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Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency Program

UC San Diego's Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Residency program is designed to train leaders in CT surgery. Our program is directed by Dr. Patricia Thistlethwaite, a world leader in pulmonary hypertension research, and under the guidance of our chief, Dr. Michael Madani, an internationally-recognized expert in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) and pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE).


The training program provides extensive exposure to bread-and-butter cardiac and general thoracic surgery, as well as significant involvement in:

  • Robotic general thoracic surgery
  • Complex redo cardiac surgery
  • Valve repair surgery
  • Heart transplantation
  • Temporary and durable mechanical circulatory support
  • Lung transplantation
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxyxgenation (ECMO)
  • Structure heart disease (TAVR, TMVR, etc)
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy

Program Details

  • One resident accepted per year
  • Two year traditional cardiothoracic track
  • Home call
  • Fully accredited by the ACGME
  • Weekly resident education conference, which follows the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Thoracic Surgical Curriculum.


Equal periods of time are spent at the UC San Diego Medical Center and the La Jolla VA Medical Center, which are located across the street from each other. There is a two month congenital cardiac surgery rotation which takes place at Rady Children’s Hospital. For interested residents, there is an opportunity to rotate at a community-based practice.


The trainees rotate such that they are never both at the same hospital. This means that residents are able to have their pick of cases each day. Additionally, there are no predefined cardiac and general thoracic tracks or rotations, meaning that residents are able to tailor their training and case load to their desired clinical practice. Lastly, robust coverage provided by our nurse practitioners and physician assistants allows residents to focus primarily on their operative responsibilities.

Graduated Autonomy

At each hospital, the cardiothoracic resident assumes chief resident responsibility, supervising general surgery residents in pre-operative and post-operative care. Over the two years of training, the cardiothoracic surgery residents achieve increasing levels of surgical experience and independence. In addition to carefully structured clinical time, weekly conferences are held in adult and pediatric cardiac surgery, pulmonary surgery, and transplantation. There is a weekly session specifically devoted to resident education and review of the thoracic surgery curriculum. The members of our faculty have a strong commitment to teaching and are dedicated to maintaining an excellent training program.

Conference Information

Below is a partial list of weekly didactics conferences

  • General thoracic tumor board
  • Heart transplant and VAD selection committee
  • Lung transplant selection committee
  • PTE selection committee
  • Cardiac cath conference
  • Congenital heart disease conference
  • Adult congenital heart disease conference
  • TAVR conference

Application Information

Only applications submitted via the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) will be considered.

If you are interested in knowing more about our graduate medical education program, please go to our Graduate Medical Education page.

For more information, please contact our residency coordinator:

Veronica Felix
9500 Gilman Dr. #7892
La Jolla, CA 92093-7892

Phone: (858) 657-7777
Fax: (858) 657-5058