As previously stated, this type of surgery is the field of medicine involved in surgical treatment of diseases affecting organs inside the thorax (chest) - generally treatment of conditions of the heart and lungs.
In some countries cardiac surgery (involving the heart and great vessels) and throacic surgery (involving the lungs) are separate surgical specialties, this is not the case in the USA, the UK, Austria and New Zealand. In the United States this surgery is combined with thoracic surgery, hince its name: cardiothoracic surgery.
The field is competitive and takes rigorous education and numerous years. As of January 2011, there are now 14 approved programs:
- Medical College of Wisconsin
- Stanford University
- University of North Carolina
- University of Virginia
- Columbia University
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Washington
- Northwestern University
- Mount Sinai Hospital, New York
- University of Maryland
- University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- Medical University of South Carolina