Halfway Done With Cardiothoracic Anesthesia As A CA-2

With half this rotation under my belt, I wanted to reflect on how my initial trepidation has transformed into enthusiasm doing cardiovascular anesthesiology. At the end of December, I had been out of the “general anesthesia” mode for months. Naturally, I was somewhat concerned that even tracheal intubation would be difficult. 

Fast forward thirty days and I’ve performed anesthetics in cases ranging from aortic valve replacements (AVR) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) to left ventricular assist device (LVAD) placement and pulmonary lobectomies. I routinely placed arterial lines, central lines, Swan Ganz catheters, transesophageal echo probes, double-lumen endotracheal tubes and even performed a few thoracic epidurals. 🙂

Main operating room at Texas Heart

Anesthesiology has an uncanny way of building on previous skills and knowledge to only expand one’s arsenal in caring for the acutely ill. In the world of cardiothoracic surgery, most patients have a myriad of chronic comorbidities and are constantly teetering on the edge of decompensation. It’s our job to make sure they are able to endure the physiologic disequilibrium inherent to surgery and general anesthesia. I’ve had the privilege of working with incredible attendings trained in cardiothoracic and critical care anesthesia to learn their trade. Their mentorship has been invaluable in reaffirming my decision to pursue dual fellowships.

Over the next month, I hope to build on my skills and hopefully be on call (who says that?) to do a transplant case in its entirety! 😀

For now, back to the NFL Pro Bowl!

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  1. By the way and just out of curiosity, what are according to your experience the best books to use in anesthesiology and/or critical care. I know that at your level basic textbooks won’t be as useful or interesting as review articles in highly regarded journals would be… But still, there might be some books aside from those we saw on your desk that you definitely like.

    • I think it’s hard to top Vincent’s Textbook of Critical Care. It’s the only “textbook” of critical care which I routinely refer to. As far as anesthesia, Miller’s Anesthesia. 🙂


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