in 2008, it houses the Chest Pain Center, outpatient clinics, inpatient wards, a dedicated cardiovascular ICU, and operating rooms. The surgical suite includes two hybrid operating rooms providing a state-of-the-art environment for endovascular procedures.

Immediately next door to the Ashley River Tower is the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, where residents participate in both cardiac and general thoracic surgical care for veterans referred from throughout South Carolina. Most recently, the Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital opened in February 2020 just one block from the Ashley River Tower. It houses the most comprehensive and dedicated pediatric heart center in South Carolina, which has been awarded the Society of Thoracic Surgeons 3-star rating for Congenital Heart Surgery. MUSC currently holds the No. 7 position in the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the Best Hospitals for Pediatric Cardiology and Heart Surgery.

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